Back in February, schools in MA were starting to face the reality of COVID. Brewster Day Camp operates at The Family Schools (Brewster, MA) and is part of the same parent organization. Because of this structure, Dan Michel, Director of Brewster Day Camp, and the whole camp team had an early insight into the obstacles and considerations COVID-19 might present for camps in the coming months.
The BDC team began looking ahead to the summer. Ultimately, given the geographically diverse makeup of the campers and staff and the additional logistical hurdles of meeting all the state’s guidance, BDC decided to suspend normal operations for the 2020 camp season.
Michel said, “Our mission is ‘To Support Children and Families with Courage, Hope, Good Spirit & Peace’. And so our team immediately began brainstorming ways to continue to serve that mission even though camp wasn’t operating as normal.” That meant not only figuring out a way to serve the campers and families they normally work with, but the team also was looking for an avenue to provide opportunities for their staff.
Being a day camp, many BDC campers and staff are local. The only thing missing was camp operating to connect them everyday. That didn’t change the need for families to have reliable childcare from a trusted source. Staff too were left with a gap in their summer where camp used to live.
Dan and his team saw this as an opportunity, “We had families with a need and access to people who could help fulfill that need.” Thus, Brewster Day Camp launched a new initiative. They’re connecting BDC families in need of childcare with available BDC staff this summer through a dedicated Summer 2020 Childcare List.
Michel reached out to counselors who fit four specific criteria to see if they’d be interested in taking part in this program. Counselors must have successfully completed BDC’s hiring process and training program. They must have completed a prior contractual agreement with BDC in good standing and must be eligible for rehire in the same position or promotion with BDC.
Families interested in connecting with staff from BDC on this list sign an agreement. The families understand that this isn’t direct, childcare service BDC is providing, but rather a connection to trusted BDC contacts. Once a family signs the agreement, they receive a list of BDC staff who’ve elected to participate. The list includes a headshot, contact information and some basic biographical information on each person to ensure they’re reaching out to folks who look like a good fit.
With the list in hand, families can reach out to BDC staff and arrange childcare independent of whether BDC is operating at the moment or not. Staff are free to elect where and when they will take these opportunities.
While still in the nascent stages, it’s innovative ideas like BDC’s Childcare Service Agreement that will help some families on Cape Cod stay connected with camp while also providing the childcare that so many families need.
When asked if this is a one-time special service this summer or something that will continue, Michel said, “I could certainly see us continuing this program. It’s an overall value-add for the camp, the counselor and the families we serve.”
If you have questions about BDC’s program or are interested in starting a similar program and want to hear more about how BDC got up and running, Dan at Brewster Day Camp is happy to connect, firstname.lastname@example.org.