There’s Something Different About Summer Camp

Climbing, exploring, and crafting galore! Summer Camp may look different than it has in the past, but it’s definitely just as full of fun.
Tailor Dolgin Tailor Dolgin
Seattle Summer Camp Director
August 11, 2020
There’s Something Different About Summer Camp
Annika Grigg social distances with her new slug friend on a gloomy summer camp day

A typical Seattle Summer Camp day at Magnuson Park has always included swimming in the lake, making nature art near the tennis courts, and taking breaks from walking to savor blackberries. This year, however, we spread out in the water, make individual nature art projects, and sanitize our hands thoroughly before and after foraging. Seattle Day Camp, like everything else in our lives, has reorganized to keep campers, counselors, and their loved ones safe and yet the camp traditions and fun remain the same.

THings that have changed

  • Smaller Group Sizes - Day Camp is usually a whole lot of controlled chaos with 65 kiddos and a staff of up to 15 coordinators, counselors, and CITs. This year, we’ve had camps of 8 campers or less and 6 counselors onsite. While we miss seeing our usual number of smiling faces, this low ratio has made our in-person field trips an absolute blast! Not to mention all of the teambuilding activities, games of mafia, and new friends we’ve been able to make.
  • Virtual Learning - Three days a week are happening online! On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays we all sign in to Zoom to sing camp songs and learn camp curriculum. Rather than learning about the 10 Essentials and First Aid at the Program Center, campers are doing at home scavenger hunts for all 10E’s and practicing first aid skills on stuffed animal friends.
Jellyfish.pngCampers and summer staff participate in the jellyfish song on Zoom. Photo by Hannah Tennent. 

  • Masks and Hand Sanitizer - In order to stay safe and have fun, campers have been wearing masks when they come to camp! Although new and different, this has in no way hindered the fun of climbing, crafts, or hanging out with Billy the Goat at camp.

Things that have not changed

  • Billy the Goat - Billy, a local mountain goat and the unofficial mascot of Seattle Summer Camps, has had a great summer eating blackberries on the South Plaza, hanging out in the shade of the Basalt Columns, helping to teach First Aid, and hiding out around the Program Center.
  • Rock Climbing - On field trip days (Tuesdays and Thursdays), campers still have the chance to climb at the Seattle Program Center. Bouldering in the basement has been a big hit this year, as has climbing up to the ledge in Goodman C. New and returning campers have been able to practice their knots, commands, and technique.
DSC_0201.jpgA happy camper climbs in goodman c with a mask on. Photo by chewie Mckracken.

  • The Spirit of Summer Camp - From Leave No Trace charades on Zoom to nature art creation in Magnuson Park and everywhere in between, Mountaineers Summer Camp is still chock full of fun and adventure. Campers and counselors alike have brought positive energy and excitement to an all-together new and unknown summer.

While certainly not the summer we envisioned for ourselves, Summer 2020 has still been full of joy, packed with summer camp fun, and on par with the Mountaineers mission to explore, learn, and conserve. Our dedicated staff and troupe of resilient campers have been able to safely connect with one another and the outdoors from all over Seattle! 

If you're interested in seeing how the camp magic happens, there are still two more weeks of our Virtual Hybrid Summer Camp open for registration! Check out the Virtual Camps Page for more information or email Tailor at We would love to see you there! 

Main image of camper with a slug doing socially-distanced outdoor art and snacking on blackberries. By hayden peck.

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