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Opinion & Editorial

When Summer Camp becomes a Possibility

Cydney Platt'21 laughing with friends at Goldman Union Camp Institute. (Cydney Platt'21) 
Cydney Platt’21 laughing with friends at Goldman Union Camp Institute. (Cydney Platt’21) 
Since the fourth grade, I have spent every summer at Goldman Union Camp Institute (GUCI), a Jewish overnight camp in Zionsville, Indiana. From campfires to cabins to singing with childhood friends, camp has always been a home away from home. But the threat of coronavirus poses the same question in the back of every camper’s mind: will summer camp be a possibility this year? 
Summer camp is all about building strong connections with cabinmates and counselors, yet it is difficult to imagine these relationships with the social distancing rules requiring everyone to maintain a six-foot radius from one another. Logistically, how would this work at a summer camp? Would campers still sleep in bunk beds, and would dinner tables have to be spread six feet apart? If so, would camp still feel like camp?

Despite fear about social distancing, the most terrifying thought is the idea that camp might not happen at all. After years of spending my summers with my best friends, I can’t even imagine what a summer without GUCI would look like. I have so many memories of spending days in the pool or singing old camp songs, and as this is the last summer before I can become a counselor, so I am especially looking forward to one more year of these magical moments. 

Cydney Platt’21, both a peer and fellow cabinmate, said, “My camp friends are my best friends. However,  because this camp is out of state, so are most of my friends. This means that camp is the only time that I get to see them for an extended period of time throughout the year. As COVID-19 continues to spread, so does the fear that I won’t be able to see my friends anytime in the near future.”

Like Cydney, most of my friends at GUCI live several hours away, with some as far away as Colorado and Hawaii. If camp is canceled, this means it will be two years before I can see them again. 

I know this fear is universal for all campers across the nation. For most of us, camp is more than a place to have fun and share laughs: it’s a haven.



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