NEW BRITAIN – Preparing for a fun and safe 2021 summer season, the Channel 3 Kids Camp will be opening its doors to eager campers.
“We don’t expect to be operating at full capacity, but we will still have a full array of the activities that we usually have,” said David Meizels, camp chief executive director.
The Andover camp, a nonprofit camp aimed at serving children from diverse walks of life, closed all of its operations for 2020 due to the pandemic. But with the summer season coming up, camp officials are optimistic they will be able to reopen for day and night camping programs.
This summer season is scheduled to run from June 20 through Aug. 20.
Meizels, who has formerly served as camp director for several years, recently became the camp’s chief executive officer in November, following the retirement of the previous CEO, Denise Hornbecker. Ever since his return, he said his goal was to safely open the camp and provide kids the social and emotional support that they need.
“Our camp is mostly outdoors and has a lot of acreage, so it lends itself well to spread out with social distancing,” said Meizels, who also stated they have also been working with camp directors across the state on how to reopen safely, what mitigation strategies are being used and keeping protocols in place. “As long as we are smart with how we group our children when we do activities and in the cabins, I think we’re in good shape,” he said.
Currently, the camp is recruiting campers and staffers for the summer season as well as volunteers to help prepare for the camp’s opening day.
“There’s lots of opportunities for individuals and outside organizations to come help with preparing the cabins and our trails. There’s a lot of trail work that needs to be done this year,” Camp Program Coordinator Melissa Shea said.
Additionally, the camp is offering reduced rates for all families this year.
“We look to run the summer program at reduced rates, reduced enrollment fees, subsidized wherever we can so that it’s available for families across the state for children who have various needs, whether they’re special needs or just a little bit of financial support to be able to come to camp,” Meizels said.
Overnight camp accepts children between the ages of 8 and 13 and overnight camp for teens with special needs is provided for ages 8 through 18. Day camp is also provided for kids aged 3 through 13.
The camp registration process can be completed entirely online through tablets, smartphones and computers at: channel3kidscamp.org
Anticipating a heavy loss in both academic and social and emotional learning due to the pandemic, Meizels said he hopes by having the campers come and hold their own communities with other kids, that will help them regain social abilities and interaction skills.
“The isolation has been really tough,” he said. “The kids lost a lot of social activity and connectivity. So by getting away from home and being under good supervision, it will help them find out what they like, how they interact, and who they really are. This is a great opportunity for the kids to reconnect with themselves and their world.”