Bay Area Summer Camp Provider Grows Exponentially After Forced To Make Changes During Pandemic
In 2004, he began operating summer camps in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Sacramento. It would organize camps for up to 200 students at some sites.
But last year, COVID-19 restrictions forced the association to move its camps online.
Within weeks, staff had to figure out how to do everything online, from teaching courses to training and managing staff.
They didn’t know it at the time, but going virtual created a huge opportunity.
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“We had enrolled kids from Michigan, Florida and Texas. Literally overnight we were serving kids all over the country,” said Eduardo Caballero, Camp EDMO co-founder.
In the summer of 2020, more than 5,000 children from 47 states registered for their summer camps online.
So this year, when they took over the camps in person, parents across the country kept asking the same question.
“We had families like us, ‘Are you going to have camps near us,’” recalls Caballero, who decided there was no turning back.
While before the pandemic, staff training took place in person, it was now set up to be done online. The same goes for developing their curriculum and ordering and delivering supplies. With its new remote management system in place, Camp EDMO has ventured further than before and has opened face-to-face camps in San Diego and Austin this summer.
He has also developed new partnerships to offer in-person camps in San Francisco, Marin, Alameda and Napa.
The Napa Valley Unified School District used funds from the CARES Act to partner with Camp EDMO to deliver a free summer camp to 2,000 children this year. Children in foster care and the homeless were given priority.
“Many of our families in the service sector have been impacted financially by COVID-19. This is our way of enrolling students whose families may not have been able to do so for their children,” he said. said Pat Andry-Jenning, superintendent of education. Services for Napa Valley Unified.
In the past, 25% of families enrolled in Camp EDMO received free or reduced tuition fees. This year, thanks to grants and special funding, the number of children attending free or at a reduced price has increased to 75%.
It is important. A 2013 study by ExpandEDSchools found that children in middle- and upper-income families enjoy 6,000 more hours of learning in Grade 6 than children living in poverty. This inequality stems mainly from access to extracurricular activities and summer camps.
“Students need this extra learning time so that they can sort of catch up with some of the unfinished learning that has happened during the school year due to the pandemic,” said Andry-Jennings.
This year, the camps place a special emphasis on socio-emotional learning to help children prepare for mainstream school after more than a year of distance learning and isolation.
“Every day is half filled with STEAM classes and half with socio-emotional health,” said Robert Stewart, site director. “Children spend time as a team every day and this is when counselors work with them to explore their emotions and understand each other’s emotions and feelings.”
It’s a need that Constance Ganong noticed in her son, Elan.
“He was always talking about his missing friends. Seeing other kids in a big setting and playing outside is the exact opposite of what happened last year. It’s a complete change for the better, ”Ganong said.
The remote management system allows Camp EDMO to operate at 30 sites this summer, with a few locations with as few as 15 students.
It also continues to offer virtual camps until August 13.
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