It’s summer vacation for most kids, which means it’s time to go to summer camp.
But staff shortages have forced several northern Michigan camps to close their doors to campers this year.
Monday was supposed to be the first day of welcoming campers to Rose Lake Youth Camp, but that didn’t happen. However, they are determined to turn the tide.
“This camp has been around for almost 70 years. Next year will be our 70th anniversary for the camp, and we don’t want to see it go away,” said Shelby Rude, Camp Director of Rose Lake Youth Camp.
This is the first year that Rose Lake Youth Camp has had to cancel weeks of camp due to staffing shortages.
“We were heartbroken. We didn’t know what to do. I mean, for how much we pushed and everything. It was our last resort. And it all came down to that,” Rude said.
The camp is struggling to fill vacancies, especially camp counsellors.
“For the past few years, applications have been received from March to mid-July. I’m even struggling to find people to apply now,” Rude said. “We’ve tried everything from Facebook to jobs indeed. We contacted all the colleges in the area to see if they could post our applications. “
All that hard work paid off. They now have enough advisers to open at the end of June.
“We have seen an increase in applications from children from areas where camps are closed. I know they want to have this experience,” said Rose Lake Youth Camp board member Jenna Saylor.
But with the number of employees they have now, they are able to manage. They still have several positions open.
“Kids talk about camp for the rest of their lives. I still remember my camp counselors and still admire them. They are like mentors,” Saylor said.
“It has always been a passion for me to work with children. I love watching them grow into all the ideas that come out of their mouths that you never thought would come from a kid. But and they’re so proud of it too,” Rude said.
Rose Lake Youth Camp has also been nominated for a grant, but they need votes. Information on how to vote.