HUNTSVILLE, Ark. — Summer is almost here, and that means many kids will be headed off to summer camp, many for the first time since the pandemic started.
However, one organization in Arkansas may be forced to turn kids away if they can’t find enough people to work.
Since 1967, Camp NOARK in Huntsville, Arkansas has been the summer wilderness home to hundreds of Girl Scouts. This summer though, the number of campers may be a lot less than in years past.
Sarah Hyndman, Program Director for Girl Scouts Diamonds of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas said the camp is facing a “critical shortage” of camp staff.
“Last summer, like most summer camps, we had to cancel summer camp, so we have been looking forward to this summer and our girls have been waiting. Registration filled up within a couple of days,” Hyndman said, “Like most camps across the United States, we are struggling to hire staff this summer,” Hyndman said.
If they are not fully staffed by Friday, May 28, they will be forced to cut attendance by 40 percent, canceling summer plans for dozens of young girls.
“Heartbreaking. Just heartbreaking. As a camper, as a counselor,” Hyndman said.
She explained that they are in critical need of seven camp counselors; they are looking for women, 18 and older, to watch eight campers each for one to two weeks.
“In particular, people with education and youth development experience, this is a chance to really grow your resume, to branch out those skills in a different environment, to sort of add to your skillset,” Hyndman said.
She is hopeful they can get the staff they need to give young girls the summer they deserve.
“They need camp this summer more than they have ever needed camp and we are ready to provide that for them,” Hyndman said, “We’ve got the program, we’ve got the horses, we’ve got the pool, we’ve got everything set and ready, we just need a few more people to come and help us out this summer.”
All camp staff must be employed this Friday. If they are not able to make the hires, they’ll let affected registered campers know on Tuesday, June 1st.