Summer camps allowed to open in Colorado with big changes in place


DENVER (KDVR) — It’s official — Summer camps have received the green light to open in Colorado.

Camps can officially open their doors on June 1, but that doesn’t mean all camps will open.

“There are many nights I’ve stayed up wondering ethically, is this the right thing to do? I can’t promise everyone is going to stay safe and healthy,” explained Mary Stein, the founder and owner of Dream Big Day Camp, one of the metro areas largest summer day camps.

Mary Stein is among the many camp owners who have grappled with how to operate this summer.

Dream Big Day Camp had already pulled the plug on opening as normal in June, lacking direction on when the camp would be allowed to reopen.

“You know you can’t just throw a camp together in a month,” Stein explained. “You’ve got staff contracts contingent on enrollments and our enrollment has been way down.”

Instead, Stein had decided to bring the camp to campers, offering structured camp activities from home.

“We’ve got a full staff that’s being moved into people’s homes. We’re looking to do some Zoom competitions in the afternoons with other kids doing camp from home,” she said.

Amy Anderson is the Executive Director of Reschool, a Colorado non-profit aimed at creating more equitable, expansive education systems.

Reschool surveyed 30 summer camp providers and found 65 percent anticipate offering at home or online programming this summer, although 75 percent do plan to offer in-person programming at some point this summer.

In-person camps, however, will look a lot different.

“It’s much smaller groups,” Anderson explained.

All day camps will now be limited to groups of 25 kids outdoors and 10 or less indoors. Activities will also be structured to encourage social distancing and safe practices.

Overnight camps will be closed during the month of June. Gov. Polis says he expects a decision to be made about the months of July and August by sometime in mid-June.

Summer camps are also struggling financially. At least one camp surveyed by Reschool says it expects to lose about $400,000 this summer, serving only 20 percent of the campers they normally do.

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