Summer camps resume for 2021 season

Senior Kaden Anderson and junior Simon Koontz play spike ball with their counselors during interest group time at camp Mennoscah.

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Senior Kaden Anderson and junior Simon Koontz play spike ball with their counselors during interest group time at camp Mennoscah.

Simon Hodge, Reporter

Each summer students must figure out how they wish to spend their summer vacation. While some choose to participate in activities such as school sports, or obtain summer jobs such as lifeguarding, others decide to spend their time away from home at various summer camps. Summer camps are often described as a fun experience for students during the summer, a nice “get-away” before a usually much more hectic school season.

Many students at NHS took advantage of attending summer camps this year, with increased participation than years prior. Nationally, approximately 23 percent of students attended a camp throughout the summer of 2021 according to The Summer After Kindergarten: Children’s Experiences by Socioeconomic Characteristics

“I went to Camp Mennoscah, it is located around Murdock, KS,” senior Kaden Anderson said. “We had about 180 people at camp, the numbers were definitely a little smaller this year as there was a 200 person cap on the camp.”

There are a variety of camps that high school students and below can go to, all differing in schedule, activities as well as different experiences. Though most camps are only a week long, students often return to school and describe them as the most fun they had all summer.

“I had a really great time at camp, the music and food are definitely my favorite parts of it,” Anderson said. “I’ve gone to camp four times and I would definitely recommend it to people.”

The main draw to summer camps are the unique things that they have to offer to kids who attend them. Junior Simon Koontz says that at Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp, they had a handful of activities to participate in that they typically would not experience in Kansas throughout the summer. 

“We did some rock climbing, rock rappelling, some duckying which is kind of like white water rafting but better, and backpacking,” junior Simon Koontz said. “[We had a different schedule] and stuff to do on different days. On backpacking days we ate breakfast, went backpacking, put some tents up and slept in the rain.”

Though there are fun and different activities to do at camp, some people go for the more social aspect. Some are prompted to attend camp solely to meet new people or to see friends that they already know.

“[Camp Mennoscah] is definitely a popular camp for Newton people,” Anderson said. “The majority of campers are from either Newton or Kansas City each year.” 

Although many students attended summer camps this year, many camps had to change from their usual plan in the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most camps were closed in 2020 but have reopened this year and have learned to adapt to the virus as well as smaller numbers of campers.

“We did have to wear masks but other than that there weren’t that many rules we had to follow. It didn’t hinder the enjoyment or the experience of the camp, but it was just slightly irritating,” Anderson said. 

The COVID-19 pandemic had a big impact for most camps but many students say that it did not make these camps any less enjoyable then they were in 2019. They were excited to be back at the camps they know and love, especially with the year of absence in 2020.

“COVID didn’t affect the wilderness camp that much, we only had to wear masks inside of buildings [but] I can’t say anything for the resident camp,” Koontz said. “There were seven kids, and three counselors in attendance. There were only nine kids last year and COVID probably did have an effect.”

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