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Ready for summer: FBC Adventure Kids Camps to take precautions this summer

By Staff | Jun 5, 2020

Campers from last year's Adventure Kids Camps play in the woods together. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN — For many children, summer camp is a place where they can look forward to playing action-packed games, making new friends and roasting marshmallows over camp fires. But the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic led many campers and camp directors alike to wonder what this summer would hold in store for them.

Now that Gov. Jim Justice’s Stay at Home Order has been removed, local camps are currently in the process of deciding if and how they can open up for the summer. The Adventure Kids Camps at Fellowship Bible Church in Shenandoah Junction has been no exception to this dilemma.

“With this virus, much of what we’re dealing with is uncertainty,” said FBC Children’s Director Tim LeMaster on Friday afternoon. “Everyone’s certainly in limbo, but we want to do as much as possible for children.”

Having lead the church’s day camps for a few years, along with having his own children in the camps, LeMaster said he knows how much children look forward to camp in the summer. So after consulting with the state, the Jefferson County Health Department and other local camps, LeMaster and the church leaders agreed the day camps could take place this summer.

However, they will be taking some precautions, such as regularly disinfecting equipment, having campers use the provided hand sanitizer at each camp station, distancing camper groups from each other and contacting parents immediately if their children appear ill. Children who may be ill will be isolated in a monitored quarantine area.

“We’re getting a sense of normalcy back to their summer pattern,” LeMaster said, mentioning that summer camp may help children release anxiety they may have internalized from the pandemic-related closures. “Let’s get back to soaking in the sunshine, breathing fresh air in God’s creation – children need that interaction outdoors with other human beings.”

LeMaster says he believes the church’s precautions, combined with the fact that less young people have been infected with the coronavirus, makes him feel comfortable with holding the camps. However, he encourages parents who are questioning sending their children to camp to follow their instincts.

“Parents are going to have to make the decisions to send them or to keep them at home — send your child out if you feel comfortable,” LeMaster said. “FBC will strive to implement the necessary protocols to maintain proper guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the governor’s requirements of the state of West Virginia for summer camps. We are looking forward to a great summer of being outdoors and many joyful days of camp to learn about God, his creation and his love for us!

“We want to be able to get these campers outdoors to enjoy the summer time,” LeMaster said. “We want kids to remember that we have been blessed, and that we don’t need to live in fear.”

FBC’s Adventure Day Camps include Sports Camp (ages 7-12, June 15-19), Pioneer Camp (ages 8-12, July 7-10), Kids’ Day Camp (ages 6-12, July 27-31) and Camp Around the World (ages 7-12, Aug. 5-7). To register, visit www.fellowshipwv.org/summercampregistration.