Camp HOPE 2020: The Virtual Edition
When COVID-19 began worsening in late March, Palomar started to question whether camp this year would be feasible. After much deliberation, it was decided that taking 55 children to a week-long summer camp during a pandemic was simply not safe or practical.
Knowing just how important Camp HOPE was for these kids and unwilling to disappoint them, the team immediately began looking for alternate solutions. It was decided that the best option was to host a virtual summer camp.
Each week for six weeks, campers and mentors came together on Zoom to connect through games, chat, and discuss the week’s hope hero and truth statement. At the end of the week, everyone got together for a virtual campfire. Campers also received HOPE packages with curriculum-based items, crafts, and small gifts related to the week’s theme.
Despite the craziness of the world around them, campers and mentors decided to focus on hope this summer. COVID couldn’t cancel our hope!
During the final campfire, campers and counselors shared what they had learned during the last six weeks, from the first Zoom meeting to the final campfire. Some shared their favorite truth statement while others talked about the memories they’d made with their cabin group. Kellen Mack, the Camp HOPE Coordinator, reminisced about the first slightly stilted Zoom meeting and how far they had come since then saying, “We grow from awkward, challenging times.” Campers and counselors shared their goals to continue growing during these challenging times. Reaching out to friends, developing talents, and saying kind things about oneself were just a few of these goals.
As the fifth year of Camp HOPE Palomar comes to a close and the pandemic continues on, many are left wondering what’s next? While there is some uncertainty surrounding when it will be safe to gather together in person, there is certainly no doubt that we will continue to support one another from wherever we are.
Camp HOPE has always been more than just a summer camp; it’s a family.