Save VIRGINIA’s Overnight Summer Camps

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Overnight summer camps in Virginia have been serving children and families since 1915. In 2019, we collectively served thousands of children throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic region. The mission of summer camps is vital to the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health of the children and families who spend their summers with us. Through our programs, campers engage in the kind of interactions that cannot be replicated elsewhere, which will be even more important as we join in the fight against the impending mental health crisis arriving in the wake of COVID-19. Our overnight summer camps provide summer jobs and leadership development for thousands of young adults, instructors, and other Virginians. Additionally, the value of summer childcare cannot be overlooked amidst the well-documented childcare crisis happening due to closures of many day cares and centers, as many working parents rely on summer camps to allow them to continue to work while school is not in session.

Many Virginia camps are working to boost limited revenue by offering family programs and virtual options, but these are a meager stop-gap that will not come close to covering 2020 losses. Some Virginia camps applied for the Paycheck Protection Program loan. However, the narrow eligibility criteria for this loan program put seasonal employers like camps at a disadvantage and resulted in reduced funding for Virginia camps. Financial assistance from the state of Virginia is essential to our survival.

Virginia’s overnight summer camps need state assistance to keep the legacy and tradition of camps alive and well for future generations. Without this aid, many of us may be forced to close. We need a lifeline in order to continue our meaningful and impactful work.