Student-run Camps Emerge in the Summer of 2020

Student-run Camps Emerge in the Summer of 2020

Michael Emmerman '22

Sam Siegel, News Editor

When Scarsdale students received an email back in March regarding the closure of all schools in the district, there were intentions of returning to school a week and a half later. No one anticipated that e-learning and social distancing would be extended for the remainder of the school year, let alone that summer plans would be cancelled. 

Students typically spend summer break traveling the world, attending sleepaway camps,  taking college courses, and competing in sports tournaments; the cancellation of most trips and social distancing standards, however, have granted students a summer in Scarsdale. Despite many being disappointed over the cancellation of their original summer plans, some students are taking advantage of the current situation to give back to the community. Many high schoolers have launched day camps for elementary school students that will take place in their backyards. 

Initially, there was widespread doubt in regard to day camps around Westchester opening this summer, which inspired high school students to launch their own camps with typical summer activities. Despite Governor Cuomo giving the greenlight for day camps to open, SHS students still believe some parents will prefer to send their children to a camp with a smaller group setting. While upholding social distancing guidelines and planning engaging and fun activities is a difficult task, Cooper Cohen ’21 and Michael Emmerman ’22 are two SHS students that are up for the challenge. Both students have recently launched their individual day camps for the summer to keep kids entertained during this peculiar time, and they are hoping to make a significant difference in the community.

Michael Emmerman and Sammy Friedland ’22 launched their summer camp called “Summer Camp-In” this past week. “Summer Camp-In is a daily three hour session of sports, crafts, and other fun activities in the convenience and safety of a designated camper’s backyard,” explained Emmerman. “Parents make groups—of up to six kids—they are comfortable with, and we will arrange the counselors and provide the supplies and fun,” he added. Emmerman and Friedland are planning activities that will accommodate social distancing, and they intend to strictly enforce distancing at all times, as safety is the number one priority. 

Throughout the day activities are going to vary from sports drills to arts and crafts. Emmerman and Friedland will structure the programming and daily activities depending on the preferences and ages of the children, as the counselors ultimately want to create the best possible experience in light of the pandemic. Now that Governor Cuomo is allowing day camps around Westchester to open, there are to be very strict guidelines to avoid close physical contact. “We will review the specific guidelines applicable to camps when they are released and try to follow them, but we are not technically a summer camp,” noted Emmeran. “We are more of a babysitting service that provides outdoor fun at the counselors’ own house or house of a fellow camper,” he concluded.

Cooper Cohen has been running his community based business, “Talenthood,” for approximately a year and a half. Talenthood is a business in which qualified SHS students provide instruction to younger children in sports, art, education, or music. With that being said, Cohen thought it would make perfect sense to transform his business into a camp for the summer. 

Cohen recently launched “Camp Talenthood,” to offer entertainment and instruction to children for a few hours in small groups. “Our program is flexible and is going to fit the various needs of our different clients,” said Cohen. “Camp Talenthood is going to offer a range of options, from regular lessons to scheduled activities with a small group, depending on the parent’s desires and their comfort around limiting exposure to COVID-19,” he added. As for social distancing, counselors will operate according to parent’s desires, however, masks and gloves are mandatory for all sessions. 

Talenthood has a major emphasis on communication with parents, and this communication will determine daily programming and entertainment. “What we have been doing is communicating with parents to see what type of activities their children are interested in, how the group dynamic will function in terms of number of kids and time allotted for the lesson, and instructors will create a lesson based around what the kids interests,” explained Cohen. 

The summer of 2020 is set to be an unusual summer, a summer no one was anticipating. High school students are working hard to ensure children do not miss out on a fun-filled summer with their newly developed camps. The conditions may not be ideal, but these camps plan to offer engaging activities and instruction to children, while simultaneously doing their best to maintain social distancing guidelines.