Overnight camps need government help to stay open: Canadian Camping Association
HALIFAX, N.S. -- Summer camp is a rite of passage for many Canadian children. However, according to the Canadian Camping Association, it could be a thing of the past.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the lives of Canadians in many ways, including the cancellation of overnight camps across the country.
The Canadian Camping Association says that roughly 40 per cent of overnight camps will be unable to open next year without government intervention, potentially affecting one million children.
“The loss of revenue for summer camps has been about 90 per cent,” says Stephane Richard, president of the Canadian Camping Association.
Tim Carruthers is the operations director at Green Hill Lake Camp, in Greenhill, N.B., and the New Brunswick Camping Association president. His overnight camp was able to open this summer, but at a reduced capacity, in order to be able to practice physical-distancing measures.
“Each cabin has a group and they can be in groups of up to 15 kids. Those 15 kids don’t need to socially distance, they don’t need to wear a mask, etc.,” says Carruthers.
“They do have to distance and they have to wear a mask if they’re going to come in contact with any other groups of 15 kids.”
Green Hill Lake Camp has run for 59 years, but, according to Carruthers, its future is now up in the air.
“The cost is through the roof. There’s been a reduced amount of campers that we can have on site at any one time, to make sure that we're adhering to the guidelines, as well as the cleaning supplies and the PPE, it really has made for a very challenging financial situation,” he says.
The Canadian Camping Association says they are in desperate need of relief funds or grants.
“The number we’ve looked at is about 250 million to 300 million to support the camp programs across the country that are in jeopardy,” says Richard.
Kaden Hebb spent a week at an overnight camp in New Brunswick. The 12-year-old says he noticed a few differences from the previous year’s camp experience.
“We'd all have to pick a bunk, there's these glass windows in between each one, so your heads aren’t near each other,” says Kaden.
Despite those changes, Kaden says he was a happy camper.
“It was great. Like, I really missed my friends. It was a great experience meeting new people, seeing people that you saw last year, it was very fun,” he says.