Camp Connections Day Camp Brings Sense of Normalcy

One of the first programs to return as part of Phase 3 of the State of Illinois-Restore Illinois Plan was our day camp program back on June 22. It looked a little bit different than our traditional summer day camp “Camp Alotta Fun.” As camp ended the week of August 3, it was clear that kids enjoyed their summer.

Camp saw nearly 300 kids come through. Even though kids couldn’t venture to Pelican Harbor Aquatic Park or the other trips that make Camp Alotta Fun so enjoyable, the team was successful at creating the best possible experience for the campers. Activities included:

  • Outside play – old school games with a twist like touchless relay and touchless tag
  • Had an Ice Cream Day where they created their own treats
  • Individual Finger Painting
  • Mat Musical Chairs

“We really wanted to give kids an opportunity to forget about Coronavirus for a little bit and enjoy what camp really is: being outside most of the day and playing games,” said Jeremy White, Day Camp Coordinator.

Jeremy has worked with the Bolingbrook Park District Day Camp for eight years now and is a teacher at Plainfield South High School during the school year. Camp looked different, but kids returned with the same enthusiasm and energy as previous years.

“Most of them have been stuck inside since March. Everyone was just excited to be around one another. The kids really seemed focus on this being their time to run around and have fun.” A lot of times parents have told me when they pick up their kids that they were worn out, which is a good sign,” said Jeremy.

Jenna Pape is in her fourth year as a Day Camp Counselor and will be returning to Illinois State University as senior this fall to complete her Elementary Education degree. She echoed that the kids were very excited to come back and handled the social distancing and mask wearing guidelines without many issues.

“I think that the hardest parts were keeping the kids 6-feet apart because they do get really excited about being around their friends,” said Jenna. “I think they handled it really well. At the beginning of camp, we just said how important it was to keep ourselves safe and our friends safe.”

Some safety procedures that were put in place included:

  • Regular cleaning and disinfection of equipment will take place throughout the day.
  • Masks will be required when social distancing is not possible.
  • A 9:1 camper-to-counselor ratio (may be smaller for younger age groups)

Even though camp was structured differently and had new guidelines, being with the kids, getting outside, and having fun didn’t change.

“It was kind of nice to have a bit of normalcy back in our lives,” said Jenna.