Summer Camp During SIP
– May 19, 2020(5 replies)
So far all of the summer camps that I signed up for my 4-year old and 5-year old got canceled, but to keep my job I will have to send them somewhere during the summer, preferably in a group setting where they can socialize with peers and learn something. I wonder if any parent knows about a summer camp that will still open in June, July or August, or plans to organize one. Very much appreciated!May 19, 2020
Moderator Note: At least until May 31, in-person summer camps are only permitted for the children of essential workers. The State has a database to help essential workers find childcare, but it targets children under 5 only (see https://covid19.ca.gov/childcare/.) There is very little information about summer camps, although guidelines for day camps have been issued (here is Alameda County's guide: http://www.acphd.org/media/575305/acphd-covid-19-summer-camp-guidance.pdf)
So how do parents make plans for the summer? I did a quick look at the websites of some of the camps that post on BPN year after year. Some have canceled camp for 2020 (Monkey Business), some are offering online camps only (Camp Edmo, Aurora, Dancing Paintbrush), and many others have adopted a wait-and-see approach, asking parents to check back in June. (Sarah's Science, Oakland YMCA, Roughing It, City of El Cerrito, Adventure Day Camp).
On May 31, the current stay-at-home order will expire, and perhaps things will become more clear then. In the meantime, research camps, look at their websites for information about Covid19 plans, and be prepared to make a decision at the last minute. Here is BPN's list of traditional day camps: https://www.berkeleyparentsnetwork.org/advice/camps and you can look for specialty camps here: https://www.berkeleyparentsnetwork.org/advice/specialty-classes-camps
Bay Area Girls Rock Camp is doing summer online only. I love them and had my older 13 year old daughter there a couple of years in a row. Not sure how online will be. They offer scholarships, financial assistance. They use AORTA training guides for conflict resolution.
Fairyland is still planning to run camp, starting in late June and following the new County health guidelines for camps. You might reach out to them since I imagine many people who had signed up will no longer need their spots given the shelter-in-place. The City of Piedmont is also running a camp, though I'm not sure they'll take kids as young as four and I believe residents have priority so it may fill before it opens to the general public. I would also try open preschools to see if they'll consider short-term summer enrollments--many are re-opening in June as more people go back to work. Good luck!
– May 18, 2020(0 replies)
I'd love to get some suggestions for some online interactive camps and classes for tweens and teens for this summer of COVID when many of our kids won't be able to go to regular in-person camps. Please note if you have any experience with the organization to know if they are reputable.
Thanks!May 18, 2020
– Apr 26, 2020(5 replies)
Hello BPN parents - we recently received a message notifying us that one of the summer camps we signed our child up for in July has chosen to cancel their summer sessions because of CV-19. We signed our child up for two sessions (covering 4 weeks) coming to a total of $1600. The company offering credits or the option to donate tuition. I submitted an email inquiry about a refund (as that was not an option listed in the original email, notifying us of the cancellation and asking what we wanted done with our funds). I received a generic response that that the option to convert tuition to a donation or a future credit are the only options they can offer to emerge from this crisis. My family is fortunate in that we both still have our jobs and this was the only 4 weeks we had paid for in advance but I'd be lying if I wasn't worried about one or both of our jobs and/or income being affected by the looming economic downturn and that $1,600 isn't trivial. We will also need to look at other avenues for putting our child in summer camp or securing other care (i.e. we'll have to spend additional $ for this summer in addition to what I spent). I guess my question is -- what are others doing in similar situations? Are you accepting the credit(s) hoping you don't need that money and will just use next year? Any perspectives on similar experiences would be appreciated.Apr 26, 2020
We had this happen too and are very frustrated, but able to handle the hit financially. Camp Galileo was the camp that issued this aggressive "no refunds - we're holding on to your money for summer 21" policy; other camps have been much better about either full refunds, or refunds minus the deposit. If I were in a tighter financial situation, I would escalate complaints, until I got to speak to a manager with the actual authority to make an exception and refund all or most of the funds. I would simply tell whoever picked up the phone I am very desperate and very angry, and don't want to scream at this person, so could he/she possibly pass me on to her manager. I would just repeat myself, and keep this up, and then ask to speak to her manager's manager until I got some kind of sensible settlement.
I'm in the lucky position that our camp is offering credit for next year, donation or refund options, so some camps are offering refunds and I've been keeping track of the ones who do it and plan to support them more in the future as I think they are doing the right thing and try to avoid the camps that are pulling the no refund thing now. For the camp my kids are enrolled in, we are voluntarily choosing the next-year credit option since we can afford it, know for a fact my kids will want to attend next year and are ok supporting them through this. My concern with the credit is that some camps might go under and then you will never recover your money so credit only works if it is a camp you trust to stay in business or really like and ok supporting no matter what (which is the case with the one camp we are registered in, but I would not do it for all camps). In terms of getting refunds, some camps can do it and do exceptions in which case you should call them and ask, while other camps (like Galieo) already stated publically that they are not doing refunds and there are no exceptions, in which case your only resort is contacting your credit card and see if they can help (I know parents who were able to get credit cards to help get money back by reversing the charge if the payment was relatively recent since the service is no longer being provided) or consider legal action (some parents are joining together and getting legal help together -- check facebook for groups being formed). Do consider that going the credit card or legal action might end up succeeding but if many do it, it will likely lead the camp to declare bankruptcy or close, but if this is a camp that is not your regular and you are not ready to support it through this, then those are all reasonable options if you need the money back for other chilldcare this simmer since they are no longer providing the services you paid for. Good lucky!
For another perspective, there are businesses that will absolutely go under if they make full refunds. Not only do they - we - have expenses related to having to book, advertise and employ people to ready for this season which won't happen, they will absolutely go in the hole because they will have to eat all banking/charges. As someone who runs a small camp myself, I know this is incredibly stressful on small businesses - as you might imagine. We, too, understand these are hard times for all - and I'll bet local parents will have far fewer camp options in 2021 if everyone demands full refunds. Let's all try be as kind during these tough times as possible. These camp businesses are not mega rich meanies, they are folks with whom you have (previous) entrusted your precious kids.
– Apr 23, 2020(1 reply)
What are parents doing with summer camps this summer? I am very lucky not to have booked any summer camps prior to the shelter in place in March and feel for all the families that are now dealing with cancelled camps and no refunds (i.e. Galileo camp comes to mind) but I'm undecided what to do going forward. Are some camps still happening this summer and it is worth booking them (and taking the risk that they won't happen and I'll have no refunds) or do I not book (and take the risk that SIP is lifted and I have to go back to work with no camp/childcare coverage for kids)? Looking for some advice on what other parents chose to do regarding summer camps at this point of uncertainty.Apr 23, 2020
While none of us have a crystal ball, it feels like a pretty safe assumption that large gatherings (like camps) will continue to be prohibited through the summer. Small gatherings (meaning small day care situations) *might* be allowed for all families. Day care is already allowed now for essential workers, and spots are opening up for school-age children (again, you are supposed to be an essential worker).
The summer camp we had booked (ATDP) notified us last week that it was going online, so we are not going to take the spots or pay a deposit, but also not being refunded the application fee despite the camp changing its nature.