Is there anything about this year that’s going to be normal?
Maybe not — with so many people out of work; with so many stores, restaurants and other businesses closed, and no firm date set for reopening; and with so many children home from school and not going back until the fall term starts.
Which means that it’s more important than ever for children who’ve been cut off from their friends and schoolmates for months to have the opportunity to attend summer day camp. And that’s where the 2020 Summer Campership Fund for Meriden-Wallingford comes in.
Now in its 45th year, the fund offers campership awards to local boys and girls in financial need to attend local camps including Boys & Girls Club of Meriden, Meriden YMCA, Girl's Inc., Wallingford YMCA, the Salvation Army, the Ulbrich Boys & Girls Club and Children First.
There will be changes this year, of course, following guidance from the state and the local health departments to maintain safety during the coronavirus pandemic, but everyone involved is determined to do their best to keep the summer camp experience available to local children.
“We are going to do everything in our power to make this camp experience happen and in the safest way possible,” said Meriden-New Britain-Berlin YMCA CEO John Benigni.
This may involve precautions such as breaking kids up into groups of 10 or fewer; hiring extra counselors; providing each group with its own equipment for activities; and adding portable bathrooms and hand-washing stations.
Keeping camp open is important for kids in need of some socialization and outdoor time after months of relative isolation, Benigni said. It will also help parents return to work.
The campership program is sponsored by the Record-Journal, the United Way and Ion Bank and administered by Meriden Health and Human Services. The campership board of directors consists of Eliot White, Maria Harlow, Larry McGoldrick and Gary Burt.
Tax deductible contributions should be sent to: Summer Campership Fund, c/o Doreen Marinaro, Ion Bank, 500 W. Main St., Meriden, CT 06451.
One hundred percent of the funds raised are used directly to fund camperships.
This will be an important summer for local children, who have already had their school year disrupted. Public support will be greatly appreciated.