State News

Coastal camp provides coronavirus reprieve

Posted July 23, 2020 1:23 p.m. EDT
Updated July 24, 2020 6:19 p.m. EDT

— For many families, outdoor activities have been a way to get away from all the stress of the coronavirus pandemic. Some are heading to the coast to get away and feel some sort of normalcy.

Embark Family Camp at Camp Seafarer in Arapahoe, N.C., is one place providing a getaway for families while keeping safety a priority.

"It's a respite from what's going on in the outside world. We can have face-to-face communication. People put their phones down, and parents don't have a lot of decision making," said Mary Laurence Crook, executive director of Camp Seafarer.

Parents TJ and Jessie Barringer, whose family has been going to camp for the last three years, say the trip brought their family much needed comfort.

"I left feeling uplifted. It was just a nice overall experience and the kids had a renewed sense of, okay we're seeing how things could be again," said TJ and Jessie Barringer.

But there were many changes and challenges staff faced this summer.

"We have strict cleaning protocols between families, from one weekend to the next. And, just making sure we communicated effectively so that our staff and participants can be partners with us in this," added Crook.

Capacity was also cut from 1,000 to less than 250.

The Barringers were quite impressed with how staff handled the safety of more than 60 families. "Temperature checks going in and checking health history and screening and handing out masks and just making sure everyone stayed separate," the Barringers said.

While camp may have looked and felt a bit different, it was special, nonetheless.

The Barringers added, "It was potentially more uplifting than others because the rest of the world is so constrained."

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