Canyonlands Field Institute has made the difficult decision to cancel its traditional overnight camps this summer, but is continuing to hold a new type of day camp.
“We had this internal struggle, going back and forth, wondering ‘is it safe or is it not,’ said Land Program Manager Brennan Patrick Gillis. “We did decide to cancel our overnight camps, but recognized the fact that there is a need for parents to put their kids in a 9-5 childcare. Parents have been thrust into this weird positioning of educating kids at home, or are dealing with economic uncertainty, and so we didn’t want to cancel programs outright. We wanted to make sure there was an option.”
To ensure that campers and employees remain healthy, many measures have been taken to protect everyone participating. Methods such as proper social distancing, hand washing stations being made whenever possible, reducing the number of campers, the use of face masks, and readily available hand sanitizer are being utilized.
A letter sent to camp participants and their parents or guardians had this to say: “These guidelines have been created in accordance with CDC, state and local health guidelines. Please reach out to us with any questions or concerns regarding summer camp safety. Because the situation is evolving, these guidelines, and our overall summer camp operations, may change. You can expect full and open communication from us as this situation evolves.”
Activities planned for the day camps are similar to what has been offered in the past, but will be cut a little short as participants will go home each night. “In lieu of canceled overnight camps that CFI hosts, parents will drop their kids off in the morning. We pile into a CFI van and hike around trails and points of interest and then in the afternoon, parents will pick them up,” said Gillis.
“We are hoping to fill up the camps with a maximum group size of eight campers. A week of day camps costs $150 per kid. There are opportunities for parents to apply for scholarships to get reduced costs, as well,” said Gillis.
Several local businesses have donated or given grants to CFI to help continue the program. “We received gifts and grants from local businesses and additional funding because of COVID-19. Businesses have supported us in the past and we contacted them for additional support. We also have seasonal guides who we are hoping to provide job opportunities to. Guides that we were training, and guides who we’ll bring back from past seasons,” said Gillis.
“We’re really grateful for the support some businesses have been willing to show us. We are hoping we can have a good time this summer and allow kids to experience CFI programming,” he said.