But many camps in northern Ontario have decided to be away for a second summer, while others say it’s difficult to make plans without specific government pandemic protocols. “I know I speak for every side that we miss so we can do what we do best,” says Ryan Lidstone, general manager of Camp Aush-Bik-Koong, near the hamlet of Walford, west of Sudbury.
The camp was closed last year, but plans to open this summer, but will not come close to its normal total of 700 campers.
But Lidstone said he had yet to get a list of the province’s finalized COVID-19 protocols, even just days before it was legal for him to unlock the doors and welcome campers again. .
“Because a lot of the questions I get from parents are, ‘What will your masking policy be? What will your social distancing policy be? “And I said,” Well, we are still waiting for the advice from the government at this point, “” he said.
“It’s a little frustrating not knowing exactly what’s going to be done. “
Lidstone said the camp was $ 25,000 in the red after last summer and will operate at a loss this year, but is on a stable financial footing thanks to “the generosity of people who donate to a place that is close to their hearts ”.
The Canadian Adventure Camp in Temagami will be closed for a second consecutive summer due to COVID-19.
Senior Director Skip Connett said part of it was because the province’s lack of direction “left us hanging” this spring, but he’s happy “he wasn’t the premier through it all. Almost everyone in politics is somehow doomed. ”
“What really helped me is the fact that the camp is a happy place. It’s for people to come and have a good time. And I couldn’t see with the suggested protocols that we were looking at that we could produce what we wanted to produce.
“We will catch up with them next year. “
Connett said he and other staff have been busy with maintenance projects at the camp that they normally don’t have access to, but admits it’s a “weird” place without the kids.
“Because we’re used to the happy laughs and the noises of people everywhere, and instead it was nothing. Just the wind in the trees. “
Connett said he is now excited for the summer of 2022 and is making sure there is money in the budget to reopen.
“It’s pretty tight,” he said.
“I tried to have a paper itinerary, but they don’t have any anymore. “
Camp Manitou Bay of Islands, a boat-accessible camp on Georgian Bay near Whitefish Falls, will also be quiet for a second consecutive summer.
Sebastian Diebel, chairman of the board, said there were just too many unknowns this summer for a camp run largely by volunteers.
“We just knew there was going to be too much out of our control,” Diebel said.
“I think we probably all feel pretty sad that we couldn’t open again this year, that we made the decision not to open this year. But for us, I think it was the right decision. “
Some of the campers and regular counselors plan to get together online over the next few months to sing campfire songs and remember happier summers.