Summer camp decision hailed as critical as Massachusetts enters Phase 4

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (WWLP/SHNS) – As we inch closer and closer to spring, now is the time to start thinking about summer activities.

Since Phase 4 of the state’s re-opening begins in March, overnight summer camps are now an option. Overnight camps were unable to open this past summer, so they’ve been closed for about a year, but planning is already underway for this summer.

Summer camps play a vital role in families’ lives. It serves as child care for parents while also providing children with educational, social activity – which is something that is especially needed after this year.

Greg Williams, program director for the Boy Scouts of America Western Massachusetts said, “To be out in the outdoors to be with their peers just doing age-appropriate activities and exploring new things in the outdoors is so important for their mental health and physical health.”

The Boy Scouts of America western Massachusetts Council is already making plans for their first week of camp in early July. New this year, anyone is welcome to attend, not just scout units.

Also on March 22, indoor and outdoor stadiums, arenas, and ballparks can operate at 12 percent capacity. Event facilities will also open with 100 guests indoors and 150 guests outdoors.

That last one, is a welcome step for soon-to-brides planning their wedding day.

A state senator from Pittsfield whose district features dozens of overnight and day camps is celebrating Gov. Charlie Baker’s decision to permit overnight camps to open in the first step of Phase 4.

While that step is scheduled to start March 22, the Baker administration said Thursday that its decision will mean overnight camps can open this summer.

Sen. Adam Hinds said the decision followed “months of countless phone calls, letters and meetings with the administration,” and that it represents a “victory for working parents,” and will facilitate planning and employee recruitment.

According to the senator’s office, there are 1,000 summer camps in Massachusetts and those camps are responsible for an annual economic contribution of $1.3 billion and over $220 million in directly paid wages.

“The decision by the Baker administration to allow overnight and day camps to operate this summer is a huge win for the 250,000 children served by summer camps across the Commonwealth,” said Matt Scholl, board president of the Massachusetts Camping Association. “The data is clear that camps can effectively uphold the health and well-being of our children and staff when following evidence-based protocols. Children have never needed summer camp more – prioritizing camp is a choice to prioritize healthy and thriving children.”

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