There are 60 days of summer wedged in between the end of the 2020 school year and the beginning of the new 2020-21 school year.
For working parents who rely on summer camps for childcare during summer break, not sending their children to summer camp is simply not an option for them.
Stephenie Walker, managing editor of Rocket City Mom, a Huntsville-based internet media company that helps parents and new families to the city, find and share information about Huntsville and the surrounding area, said the number one question parents and families are asking in the wake of an unprecedented spring disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, is whether summer camps are going to happen this year.
“Anyone who has followed our seasonal activity guides released every spring, summer, winter and fall for the past 10 years knows we usually cover musical events, festivals, movies, camps, et cetera,” said Walker on a teleconference call with the Huntsville-Madison County Chamber of Commerce. “But this is an unusual summer and many of those things are closed due to the pandemic.”
In fact, while the Summer Teen Volunteer Programs across the city have been mostly cancelled, there are still several arts and education-related camps, some of them virtual, still active.
In the sports and fitness camp arena, Row Huntsville Watersports camps and the Rocket City Swim League camps are still on; the popular YMCA Camp Cha-La-Kee overnight camping and Burritt Nature rangers Day Camp is taking reservations; and some Vacation Bible School camps are still active.
The CyberProtex “Get Into the Game” introduction to cyber security camp for ages 11 to 15 is on, as are Huntsville STEAM Works and Huntsville City Schools’ virtual camps. Space Camp and Robotics Camp are tentatively starting up in late June, and the new Rocket City Trash Pandas may not have started their long awaited minor league baseball season, but they are moving forward with their Day Camp at Toyota Field.
“We are excited the Trash Pandas are giving the community what they have asked for and we expect some very creative ideas to be coming out of that organization this summer,” said Walker.
“Overall, we had to pivot from business-based events and come up with a guide that covers the limited number of summer activities still out there, while offering parents creative alternatives that will prevent boredom and get kids away from their device screens. Essentially we needed to come up with something that would help parents and families survive Summer 2020.”
While brainstorming with her business partner and founder of Rocket City Mom, Jennifer Breuer, they recalled the many times they heard parents reminisce during normal times about the days of their own childhood summers when they entertained themselves by riding bikes, climbing trees, running and jumping and playing Fort or King of the Hill.
“This is that summer!” Walker said.
From that concept, they pulled together a summer activity guide that can be found on the homepage of their website at RocketCityMom.com.
“We have tried to offer multiple recommendations for every day of those 60 days until school starts back, and you will find some events that can be done from home or online, while others are real life events away from home, but still in compliance with CDC guidelines for safe social distancing,” Walker said.