The cabins are empty, the playing fields are bare, and the archery range has no archers.
Welcome to Camp Menesetung 2020, where camp counsellors are trying to recreate camp, from their laptops.
“Keeping the charm of camp while also adapting it to be modern, to be on technology, to be at home, it’s very difficult because so many things we’re just used to capturing while we are here,” says Gill Deser, better know as Camp Menesetung counsellor, Fun Franny.
Fun Franny is one a handful of camp counsellors trying to run Camp Menesetung-At Home this summer.
She and her fellow counsellors are at camp, but with no kids.
For six weeks this summer, counsellors will be offering online activities, like baking cookies, and science experiments, through Zoom meets on their laptops.
“We just got internet here. Internet wasn’t even really a thing here at camp before. So running six laptops on a Zoom call is difficult, right,” says head counsellor, Clarissa Gordon.
Back in May, Camp Menesetung organizers figured they wouldn’t be operating as usual, so they quickly pivoted to an online camping experience.
“We’re really leaning hard on the social interaction piece because we know camp is for the campers. The campers want to have friends and that’s the piece that we can really speak to, during these distancing times,” says camp co-ordinator, Clayton Peters.
Of course, it’s easier said than done.
Enrollment for Menesetung’s “At-Home” camp isn’t what they’d hoped, as families try and distance themselves from the on-line school learning that frustrated so many.
“Camping is offering something very different. It’s about the social connection. It’s about fun. It’s not about homework. It’s not about spending all day on a screen,” says Peters.
Camp Menesetung “At-Home” starts this week, and runs for six weeks throughout the summer.
Even if it goes off without a hitch, camp leaders hope by this time next year, camp will be back to normal, with campfires, s’mores, ghost stories, and of course, kids.