Adjusting to wearing a face mask is not easy for adults, so how will it be for our children who attend our summer programs..or how will it be for our classroom students school in the fall? This question is someway answered as we held our first week of Outdoor Camp, sometimes called "Vacation Bible School" or "VBS"
Normally, a week of "VBS" at our church would have 80+ children. This summer, in partnering with our teachers at the Wesley School, we have added more weeks of camp at reduced the enrollment. Following the order set out by the Maryland Together MDSE packet through the Governors Office, each group of children has his/her temperature taken before attending the camp, parents remain in vehicles and children must bring their own water bottle and snack.. During camp, we remain outdoors and move to different areas, each camper is provided their own craft supplies to limit sharing.. and shared items are always sanitized. The result is children are delighted to play together, they are playing well even with the new hats they must wear..One benefit is they are inadvertently learning the basics of hygiene and social distance. During times when they are close together, they wear the Orange Hats with the face shields which provide plenty of air circulation and we can still see their smiles!
Our face shields are a bucket style hat with a built in shield. They are provided for each child to keep and sanitized at the end of the day. Our older teen helpers often prefer a mask, but the adult helpers have shields that fit over a ball cap, allowing children to see their expressions and read lips.
Overall, it has been a great success. The children have loved to play with each other and are adjusting to wearing the hats. Our camp has been a blessing to parents who want their child to play in a time when it has been so challenging. It has been fun for the kids to be outdoors. Our age groups are ages preschool- 5th grade, with older helpers from middle and high school.