• Lily Lieberman

Summer or Bust: What do summer camps look like during COVID?

At Strive, the past few months have been an ongoing conversation about the intricacies of everyday life. As educators and students ourselves, we’re constantly being asked to balance

our own comfort with that of our students and teachers - something that is essential, but increasingly tricky with each passing day in a COVID world.


Where do we (all of us) feel safe right now? Grocery store? Sure, wear a mask. Shopping mall? Probably not. Beach? As long as that surfer over there stays away. Summer camp with 30+ unmasked kids? Uh… no.

For parents whose summer schedules are usually supported by a sherpa armed with colored pencils and outdoor playtime, having to reconcile personal safety with the appeal of childcare and entertainment is extremely difficult. Summer camps are an integral part of many families’ lives, and play a critical role in keeping kids happy and parents free. As COVID cases rise, however, parents with concern for their

children’s safety (and their own) will be burdened by having to work and perform

the duties of a summer camp employee.


In Orange County alone, coronavirus cases continue to rise dramatically: as of this blog post, over 23,000 cases have been confirmed, a number which contact tracing (a web-like map created based on the people each positive patient has been in contact with) tells us is largely due to irresponsible group conduct and mask-less events. If that wasn't enough of a reason to skip in-person summer camps already, several frightening studies performed on children with COVID report an onset of multisystem inflammation syndrome, a mysterious and severe illness that often leads to long-term internal organ damage. At a time when the underlying and life-threatening dangers of COVID are barely understood, keeping our children safe is the highest priority.

Rather than risk a dangerous circumstance marked by low mask use, children’s unwashed hands, and prolonged group exposure, many parents will (understandably) rely on last-resort tactics: iPad-Netflix-YouTube Summer Extravaganzas, expensive private childcare, or help from equally at-risk family and friends.


In order to mitigate what we see as a crisis of summer camp integrity, we’re offering our first Virtual Summer Camps for ages 5-18, starting on Monday, July 13th!


Our camps range from Learning to Code to Zoom Theater & Acting - in a few days, your child could program a robot assistant, make a princess costume out of construction paper, write a song on digital guitar, or create their own handheld video game console!

Each camp offers hours of daily engagement, split between live virtual instruction and practical,

hands-on projects. Strive to Learn camps help bridge the gap between art and science, and teach kids how interdisciplinary learning brings our lives balance. This isn’t where the fun stops - with the help of our expert instructors, the skills students learn will serve them for years to come, and give them the confidence to keep inventing and creating on their own. These camps will be hosted via Zoom, in order to provide our five-point plan of accessibility for you and your family.


Five-Point Plan of Accessibility


Safety


The virtual nature of our camps ensures that no one, neither you and your child nor our instructors, is at risk of becoming ill. Our goal is to recreate a summer camp experience at home and give you the peace of mind that comes with making responsible choices.

Comfort


With all the comforts of home, your child will be able to have a full day of fun, without ever feeling distressed by a different environment. Hungry? Take a break for a snack from the fridge! Thirsty? Go grab some water. Feeling like you need some alone time, or a moment to recharge? No problem! We keep our camps small so that even the shyest of students will feel comfortable being in control of their day as they develop critical thinking skills and approach problems creatively.





Fun

This should probably be number 1 on the list, but… we have fun! From building robotic musical instruments to performing a full Zoom play for friends and family, each day at camp is packed with activities to keep campers engaged. They’ll learn the basics of coding, build a mad scientist’s lair, do their own stage makeup, and more!


Creativity


Unlike a traditional classroom, our summer camps encourage kids to take charge of their experience by coming up with original ideas and working on exciting new projects! We give them structure and support, and they go on to bring their creative dreams sharply into focus. Want to learn more about a specific topic? Not feeling into a certain program? That’s ok! We can help your child steer their talents in the direction they choose.


Variety

Each camp is devised to offer many different types of learning throughout the period, each devoted to much more than screen time. We wouldn’t want to spend hours looking at a screen, and you probably wouldn’t either! With time built in for movement breaks and at-home fun, they’ll never get screen fatigue. Besides attending Zoom calls and virtual instruction, your child will do full-body warm ups, learn stage combat, and go on house-bound adventures that keep them active.



We know how drastically life has changed in recent months. It may seem like human interaction is the most impersonal that it's ever been, with screens, masks, and distance separating friends and family from each other. These virtual summer camps allow kids to

build community by letting them spend time with their friends, see smiling faces, talk with their peers, and learn something new to combat stress and boredom. Even the safest of in-person camps (yes, we know that’s an oxymoron) is still diminished by strict regulations and a lack of personal connection - not exactly an environment conducive to a relaxing and enjoyable summer experience.

If you feel overwhelmed at the array of choices that have become our new normal - don’t let picking a summer camp be one of the difficult ones. With you and your child’s best interests at heart, we promise to bring an exciting, engaging, and most importantly, safe summer camp to you.


Visit https://www.strivetolearn.com/virtualsummercamps

to learn more and register today!

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