"If it's not safe, we're not going to do it. And if it's not fun, we're not going to do it for very long."
After months of waiting, we finally received guidance from L.A. County with requirements for reopening camp amid the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, after reviewing the new guidelines, we have not been able to find a way to safely operate at a level that meets both your standards and ours. Accordingly, Aloha Beach Camp will remain closed this summer.
We Were Willing to Make Every Reasonable Modification
We knew from the very beginning we’d have to make modifications in order to reopen camp. We were prepared to make every reasonable adjustment to make camp happen. But as we've said from the start, we would only operate camp this summer if doing so would be safe and feasible. And we would never be willing to make modifications so drastic that they could potentially:
Cloth Face Mask Requirement
As we reviewed the guidelines for opening camp, all of the required modifications presented unique challenges, although many seem relatively workable. One, however, in particular stood out: the requirement for campers to wear cloth face masks at camp.
When you send your child to Aloha Beach Camp, you are entrusting us to protect your child’s welfare. We don’t take that responsibility lightly. Under the new reopening guidelines, kids are required to wear cloth face masks during the entire camp day, except when swimming or eating. This requirement is something we (and other parents and health professionals we’ve spoken to) deem potentially unsafe.
Campers would be incredibly uncomfortable, taking their masks on and off all day, playing with them, burying them in the sand, all of that. This is completely understandable, because it's what kids do. But since masks are a legal requirement to operate, we’d be spending most of the day managing masks, reminding kids to keep them on, etc. This is not something we think campers should be concerned with in the first place.
We have a saying at camp that goes like this: “If it’s not safe, we aren’t going to do it, and if it’s not fun, we aren’t going to do it for very long.” In our view, wearing cloth masks at the beach is unsafe, and would seriously diminish the fun of camp.
RELATED: Rising coronavirus cases in Los Angeles another reason to keep camp closed.
Other Potential Issues
We’ve heard some camps intend to combat the face mask issue by keeping campers in the water for longer than normal periods of time. In our view this creates a new potentially dangerous health and safety issue, such as hypothermia (overexposure to the cold ocean water), among others. But let’s say for a minute we could actually find a workaround for the face mask issue.
Even then, we'd still have to contend with the fact the additional modifications would cause us to deliver a program that looks, feels, and operates differently from anything you’ve come to know and love about Aloha Beach Camp over the years. We'd be facing all kinds of additional issues, such as:
As the only accredited beach camp by the American Camp Association, licensed by the L.A. County Dept. of Beaches and Harbors, permitted as an Organized Camp by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, and with an immediate family member in a high-level position at the CDC in Atlanta, we're sad about this decision but know it's the right one.
If anything changes and campers are not required to wear cloth face masks later this summer, and additional requirements and modifications loosen allowing us to provide the camp experience you expect and deserve, perhaps we’ll operate for a few weeks down the line. Please join our interest list and we’ll keep you posted about that going forward.
We also have some exciting new programs coming up, such as our new Camp Counselor Academy where kids who want to become counselors (at Aloha or elsewhere) can learn everything they need to know about the job interview process, how to lead camp activities, child development and more.
We're also offering surfboards and boogie boards for rent if you need any equipment for your own day at the beach.
We look forward to staying connected with you. Rest assured Aloha Beach Camp will be back next year better than ever. We can’t wait to see you then. Meanwhile, we hope you and your loved ones stay healthy and safe. Thank you for supporting Aloha Beach Camp.
All the best,
Eric Naftulin and Family
Teri, Sarah, Josh and Noah
Aloha Beach Camp
This blog is written and maintained by Eric D. Naftulin, Aloha Beach Camp's owner and Executive Director the the past 20 years.