Each camp weekend of this past summer–a summer like never before–the HCAF staff, along with many of our directors, adoptive families, counselors, and community members, longed for the familiarity and comfort of camp. When the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we quickly changed gears and, thanks to the flexibility of our camp directors and presenters, we were able to put together nine virtual camps.
While the experience of Zoom can’t compete with hugs from our friends, the fresh air of the mountains, or the in-person connections with camp counselors, we found that the “HCAF recipe” in its online version still created that same sense of belonging and much of the fun that we look forward to each summer at camp. We were thrilled to see nearly 1,200 family members, counselors, and presenters at virtual camps!
“One of our yearly highlights is 3.5 days with our amazing African/Caribbean Heritage Camp family. This was our 10th year and although much abbreviated and virtual, we got to connect, see faces we love, have meaningful conversations, and end with an amazing dance party. Thank you to the HCAF crew for making lemonade out of lemons. Best (and hopefully only) virtual camp ever!” – Marilyn
Prior to virtual camps, we heard from several parents who expressed that their kids were struggling with isolation and that they needed camp more than ever. While we know that one weekend doesn’t create the social opportunities that our kids need on a regular basis, we were so happy to hear that many of the supportive relationships between counselors and our tweens and teens were reignited through virtual camp.
“Thanks to Virtual Chinese Heritage Camp, Emily reconnected with one of her campers who has been struggling, and they’ve been communicating ever since! That made having a virtual experience so worthwhile!” — Patty
The best part about the Virtual Camps has been the appreciative response from parents and enthusiasm from kids!
“Well… virtual Indian/Nepalese Heritage Camp was nothing like the real thing. But our teenage daughter spent the night on FaceTime with camp friends, something she hadn’t done in quite a while. So, thank you for managing to keep those connections going, even during these hard times. I LOVED the adult workshop and our daughter had a lot of fun cooking with Geeta. And I FINALLY got to do the dance workshop with the amazing Mudra Dance Studio. It was great seeing so many faces. We miss our camp families.” – Lynn
Contact: Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families
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