Camp Shalom gears up for 2021 Summer season

Camp Shalom was one of two overnight camps in Eastern Iowa to open in Summer 2020
Published: Apr. 30, 2021 at 10:41 PM CDT
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MAQUOKETA, Iowa (KWQC) - Benjamin Carlson has been the program director for Camp Shalom for six years, and says Summer 2020 was incredibly unique considering they were even open for it.

“Going back to last year briefly, Camp Shalom and Camp Ewalu up at Strawberry Point, Iowa were the only two camps in Eastern Iowa that ran overnight Summer camp,” Carlson said, “What we found last year, the kids were way, way better at social distance than following all the rules than the staff, it was the staff that struggled, you know they’re used to to being able to do what they want and they’re off at college doing their own thing, but now the kids followed directions very well, they bought into everything, they understood why we had the rules.”

The biggest thing the camp had to modify was interaction between campers themselves and the community.

“Each Cabin group had about eight kids in it and they were limited to their cabin group so minimal interaction with a larger group, we were able to modify some large group activities but for the most part cabins were doing everything together,” Carlson said, “We also didn’t have any offsite trips so no pool, no Maquoketa Caves, no Little Bear Park, we were just here the whole week”

But with vaccinations and with the experience of last Summer, Carlson feels prepared compared to other overnight camps.

“We’re going to start it out the same and see how it goes, the nice thing is most of our staff will be vaccinated by the time camp rolls around, you know we’re not requiring it but we’re strongly encouraging it,” Carlson said, “We’re lucky that we’ve already had that experience, we’ve been the ones that people contacted asking ‘hey, what should we expect? How did this go? How did that go?’”

And the excitement is there for Carlson.

“Oh I’m so ready, we’ve had very few in person events up here over the last year and a half and the ones that we have had have been a breath of fresh air to get some people up here and enjoy Camp Shalom,” Carlson said.

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