School Start Date Debate Affects Summer Camps

Feb 24, 2015

Summer Program Director at the Des Moines YMCA Camp Alex Kretzinger says its difficult to develop schedules for summer camp not knowing when school will start next fall.

Tess and Ella pose with post cards sent to them by their camp counselors from last summer. Camp Consultant Gary Forster says lots of camps encourage their counselors to stay in touch with campers to compel them to come back to camp.
Credit Katherine Perkins / Iowa Public Radio

"When it starts and when it ends affects our schedule and what our calendar looks like, not only for staff, but when we start ordering food and products we’ll need for the summer for camp.”

Michael Johnson, who directs Camp Hantesa in Boone, says lawmakers should also consider the effect school start dates have on camp staffing. 

“We could get into a situation where the school aged kids in Iowa are starting school two weeks after Iowa State students do. If all our counselors are all going back to college, then we don’t have as many counselors to rely upon," Johnson says. 

During this Talk of Iowa program, host Charity Nebbe talks with Johnson, Kretzinger and camp consultant Gary Forster about what makes camp appealing in the 21st century and how camps are continually trying to stay relevant to kids, and more importantly, their parents.