Back in February the 7th season of Peacock Summer Adventure Day Camp began with registration filling up in less than 48 hours. We accept 80 campers for nine weeks and had a wait list 20 deep for some sessions. In March when schools, sports and businesses ultimately shut down we never thought that impact would affect camp operations in June.
For weeks leading up to opening day we worked closely with the American Camp Association and our Local Health Department to reconstruct our program to fit the safety protocols of a global pandemic. We chose not to open during Stage 3 of Restore Illinois as we did not feel that we could implement a successful Peacock Camp program without water activities and without adequate space for all campers to safely distance should the weather bring our camp indoors.
When the Stage 4 Day Camp Guidelines were released we were down to an average of 50 campers and water activities were able to resume. We spent two weeks developing safety procedures and implementing new camp policies to fit the guidelines and help keep our campers, staff and community safe. The most impactful part of our summer is, and always will be, our counselor staff. We had a nearly 80% veteran staff ready and willing to give our campers the Peacock Camp summer we all needed.
With masks on our faces and 6 feet in between us the Peacock Camp culture lived on. We swam across the lake, learned to jump in the deep end of the pool, jumped off of a 30 foot pole (with a harness on) and played endless hours of dodgeball, capture the flag and nuke ‘em. Forts were built, fish and frogs were caught and countless friendship bracelets were made.
Our campers and counselors successfully and safely spent five weeks together during a global pandemic. New friendships were made, old bonds grew stronger. The art room has more masterpieces taped to the walls and our boats have logged more voyages. Our groups may have been smaller but the laughter was just as loud. We look forward to summers when we can welcome back all of our camp families but we will never forget the Summer of 2020. We were together, and that’s all that matters.