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Parents lose money, options on summer camps for kids

Many families usually have summer camps planned out by now, but COVID-19 creates uncertainty.

DENVER — After weeks of staying home, Delanie Holton-Fessler is hopeful that summer camp can offer an alternative for her two boys.

"They usually go to three different sleep-away camps every summer and then do a variety of camps around the city and it's so unknown right now," Holton-Fessler said.

She said camps can be a refuge or a daycare option for kids during typical summers when parents have to work. As the calendar approaches April, she said many parents like her have already put money down.

"There's some that we hadn't paid for yet, some that we have deposits down on," Holton-Fessler said.

Yet, Holton-Fessler said she has no idea if any camps at all will be up and running by June.

"It's really stressful and I know, you know, we like to lock in our summers in January and know what's gonna happen," Holton-Fessler said.

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The Girl Scouts of Colorado already knows. It canceled overnight camps.

"The decision to cancel all our summer camp programs was extremely difficult and heartbreaking for us," Lindsay Standish, Girl Scouts of Colorado Chief Outdoor Program and Risk Management Officer, said. "The girls look forward to this all year long. They work hard selling cookies to help pay to go to camp."

But, Standish said the basic essence of their camp makes it practically impossible during COVID-19.

"Being able to go boating or go to the dining hall together, work on team building," Standish said. "A lot of it requires close proximity."

Still, she said the Girl Scouts have not given up.

"We're working on great contingency plans of how we can still serve girls," Standish said.

Holton-Fessler said some families worry about using Flex Spending money saved up for summer camps.

"If they don't use it, sometimes they lose it and so it's really a tricky balance of trying to figure out like where those dollars need to go," Holton-Fessler said.

It's as tricky of figuring out where the kids will go if there are no camps.

"I can understand for families that have the flexibility within their current employment, it can be really, really scary right now," Holton-Fessler said.

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