Overnight camps prepare for first summer since COVID

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Pack your sleeping bag, summer camps are making a comeback after COVID. Overnight camping programs are prepping for the first time back in two years.

This year is a big change for some of our local summer camps. Having overnighters wasn’t possible with COVID. Some of our camp programs say you’ll still need to test, to stay.

Girl Scouts of Western New York are gearing up to sleep under the stars for the first time in two years.

"Last year was heartbreaking, we could only take so many kids, not being able to serve some of the kids on the waitlist was hard,” said Camp Administration Director Janet DePretrillo.

Girl Scouts can serve about 2,500 campers across four facilities. While COVID may seem like it’s a thing of the past, Girl Scouts says it wants to make sure everyone can roast marshmallows the entire stay.

"Daily health screenings, day camp will do it once every morning and resident camp will do it twice a day, monitoring for signs and symptoms of course, and right now masks are not required,” DePretrillo said.

The YMCA and Camp Stella Maris in Livingston County are riding a similar boat when it comes to COVID guidance.

“Really what’s happening in camps is, what’s happening at the schools, if they’re doing it, we’ll be doing it,” Camp Stella Maris Executive Director John Quinlivan said.

"We are requiring that all of our staff be vaccinated, which we also did last season and we will require our campers to arrive with proof of a negative test on check-in day,” Jackie Rudolph said, with the YMCA.

Each camp says bunks will be full, and it didn’t take long for cabins to fill up.

“We’re almost full for this year, we’ve never seen registration like this before,” Quinlivan added.

"It just exploded, people were just in demand for their kids to be outside and doing something different,” Patrick Foster said, also with the YMCA.

People are eager to spend some time by the fire, but, there are still spots open if you wanted to sign up. Each director did say they’ll be ready to pivot to full COVID guidelines if need be.