LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — From s'mores and crafts to time on the water, camp is a favorite summer pastime for kids. And for many, it looks much different this summer.
Camp Aldersgate, located in West Little Rock, serves children with chronic medical conditions and special needs.
“Our camper safety is at the front of every decision we make,” Ali Miller, the camp’s director of programs, said. “We made the decision not to have campers on camp for their safety.”
Instead, Camp Aldersgate is providing a virtual experience this summer.
“We knew it was going to look differently, and we didn't know how. But we knew we were strong enough to bend, and we were absolutely going to do something,” Miller said.
Each camper receives a box of supplies tailored for their interests to use during their one-week session. Over the course of that week, they use video conferencing to engage in many of the same activities they’re used to – campfires, lakefront activities, social time with their cabins, a talent show, arts & crafts, and more.
“It's hilarious how true to camp it still is,” Miller said. “Our kids are still our kids.”
10-year-old Rose Carter attended this week from her home in Centerton.
“It's a lot of fun!” she said.
Her session is dedicated to children with diabetes, which she was diagnosed with several years ago.
“It’s just nice to have friends with the same disease as me because I don’t have a lot of friends with it,” she said. “It’s nice to meet people and I get to relate with them.”
According to her mom, those connections are especially important during a time like this.
“All kinds of things are canceled, and it's hard to find things to do,” Summer Carter said. “But when she heard they were still going to put camp on it put a spring in her step and she was so excited when she got the boxes from them. They just thought of so many things.”
As much fun as Carter had attending virtual camp, she hopes to reunite with her friends in-person next year.
“I really really really hope we get to go to camp next year because I just love getting to see all of them in person,” she said.
Click here to learn more about Camp Aldersgate.