What’s Going on with Summer Camps this Year – Grand Rapids & Lakeshore 2020

summer camps west michigan

What Will Summer Hold for Grand Rapids Families and Grand Rapids Summer Camps?

Well THAT was unexpected.

In a matter of weeks, everyone’s summer plans were thrown on their heads and many of us are still spinning from the effects of the statewide shutdown that has extended way longer than anyone anticipated.

Even when schools across Michigan were closed through the end of the school year, I thought, “It’ll be better by June though, right? We’ll still have summer camps, right???”

Eh, maybe.

We may have summer camps, but summer camps will be different from anything in the past.

Many camps, like us parents, are reeling from the continuous extensions to the state’s “stay at home order.” If you think it’s hard to pivot and find new plans for childcare, virtual school, and mental health care, imagine being a summer camp.

The logistics involved in running a single summer camp for one week are expansive, and if you multiply that by several weeks of camps, with hundreds of families and staff involved, supplies, etc, it is nearly impossible to regroup after a state shutdown.

But some summer camps are doing it.

So Will There be Grand Rapids Summer Camps in 2020?

We still don’t know. Neither do our camps. We’ve polled our favorite local summer camp organizations to gain some insight and the answer is simply that they are all up in the air.

Some have canceled. Others have gone virtual. And yet others are still trying to decide. What’s safe? What’s allowed? What’s smart?

Summer camps are a critical part of the working family’s summer. My husband and I both work. For the past several months we’ve been scraping together workdays with virtual school and child care. Frankly, it’s been hellish.

To face another 3 months in the same holding pattern, with summer camps closed, is a very terrifying thought. And parents that rely on summer camp as child care are in a quandary as well.

But despite how much I love summer camps (okay, and my kids do, too), these camps are doing what they need to keep our kids safe from coronavirus.

Here’s How West MI Families are Feeling about Summer Camps 2020

Camps opening up for summer 2020 is only half of the equation. Parents need to be willing to send kids to camp, too.

We conducted a survey of close to 400 West Michigan families to see how they were feeling about summer camp this year. Here’s what we learned:

Before the pandemic arrived (as of February 2020) most parents – 93% of respondents – were planning to send their kids to some type of summer camp this year.

It’s not surprising that as of May 19, 2020, parents are feeling very differently toward summer camp, and not all people feel the same way.

  • 21% of respondents told us that their plans had changed for the summer – originally they were planning to do summer camp but will be skipping all summer camp options in 2020.
  • 27% of parents are waiting – they will decide to sign their children up at a later date, if at all.
  • 36% of survey takers report that their children were already signed up for summer camp and they are waiting to hear updates from the camps.

Parents are also divided on sending their kids to camp, even if recommended CDC precautions were put into place.


Our question: If camps open this summer and agree to follow all of the recommendations of the CDC and state and local governments, how likely are you to consider sending your child to camp this summer?

summer camps west michigan

33% very likely, 24% somewhat likely, 21% not very likely, 22% I won’t be sending my child to camp this summer

The people planning to attend camp were vocal, writing things like:

We are not afraid of our kids catching this virus…no more so than anything else. We want camp to happen. No to masks, but maybe yes to more sanitizing.

or

Please do not cancel summer camps. There is no way to 100% protect anyone from everything. The children have already lost so much by closing schools and being locked in their homes for over two months. This is not healthy for anyone, mentally or physically.

or

  If parents are expected to return to work and summer camps are part of our child care plan, what choice do we have?!

And many sentiments expressed were like these in favor of keeping kids home:

I feel that the CDC requirements take away the fun aspect of summer camp. My daughter was looking forward to field trips, playgrounds, and social interaction. These are the things she will likely miss in summer camp.

or

Honestly, I don’t think we will get to any place that the CDC and local governments agree is “safe”, so I’m just resigned to that. It’s better safe than sorry and hopefully it’s just one summer lost.

or

I feel incredible uncertainty around this virus and will be waiting it out. We are enrolled in one camp that was postponed until August and we may or may not attend depending on how this all plays out. We will not likely be signing up for the other camps for the same reason.


Given the rise of distance learning over the past few months, we were curious to hear what families were thinking about virtual camps. We asked:

If your child’s camp was changed to an online format, how likely would you be to have your child attend that camp?

67% of parents reported that it is very unlikely their kids would do an online summer camp, compared to the 16% who said it was somewhat likely.

summer camps west michigan 1

It appears that parents and kids are tired of screens, as one commenter said, “My kids don’t like watching live streams, and I don’t really want to manage it. I would be interested in activity boxes/kits. We probably wouldn’t do the virtual part unless there was a really huge draw to it.”

Another parent explains, “Virtual camps sound fun in theory. However, after weeks of virtual school, I’m done with convincing my kids to sit in front of a computer to interact with other people.” And, ” They are ready to be done with virtual learning and enjoy the summer. Virtual learning is necessary for school but does not translate to the outdoor and social benefits of a camp. It would be too much to ask of our children. They need a relaxed and free summer. We are going 1980s outside all day on the bikes and devices will be put away..”

It’s the human interaction that kids and parents are missing the most, “Camps are mostly beneficial for the social interaction and relationships built with peers and mentors.”

In summary, “Uhg. Enough computers. We’re kind of virtualed out.”


There we have it. Just like everything else going on in the world right now, we’re uncertain about what the future holds.

Our survey of the summer camps in the area reflect this, too.

Below, you’ll see a list of camps that have canceled, some that have gone virtual, and others that are planning to open for business.

We all know this is a fluid situation – camps and parents may yet change their plans this summer.

We do hope that whatever happens, you all stay well.

Open Camps
Virtual Camps
Cancelled Camps

OPEN CAMPS 

Grand Rapids and Lakeshore Camps Running this Summer

Many camps are remaining hopeful and plan to continue running as scheduled this summer.

Some programs may look a little different, as camps strive to comply with CDC regulations and social distancing protocols, but they all have the same goals in mind: to provide your child with a FUN and SAFE summer camp experience. Many camps that are choosing to open this summer have different refund policies than in the past and we list them here where we’re able.

Please note that camps will be constantly re-evaluating and making decisions throughout the summer and plans may change. We will do our best to keep this list updated, but make sure to check your camp’s website for the most updated information.


Amped Virtual Reality and Bricks 4 Kidz STEM Camps

Details: STEM Camps will run as scheduled, with plans for social distancing compliance.

Refund Policy: Cancellations due to getting COVID or complications due to COVID will be fully refunded, but other cancellations made 2 weeks in advance of the camp start date will receive a refund, minus a $75 cancellation fee. Cancellations made within 2 weeks of the camp start date will not receive a refund.


AppleTree & Gilden Woods Early Care and Preschool Summer Explorers Program

Details: Summer Explorers Programs will proceed as scheduled, with modifications as needed. Please call your local school for a review of many COVID-19 related health and safety actions.


Battle GR

Details: Please reference their website for the most up-to-date information regarding camps: https://www.battlegr.com/blog/summer-camps-2020/


Bee Camp for Kids at Indigo Acres Apiary

Details: Bee Camp for Kids is a unique, hands-on, and educational experience designed for kids ages 7-12 (2nd – 6th grade). Throughout the week, junior beekeepers will have numerous opportunities to suit up in the safety of our provided bee suits and learn about the amazing life of our honey bees, local pollinators and the plants that sustain them.


Camp Curious at Grand Rapids Public Museum

Details: Camp Curious 2020 is going virtual! The GRPM is offering options for one-day or three-day camps with a variety of themes, including Slimy Science, Fossil Hunters and Dream it, Build it LEGO® Bricks, Young Wizards Academy and more. These virtual programs allow campers to explore and investigate through hands-on experiments and activities, while using common items in their homes as well as artifacts and specimens in the GRPM’s Collections.

Refund Policy: If the Museum does need to cancel the camp you registered for, you will receive a full refund.


Camp Geneva

Details: The first two sessions of camp have been canceled. For the last two weeks of June we are offering two new camp experiences:

  • June 22-27: DAY CAMP for campers entering 4th-6th grades
  • June 29-July 3: DAY CAMP for campers entering 7th-9th grades and 10th-college freshman

Our overnight experiences will begin on July 6, as scheduled.

Refund Policy: For details regarding the refund and cancellation policy, please call the office at 616-399-3150.


Camp Newaygo

Details: Camp Newaygo has postponed the start of Girls’ Overnight Camp to run from June 28th through August 1st and moved the Mom and Me weekends to August. Co-ed Day Camp has been canceled. Camp Newaygo is monitoring guidance from the CDC, the American Camp Association, and the state of Michigan and guidance from health officials to shape their summer 2020 program, with the realization there is still a chance that camp may not be able to operate this summer, under state restrictions. They are modifying their programs in response to COVID-19; more information on those changes can be found at  https://campnewaygo.org/communication-about-covid-19/


Camp Roger and Camp Scottie

Details: Introducing our NEW 2020 Summer camp- GO Camp Roger and GO Camp Scottie! GO stands for Get Outside. And that’s what we’re going to do! GO Camp Roger and GO Camp Scottie will take place almost completely outdoors, within small groups, and during the day only. We promise the same creative programming that you are used to from our counselors and staff, and we will keep our new cleaning and sanitizing practices in place.


CARE Ballet Summer Dance Camps

Details: CARE Ballet Summer Dance Camps will run as planned and effort will be made to hold portions of the young camps outside as much as possible. 

Refund Policy: CARE Ballet reserves the right to postpone / reschedule summer camps. Cancellation will be handled with a credit to be applied to future camps or classes.


Cedar Lodge Summer Camp

Details: The first two weeks of camp have been canceled; new start date is July 5th and will run for 6 weeks after that.  Following camp, Cedar Lodge is adding a Horse camp that will be an intensive 2 weeks just working on riding or vaulting and is only open to kids that can at least walk, trot, canter comfortably in a group of riders. Riders will have the option to participate in the LMHJA show that is running on August 29/30 on horses they will ride during those two weeks. The Day Camp option has been dropped for all programs at this time.

Refund Policy: Families are not required to pay at registration. They will be invoiced directly and payment is requested 2 weeks in advance of dates of arrival.

 


Children’s Creations Theater and Act II Theater for Teens Summer Camp 

Details: Camps are moving forward as originally scheduled in July. Arrangements will be made to limit the number of students in the studio.

Refund Policy: A refund will be provided if requested or it be can be applied toward another session as part of tuition.


Cornerstone University Sports Camps 

Details: June camps will be transitioned from overnight camps to commuter only camps. July camps are currently scheduled to run as planned.

Refund Policy: Full refunds issued if camp is canceled or if registration is canceled prior to the start of the camp.


Detroit Lions Football Summer Camps and Academies:

Details: June Camps have been canceled.  Decisions for July and August camps will be made at the end of May. In addition, the Detroit Lions have created a Detroit Lions Football Education Virtual Training Hub.

Refund Policy: 100% full refund


Grand Rapids Gymnastics

Details: GRG Summer Camps are moving forward as scheduled, with the addition of a new time slot available from 1-4 pm and a new Holiday Week Camp June 29-July 2.Camps will be modified to comply with all CDC and government guidelines.

Refund Policy: If camps are not allowed to run due to government guidelines, we will offer the ability to move to another scheduled week or full refund.


Grand Valley State Sports Camps

Details: Summer 2020 camps are currently scheduled to proceed as planned.

Refund Policy: If it is determined that our camps should be canceled, we will issue campers a full refund within 72 hours of cancelation (minus Ryzer card processing/convenience fees).


Legacy Stables Own-a-Horse Camp

Details: ‘Own-A-Horse’ Camp will run as planned with a few modifications:
-Maximum of 10 students
-We are outdoors and have LOTS of room to social distance around the stables.
-For the majority of the camp session, students will be split into smaller groups of 3-4 students
-Students will be asked to bring a mask to wear whenever there are activities where social distancing is harder.
-Equipment is disinfected between each student.
-Students will be required to wash/sanitize their hands between activities.


Michigan Sports Academies Sports Camps

Details: MSA Sports Camps are moving forward with the goal to keep families safe and healthy.

Refund Policy: Full refunds will be provided for camps that get canceled due to Covid-19.


Orchard Hill Christian Preschool and Child Care Center Summer Camp

Details: Orchard Hill Christian Preschool and Child Care Center Summer Camp is moving forward as originally planned.


Ottawa County Parks & Recreation

Details: Summer Camps will likely resume in July. More information about programs and summer camps to follow. Sign up to receive email alerts for seasonal programs or summer camps.


Outdoor Discovery Center

Details: 2020 Summer Camps begin June 23.

Refund policy:
100% refund (minus applicable credit card fees) up to 14 days before the camp start date
0% refund 13 days or fewer before the camp start date
(If ODC Network cancels a camp within 14 days of its start, full refunds will be given minus credit card fees when applicable)


Rising Starz

Details: Starting June 23rd, Rising Starz will offer weekly camps! Join us for amazing summer fun all day on Tuesdays and on Wednesday afternoons!
On Tuesdays you can stay all day! Just pack a lunch and enjoy a 30-minute lunch break with our awesome Camp Staff!


Robotics and Science Camp in Rockford

Details: Camp dates have changed to July 13 – 17 and August 10 – 14.  Parents whose children are already registered for June will be contacted about options.

Refund Policy: Refund for anyone who cancels due to COVID19 or if camp is canceled.


Sylvan Learning Camps

Details: Sylvan Learning STEM Camp will continue as scheduled in August. New virtual camps will also be offered starting in June.

Refund Policy: If the family is not satisfied with the performance of the camp within the first session, they can request a refund.


Van Andel Institute Summer STEM Camps

Details: July and August sumer camp sessions plan to run as scheduled. Due to COVID-19, the decision to run each camp will be made 2 weeks prior to the start date. If you have any questions, please email [email protected].

June camps will be going virtual. The camps will be the same length in time and hopefully just as exciting and engaging. We will equip each family with all the materials they need to complete each day’s activities. We will be utilizing tools such a Google Classroom, Zoom, Flipgrid, and more. Although we will connect with students throughout the day via technology, kids will be away from the screen, immersed in fun, thinking and acting like scientists, and, best of all, making new friends.


West Michigan Academy Adventure Camp:

Details: Dates of Camp: July 20-24 (Exploration of Ecosystems) & July 27-31 (Adventure Skills)
Time: 8AM – 3PM
Ages: PreK-5TH Grade (2020-2021 School Year)
Location: West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science Early Childhood Center
Cost: $150 per week – No Deposit Required • Cost Includes: Breakfast & Lunch, Journal, Camp T-Shirt
Additional information and sign up can be found here: https://wma-es.com/summercamp


  VIRTUAL CAMPS 

Grand Rapids and Lakeshore Camps Moving Online this Summer

Unprecedented times can lead to innovation.

In this case, some camps are choosing to take advantage of modern technology to provide new and unique online camp experiences for their campers.

» Academy of Music

What’s New: Summer Music Lesson Packages

Basic: One 30-minute lesson per week plus a summer beach bag gift set (includes flying disc, sidewalk chalk, bubble wand tube, sunglasses, and an ice cream gift certificate).
All Stars:  One 30-minute lesson per week plus virtual or outdoor recital in August and a summer beach bag gift set (Includes flying disc, sidewalk chalk, large bubble wand tube, sunglasses, and an ice cream gift certificate)
Hall of Fame:  Two 30-minute lessons per week plus virtual or outdoor recital in August and a summer beach bag gift set (Includes $10 music retail gift certificate, flying disc, sidewalk chalk, bubble wand tube, sunglasses, and an ice cream gift certificate)
SUMMER LESSONS BONUS:  In addition, all summer students will have an opportunity to register for a  destination recital performance at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH on Saturday, September 5.  Seating is expected to be 50% capacity, so we will limit recitals to not more than 15 students.  Registration deadline for this event will be 6/15.

Note: Academy of Music is equipped to handle either online or in-person lessons, and will be following local regulations to determine when they are allowed to resume in-person lessons.  However, even after in-person lessons are allowed, families will be able to choose whether they prefer in-person or online lessons.

» Aquinas College: ESME Virtual String Class

What’s New: This summer’s ESME String Camp has now been redesigned to take place online in a fully virtual setting. These programs will guide students through the creation and application of virtual performance while they participate in virtual real-time interactive workshops, masterclasses, theory classes, music appreciation and composition classes, one-on-one lessons and chamber group coachings.

» Camp Curious at Grand Rapids Public Museum

What’s New: Camp Curious 2020 is going virtual! The GRPM is offering options for one-day or three-day camps with a variety of themes, including Slimy Science, Fossil Hunters and Dream it, Built it LEGO® Bricks, Young Wizards Academy and more. These virtual programs allow campers to explore and investigate through hands-on experiments and activities, while using common items in their homes as well as artifacts and specimens in the GRPM’s Collections.

» Camp Greenwood

What’s New: In-person camps have been canceled, but they will be moving to an online format.

» Comprehensive Therapy Center

What’s New: Comprehensive Therapy Center is delighted to offer a new way to serve our families! TeleTherapy & Fun is a 5-week program for children with developmental disabilities and delays, starting on July 7 and offering the same services that have made the program successful for almost 30 years. Our speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and dance/movement therapists will work together to create individualized programs for your child. There will be group therapy, individual therapy, and plenty of fun in the form of arts, crafts, reading, and more. More information available at
https://therapycenter.org/therapy-and-fun/.

» Detroit Lions Football Summer Camps and Academies

What’s New: Detroit Lions Football Education Virtual Training Hub.  From Backyard Football Videos and Roary’s Roundtable to our Michigan High School Football Head Coach Hangout and an upcoming virtual Summer Camp program, this Virtual Training Hub will allow children, parents and coaches to continue their Football Education in the “Classroom”.  Visit DetroitLions.com/FootballEducation.

» Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan

What’s New: GSHOM will be offering Camp Reimagined over the course of five weeks. As a virtual camper, girls will receive a weekly subscription box that includes everything they need for that week of virtual camp, two daily Zoom calls, a camp counselor, and the opportunity to make new friends – just like they would at overnight camp or day camp.

» Humane U: Humane Society of West Michigan Summer Youth Camps

What’s New: Humane University Summer Youth Camps are going virtual. They’re bringing your kids 40 hours of activities, guest speakers, lessons, one-on-one animal time and more each week!

Camps will run weekly from June 1 – August 28.  All camps include one-on-one animal time at the shelter each week in a safe and socially distanced environment. They will provide your camper with a Camp Kit for the week, including a camp t-shirt and all of the supplies they will need for crafts and activities. Visit their website to learn more and register today!

» Sherman Lake YMCA Camp

What’s New: Sherman Lake YMCA Camp will be continually updating their Sherman Lake Camp At Home page with virtual events for families.

» Sylvan Learning Virtual Camps

What’s New: Sylvan Learning is offering a Virtual Coding Camp in June, as well as other virtual camps that will cover reading, math, essay writing, and coding. All camps will meet Monday-Friday on Zoom, at a specific time according to the grade level.

» The Mud Room

What’s New: While in-person classes and camps are on pause, the studio has created the perfect solution for take-home creativity! NEW Summer Art Boxes are available for your kids to have some screen-free, relaxed summer fun.
These project kits will include everything you need – including materials and both written and video instructions – to make it simple to create on your own schedule, at home or at the cottage. They are great for either a quiet family crafternoon or an artsy party with friends!

» Van Andel Education Institute STEM Camps

What’s New: June camps will be going virtual! The camps will be the same length in time and hopefully just as exciting and engaging. We will equip each family with all the materials they need to complete each day’s activities. We will be utilizing tools such a Google Classroom, Zoom, Flipgrid, and more. Although we will connect with students throughout the day via technology, kids will be away from the screen, immersed in fun, thinking and acting like scientists, and, best of all, making new friends.

CANCELLED CAMPS 

Cancellations for Grand Rapids and Lakeshore Summer Camps

Some camps have had to make the very difficult decision to cancel their programs for this summer.

Please note that some camps have canceled sessions during the first part of the summer, but may still run with sessions later in the summer. Others have replaced in-person camps with virtual options. Check back here for updates- we will do our best to keep you informed.

» Academy of Music: Academy of Music has canceled all summer camps, but will instead be offering new Summer Music Lesson packages.

» Aquinas College 2020 Summer Camps:
Aquinas College has canceled all AQ Athletic Camps for the month of June. July camps are currently still running as planned and will be reevaluated at a later date.
The following non-athletic Summer Camps have been canceled: Jazz Camp, Dungeons & Dragons Camp, AQ Saints Science Camp. (The 2020 ESME String Camp has transitioned to a virtual event and will run as planned.)

» Camp Geneva: The first two sessions of camp have been canceled (beginning June 8 and June 15). Sessions 3-10 are currently still on as planned. For families who have a child in session 3 (week of June 22) or 4 (week of June 29), a decision regarding their week will be made the last week of May. For families who have a child in sessions 5 (week of July 6) through 10 (week of August 10), decision regarding their week will be made in the second week of June

» Camp Greenwood: In-person camps have been canceled, but they will be moving to an online format.

» Camp Mud: Camp Mud + Story Time at The Mud Room have been canceled, but will be brought back later this summer, if circumstances allow. In the meantime, enjoy Summer Art Boxes for take-home art projects.

» Camp Newaygo: Camp Newaygo has postponed the start of Girls’ Overnight Camp to run from June 28th through August 1st and moved the Mom and Me weekends to August. Co-ed Day Camp has been canceled.

» Cedar Lodge Summer Camp: The first two weeks of camp have been canceled; new start date is July 5th. All Day Camp options have also been canceled at this time.

» CranHill Ranch:  All CranHill Ranch Summer camps are canceled for the 2020 season due to COVID-19. Families can receive a full refund, donate their funds to CranHill to help during this difficult time, or they can forward those funds to a 2021 summer camp reservation. (2021 reservations will open soon).

» Camp Kroc: All 2020 Summer Camp sessions are canceled.

» Detroit Lions Football Summer Camps and Academies: June Camps have been canceled.  Decisions for July and August camps will be made at the end of May.

» Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan: GSHOM will not be hosting overnight summer programs, but will be offering Camp Reimagined.

» Grace Adventures Summer Youth Camps: All 2020 Summer Camp sessions are canceled.

» Grand Rapids Art Museum Summer Art Camps: All 2020 Summer Camp sessions are canceled.

» Higher Ground at Lake Louise: All 2020 Summer Camp sessions are canceled.

» Hope Summer Repertory Theater: All 2020 Summer Camp sessions are canceled.

» Kent Career Tech Center Summer Career Camps: All 2020 Summer Camp sessions are canceled.

» Robotics and Science Camp in Rockford: June 22-26 camp session has been canceled. July and August sessions are running as scheduled.

» Sherman Lake YMCA Camp: All 2020 Summer Camp sessions are canceled.

» i9 Sports Camps: All 2020 Summer Camp sessions are canceled.

COVID-19 Resources – Table of Contents

Where to Buy Masks, Locally
Where to Buy Local Beef, Produce, Milk
Supporting Your Child
Bringing Groceries Into Your Home
Grocery Shopping Hours
GR Coronavirus Resources Page
Pregnancy During COVID Q&A
How Far Should You Drive?
Remote Learning Tips
COVID-19 Time Capsule
Kid Birthdays During the Shutdown
250+ Boredom Busters
At-Home Date Night Ideas
Michigan Armchair Travel Guide
Neighborhood Ideas

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5 thoughts on “What’s Going on with Summer Camps this Year – Grand Rapids & Lakeshore 2020”

  1. Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp has cancelled all camps for the summer
    Crystal Conference Center (in Frankfort, Mi) has cancelled all camps for the summer, but are open for rentals.

  2. Pingback: What's Going on with Summer Camps this Year - Grand Rapids & Lakeshore 2020 - Lansing Family Fun

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