Millions of Children Continue to Benefit from Positive Experiences at Camps with Implications for Back to School

More than 3,000 day and overnight camps nationwide ran in-person programs with positive outcomes for families and significant insights for schools.

Millions of Children Continue to Benefit from Positive Experiences at Camps with Implications for Back to School
Martinsville, IN, August 05, 2020 --( Positioned at the forefront of child safety during the current pandemic, more than 3,000 camp directors ran - and continue to run - safe day and overnight camp programs across the country during the summer months.

“We have had so many success stories, from overnight camps that have not had a single infection, to day camps that have safely managed large groups of children every day, to virtual programs that made a profound difference for medically vulnerable children,” said Tom Rosenberg, American Camp Association chief executive officer. “When camps consistently use the innovative, multilayered safety strategy outlined in our Field Guide for Operating Camps in COVID-19, we see that many of them minimize infections as well as the spread of COVID-19.”

The American Camp Association (ACA) engaged leading experts to develop educational resources for camps to run safe in-person programming for summer 2020, such as the Field Guide. Focusing on health, safety, and risk management, and including guidelines on pre-screening, PPE, managing facilities, physical distancing, cohorts, daily monitoring, and more, the Field Guide was developed by an independent and external expert panel of specialists in pediatric medicine, infectious disease management, biological safety, industrial hygiene, and organizational design.

By the end of this summer, millions of kids will have benefited from positive and safe experiences at camps, and so the ACA - who serve as a leading voice for child development - can now answer the following questions with implications for going back to school:

- What have we learned that we can apply to kindergarten, to 12th grade, and after-school programs?

- What have been parents' top worries? How have camps met their concerns?

- As schools decide between in-person classes and virtual learning, what have camps discovered about the pros and cons of both formats?

- How will schools and extracurricular activities need to evolve to help pandemic kids?

- What sort of programming best counteracts the social, emotional, and physical damage to these "pandemic children"?

- The evolution of children: 9/11 kids, to digital Gen-Zers, to COVID kids.

- Looking ahead to Camp 2021 - what should we expect?

In addition, the ACA launched several landmark studies this summer to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on children, families, and camps. Study findings will be available later this fall.

“Perhaps the most important story of camp 2020 is the least reported one,” said Rosenberg. “Camp directors reported that many children arrived feeling anxious, out of shape, or disconnected. They desperately sought - and ultimately found - the belonging, independence, and resilience they have needed for months. If schools are going to be successful this fall, they must act on what we’ve learned at camp this summer.”

About American Camp Association:

The American Camp Association® (ACA) is a national organization with more than 12,000 individual members and 3,100 member camps. ACA is committed to collaborating with those who believe in quality camp and outdoor experiences for children, youth, and adults. ACA provides advocacy, evidence-based education, and professional development, and is the only independent national accrediting body for the organized camp experience. ACA accredits approximately 2,400 diverse US camps. ACA Accreditation provides public evidence of a camp’s voluntary commitment to the health, safety, and overall well-being of campers and staff. For more information, visit or call 800-428-2267.
American Camp Association
Natalie DeRatt