It’s summer vacation for most kids, meaning it’s time to go to summer camp.
But staffing shortages have forced several camps in Northern Michigan to close their doors to campers this year.
Monday was supposed to be Rose Lake Youth Camp’s first day of welcoming campers, but that’s not happening. However, they are determined to turn it around.
“This camp has been here for almost 70 years. Next year will be our 70th anniversary for the camp, and we don’t want to see it go,” said Shelby Rude, Camp Director of Rose Lake Youth Camp.
This is the first year Rose Lake Youth Camp has ever had to cancel weeks of camp because they’re short-staffed.
“We were heartbroken. We didn’t know what to do. I mean, for how much we’ve been pushing and everything. That was our last resort. And it came down to it,” said Rude.
The camp has been struggling to fill open positions, especially camp counselors.
“Years past, there have been applications coming in all the way from March until mid-July. I’m struggling even to find people to apply now,” said Rude. “We’ve tried everything from Facebook to indeed jobs. We’ve reached out to every single college in the area to see if they can post our applications. “
All that work has paid off. They now have enough counselors to open at the end of June.
“We have seen an increase in applications from kids from areas where camps are closed. I know they want to have that experience,” said Jenna Saylor, Board Member at Rose Lake Youth Camp.
But with the number of staff they have now, they are able to just get by
“Kids talk about camp for the rest of their life. I still remember my camp counselors, and I still look up to them. They’re like mentors,” said Saylor.
“It’s always been a passion of mine to work with kids. I love seeing them grow in just all the ideas that come out of their mouths that you would never think would come from a kid. But and they’re so proud of it too,” said Rude.
Rose Lake Youth Camp was also nominated for a grant, but they need votes.