May 25, 2024
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Camp Seneca: Fun and Safe Even During COVID

When COVID-19 first struck, there was one question many families, especially those with kids, were asking: Will there be camp? After a long, difficult year of school, young teens look forward to time away from home with their friends at a fun-filled, homework-free camp. Unfortunately, many summer camps closed last season due to the ongoing pandemic. Camp Seneca, a Modern Orthodox sleepaway camp, managed to continue their activities and bring a little light into a very difficult situation.

Robert Okun, a rising high school senior from Stamford, has attended Camp Seneca since fifth grade. Last summer, Okun planned on going to Israel with NCSY, but when his trip was canceled, he decided to work at Seneca for another year. This year, Okun is again working at Seneca, with two friends, as a counselor.

Okun loved how clean Camp Seneca was, even before the pandemic. The campus was always thoroughly cleaned every week, with almost daily cleaning and sanitizing of the bunks and bathrooms, and there are garbage bins everywhere on campus. Of course, cleaning intensified last summer.

Before COVID, campers would take mystery bus rides to bowling alleys, movie theaters or even amusement parks. Counselors could leave on their days off, and there were many different nighttime activities. However, last summer, Seneca formed a “bubble.” Nobody was allowed on campus, and nobody was allowed off campus.

At the beginning of camp last summer, everyone was required to take a COVID-19 test and all the campers had to stay in their bunks until the results came back. Masks were required, even in the bunks, until the results came back. This year, everyone eligible was asked to be fully vaccinated, and masks are still required outside the bunks. Sadly, visiting day is still canceled.

Okun mentioned that apart from the strict CDC safety guidelines Camp Seneca was following, camp was pretty much the same. The major difference was that last summer Camp Seneca was only filled to 70% capacity and they had no international staff.

At the end of every summer, Seneca has a goodbye DJ party, which was held outside last year due to the pandemic.

“Seneca is a great place to meet friends. They take great care of you, are always thinking of something new and are strict in their safety guidelines, especially since the outbreak of the pandemic” said Okun, who has been enjoying himself immensely with his campers and co-counselors at Camp Seneca this summer.

By Julianne Katz

 

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