July 24, 2020
I have generally fancied myself a person of reason. I respect rational people and the scientific method.
I would not think twice about a four-leafed clover, a black cat or a broken mirror (beyond calculating its replacement cost).
Yes indeed. I was beyond superstition.
And then this summer happened.
Before I show the crazy side of my personality, please know that I started in the world of rationality. We needed to understand COVID, from its effects on young people (incredibly low) to its methods of transmission. We talked with epidemiologists about virus risk and public health professionals about best practices.
As a result, we developed some very good practices. We tested all counselors, asked them to quarantine before camp and then had a quarantine at camp before any campers arrived. We developed systems to serve food without any camper ever touching a serving tong or spoon. Our team devised ways to assure that all public surfaces would get sanitized daily (usually more often) and campers would wash their hands between 5 and 8 times a day.
We asked families to quarantine before camp and we also helped people understand what a true quarantine looks like.
Our meals would happen in shifts. Our activities are scheduled in cohorts. We masked at Torchlight until the general mask order went up in Texas and then we masked whenever not activity eating, playing or sleeping.
With this plan, we have been very successful. When people ask me “how many cases have you had?”, I answer “we have been very successful” or “we have been blessed”. I cannot bring myself to say what “blessed” means. I feel like a pitcher in the middle of a no-hitter – you just do not talk about it out loud. Sure, you can think about it, but never talk about it.
Did you notice what just happened in that paragraph?
Your rational camp director started to seem a little superstitious. Indeed, your humble narrator has undergone a transformation.
I am knocking wood 10-15 times each day. I sit in the same spot at meals. I have created a set of odd routines.
And I have come to believe in COVID Karma. This is the belief that if I help another camp or the American Camp Association or the camp world in general, then we will continue to be “blessed”. As a result, I have done 6 interviews and been on 4 Zoom panels with other camps prior to their opening – all in the last month. I believe that if we help others, we will get COVID Karma points.
Yeah, I know. I have dipped my toe into crazy waters.
But we remain blessed!
PS The photo is of cookies my sister made for our amazing counselors. I love the torchlighter medal and the mask!