With the ever changing restrictions from the pandemic, summer camps are still hoping to have campers in some capacity during the 2021 summer.
Kim Scherger is the Executive Director of Manitoba Camping Association, home of the Sunshine Fund.
"The Manitoba Camping Association is an organization where we set standards and best practises for overnight summer camps in Manitoba, as well as some in North Western Ontario," says Scherger.
There are 36 accredited camps within the association.
"Our Sunshine Fund is where we raise money to send kids from low-income families to a week of overnight summer camp."
Scherger grew up in a big family with five other siblings and the family went camping often. As she grew older, she started going to summer camp herself.
"I got a job as Executive Director at Luther Village Camp in North Western Ontario. I made a career of working in the camp industry for 25 years. Then I moved over to this job where I am now."
As far as overnight camping, all camps have been closed since last March.
"Some camps were able to rally and turn overnight into day camps, at twenty-five per cent capacity," says Scherger.
It took a lot of planning to even change camps to offer a day camp, therefore some simply shut down altogether.
"Last year in a sense was a blessing for some camps being able to fix things and make things look a little bit better or create new activities."
Scherger goes on to say that most camps, if they were able to run a day camp, only took in roughly 5 per cent of their usual revenue.
"What we did find was the camp community is full of massive supporters who rallied and were able to help, pay the bills they needed to pay."
This summer is unknown for what camps can offer the public once again, but most likely they can at least offer day camps with a family camping option as well.
"For camps that are far away, it's a great way to introduce the families and parents to be involved in camp. They can go with their kids to camp and spend a few days or a week and experience what a family camp program is."
The Sunshine Fund money can still be used this summer for the family camp option.