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Summer camps opt out of season, too many restrictions

After being stuck at home for so many weeks, a lot of kids were probably looking forward to summer camp more than usual this year.

CRESCO, Pa. — The stormy weather matched the mood on Wednesday at Pocono Plateau Camp and Retreat Center near Canadensis.

The cabins at this year-round camp are empty and will remain that way throughout the summer because of the coronavirus.

"For the campers that would come, for those who have been here before, it would not look like a camp at all," said camp director Reverend Ronald Schane.

The CDC, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and the American Camp Association all recently came out with guidelines for summer camps.

So Pocono Plateau could open up for the summer, but Rev. Schane says, with all of the restrictions, it just wouldn't be worth it.

Even though Monroe County may very well move into the "green phase" of the state's reopening plan by the time summer officially rolls around, the campers would still have to abide by strict social distancing guidelines.

"So the trauma or the stress we'd be presenting to campers of 'now you've got to wear a mask again, that you didn't wear for the last several weeks,' and 'you can't be next to your best bud that was here last year because he's in a different group,'" said Rev. Schane.

Newswatch 16 called around to a few other summer camps in the Poconos, all of which told us they, too, would stay closed for the summer.

Pocono Plateau does offer programs year-round. It's unclear what it will look like in the fall.

While it looks like no one will be doing the traditional summer camp activities any time soon, the camp is just looking forward to summer 2021.

"It's actually going to be our 75th anniversary. So we're looking to do some special things next year and just have summer camp once again like we know how to do it," said Rev. Schane.

Pocono Plateau will offer free virtual programs over the course of the summer, to remind the kids that their favorite camp is still here, waiting for them to come back.