What’s Going on with Summer Camps this Year – Greater Lansing 2020


What Will Summer Hold for Lansing Families and Lansing Summer Camps?

Well THAT was unexpected.

In a matter of weeks, everyone’s summer plans were thrown on their heads and many of us are still spinning from the effects of the statewide shutdown that has extended way longer than anyone anticipated.

Even when schools across Michigan were closed through the end of the school year, I thought, “It’ll be better by June though, right? We’ll still have summer camps, right???”

Eh, maybe.

We may have summer camps, but summer camps will be different from anything in the past.

Many camps, like us parents, are reeling from the continuous extensions to the state’s “stay at home order.” If you think it’s hard to pivot and find new plans for childcare, virtual school, and mental health care, imagine being a summer camp.

The logistics involved in running a single summer camp for one week are expansive, and if you multiply that by several weeks of camps, with hundreds of families and staff involved, supplies, etc, it is nearly impossible to regroup after a state shutdown.

But some summer camps are doing it.

So Will There be Lansing Summer Camps in 2020?

We still don’t know. Neither do our camps. We’ve polled our favorite local summer camp organizations to gain some insight and the answer is simply that they are all up in the air.

Some have canceled. Others have gone virtual. And yet others are still trying to decide. What’s safe? What’s allowed? What’s smart?

Summer camps are a critical part of the working family’s summer. My husband and I both work. For the past several months we’ve been scraping together workdays with virtual school and child care. Frankly, it’s been hellish.

To face another 3 months in the same holding pattern, with summer camps closed, is a very terrifying thought. And parents that rely on summer camp as child care are in a quandary as well.

But despite how much I love summer camps (okay, and my kids do, too), these camps are doing what they need to keep our kids safe from coronavirus.

Here’s How Michigan Families are Feeling about Summer Camps 2020

Camps opening up for summer 2020 is only half of the equation. Parents need to be willing to send kids to camp, too.

We conducted a survey of close to 400 Michigan families to see how they were feeling about summer camp this year. Here’s what we learned:

Before the pandemic arrived (as of February 2020) most parents – 93% of respondents – were planning to send their kids to some type of summer camp this year.

It’s not surprising that as of May 19, 2020, parents are feeling very differently toward summer camp, and not all people feel the same way.

  • 21% of respondents told us that their plans had changed for the summer – originally they were planning to do summer camp but will be skipping all summer camp options in 2020.
  • 27% of parents are waiting – they will decide to sign their children up at a later date, if at all.
  • 36% of survey takers report that their children were already signed up for summer camp and they are waiting to hear updates from the camps.

Parents are also divided on sending their kids to camp, even if recommended CDC precautions were put into place.

Our question: If camps open this summer and agree to follow all of the recommendations of the CDC and state and local governments, how likely are you to consider sending your child to camp this summer?

33% very likely, 24% somewhat likely, 21% not very likely, 22% I won’t be sending my child to camp this summer

The people planning to attend camp were vocal, writing things like:

We are not afraid of our kids catching this virus…no more so than anything else. We want camp to happen. No to masks, but maybe yes to more sanitizing.


Please do not cancel summer camps. There is no way to 100% protect anyone from everything. The children have already lost so much by closing schools and being locked in their homes for over two months. This is not healthy for anyone, mentally or physically.


  If parents are expected to return to work and summer camps are part of our child care plan, what choice do we have?!

And many sentiments expressed were like these in favor of keeping kids home:

I feel that the CDC requirements take away the fun aspect of summer camp. My daughter was looking forward to field trips, playgrounds, and social interaction. These are the things she will likely miss in summer camp.


Honestly, I don’t think we will get to any place that the CDC and local governments agree is “safe”, so I’m just resigned to that. It’s better safe than sorry and hopefully it’s just one summer lost.


I feel incredible uncertainty around this virus and will be waiting it out. We are enrolled in one camp that was postponed until August and we may or may not attend depending on how this all plays out. We will not likely be signing up for the other camps for the same reason.

Given the rise of distance learning over the past few months, we were curious to hear what families were thinking about virtual camps. We asked:

If your child’s camp was changed to an online format, how likely would you be to have your child attend that camp?

67% of parents reported that it is very unlikely their kids would do an online summer camp, compared to the 16% who said it was somewhat likely.

It appears that parents and kids are tired of screens, as one commenter said, “My kids don’t like watching live streams, and I don’t really want to manage it. I would be interested in activity boxes/kits. We probably wouldn’t do the virtual part unless there was a really huge draw to it.”

Another parent explains, “Virtual camps sound fun in theory. However, after weeks of virtual school, I’m done with convincing my kids to sit in front of a computer to interact with other people.” And, ” They are ready to be done with virtual learning and enjoy the summer. Virtual learning is necessary for school but does not translate to the outdoor and social benefits of a camp. It would be too much to ask of our children. They need a relaxed and free summer. We are going 1980s outside all day on the bikes and devices will be put away..”

It’s the human interaction that kids and parents are missing the most, “Camps are mostly beneficial for the social interaction and relationships built with peers and mentors.”

In summary, “Uhg. Enough computers. We’re kind of virtualed out.”

There we have it. Just like everything else going on in the world right now, we’re uncertain about what the future holds.

Our survey of the summer camps in the area reflect this, too.

Below, you’ll see a list of camps that have canceled, some that have gone virtual, and others that are planning to open for business.

We all know this is a fluid situation – camps and parents may yet change their plans this summer.

We do hope that whatever happens, you all stay well.


Greater Lansing Camps Running this Summer

Many camps are remaining hopeful and plan to continue running as scheduled this summer.

Some programs may look a little different, as camps strive to comply with CDC regulations and social distancing protocols, but they all have the same goals in mind: to provide your child with a FUN and SAFE summer camp experience. Many camps that are choosing to open this summer have different refund policies than in the past and we list them here where we’re able.

Please note that camps will be constantly re-evaluating and making decisions throughout the summer and plans may change. We will do our best to keep this list updated, but make sure to check your camp’s website for the most updated information.

D-BAT Mid-Michigan

Details: All Aspects Camp for baseball and softball will run June 8-12. Ages 13 and under. Register at www.dbatmidmi.com.

Eaton County Parks’ Summer Adventure Program

Details: Eaton County Parks’ Summer Adventure Program is moving forward with possible modifications. We have a community survey posted on social media to help us decide how to move forward with camp. Along with the results of our survey, we are constantly checking Local, County, State, LARA and National policies and procedures as they change consistently.

Refund Policy: In the event a party wishes to cancel their registration, notice of cancellation must be given no less than fourteen days prior to the date of the program for a refund of half of the rental fees paid. No refunds will be given for programs canceled (by the user) less than fourteen days prior to the event date.

Lansing Sailing Club

Details: Summer Sessions plan to run as scheduled, beginning June 22. However, dates are tentative; a change of dates, or cancellations may occur, as Covid-related executive orders for Michigan and the U.S. change and develop.

Refund Policy: We are taking Pre-Registrations (and waiting list overflow) and will take payment only when we get the go-ahead for youth classes in this area.

REACH Summer Art Camps

Details: In the midst of the public health crisis posed by COVID-19, we are doing everything we can to respond appropriately.  Registration for all upcoming programs is “reservation only” at this point and we will only offer these summer programs if it is deemed safe to proceed.  You will be asked to confirm your registration mid-June, and payment will be due June 22 to officially secure your enrollment once we are more certain that we can safely conduct summer programs in-person.

Summer Explorers Program at AppleTree & Gilden Woods Early Care and Preschool

Details: Summer Explorers Programs will proceed as scheduled, with modifications as needed. Please call your local school for a review of many COVID-19 related health and safety actions.


Details: tinkrLAB camps will proceed as scheduled.

Woldumar Nature Center Camp Discovery

Details: We are reexamining our camp program to emphasize activities that minimize or eliminate person-to-person contact, the sharing of supplies, and of course, keep children outdoors as much as possible.  We’re confident that we can provide a safe, positive, fun, and educational experience for families this summer!

Refund Policy: If camp sessions are cancelled for health and safety reasons as directed by local, state or national health officials, full refunds will be issued, including deposits.


Greater Lansing Camps Moving Online this Summer

Unprecedented times can lead to innovation.

In this case, some camps are choosing to take advantage of modern technology to provide new and unique online camp experiences for their campers.

» Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at MSU

What’s New: Join the MSU Broad online this summer for Sketchbook Club, a remote art program for young artists ages 6–18! We’ve planned art-making adventures this July that children can join no matter where your family happens to be right now.

» The Literacy Ladies

What’s New: Although The Literacy Camp has been canceled for Summer 2020, The Literacy Ladies will be launching a series of online courses FOR PARENTS to support them in creating an environment in their homes where their children learn to love reading at home, as well as support them as they teach their littles at home right now.

» Wharton Center Institute for Arts & Creativity

What’s New: Wharton Center Institute for Arts & Creativity and Take It From The Top have created a brand new virtual educational program allowing students to advance their skills from home. How better to strengthen the core disciplines of singing, acting, and dancing than learning from Broadway professionals?  This summer’s Take It From The Top (TIFTT) virtual session is filled with more Broadway professionals than ever before. Students will hear from teaching artists who know what it takes to make it in the business.


Cancellations for Greater Lansing Summer Camps

Some camps have had to make the very difficult decision to cancel their programs for this summer.

Please note that some camps have canceled sessions during the first part of the summer, but may still run with sessions later in the summer. Others have replaced in-person camps with virtual options. Check back here for updates- we will do our best to keep you informed.

» Camp Lookout: All 2020 Summer Camp sessions are canceled.

» Community Music School (MSU): All in-person CMS summer camps have been canceled. Potential online alternatives are being developed. Stay tuned for more updates and information.

» Fenner Nature Center: All 2020 Summer Camp sessions are canceled. All registered families will be given the option to receive a full refund for Summer 2020 camp programming, or they may choose to generously gift their camp deposits to Fenner Nature Center to help further its mission of conservation, education, and stewardship.

» Harris Nature Center: All 2020 Summer Camp sessions are canceled. All registered participants have been notified that they will receive a full refund either by a credit to their account or a check from Meridian Township.

» High School Engineering Institute Summer Programs (MSU): All 2020 Summer Camp sessions are canceled.

» Lansing Community College Summer Camp: All 2020 Summer Camp sessions are canceled.

» MSU Broad Summer Art Camp: All 2020 Summer Camp sessions are canceled.

» MSU Media Camps: All 2020 Summer Camp sessions are canceled.

» Mystic Lake YMCA Camp: All 2020 Summer Camp sessions are canceled.

» Okemos Special Needs Day Camp: All 2020 Summer Camp sessions are canceled.

» Spartan Youth Programs Summer Camps:Due to COVID-19, no in-person MSU youth programs will be held during Summer 2020. Some, but not all, programs will be held through other methods. Please check with the program contact.

» The Literacy Camp: Camp has been canceled for Summer 2020, but The Literacy Ladies are launching a series of online courses FOR PARENTS to support them in creating an environment in their homes where their children learn to love reading at home, as well as support them as they teach their littles at home right now.

» Wildwood Ranch: All 2020 Summer Camp sessions are canceled.

» Zookambi Summer Camp at Potter Park Zoo: All 2020 Summer Camp sessions are canceled.

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