JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — It is that time of year when summer camps are in full swing all across the Tri-Cities region. But, it does not come without challenges as existing labor shortages continue to stretch into the summer months.
“This year has been an extreme challenge,” said Robin Crumley, president of the Johnson City-Washington County Boys and Girls Club.
Crumley says numbers are picking back up following pandemic lag, especially for teens and older children.
“Lots of phone calls this year. People are finally starting to come back,” said Crumley.
But while those numbers tick back up, the numbers of staff members are not reflecting the same trend.
The Boys and Girls Club still needs to hire two to four more full-time positions for the summer.
Crumley says they would like to open more classes for kids, but simply don’t have the staff.
“If we did we would open the doors up and take a look at that waiting list,” said Crumley.
Around 125 to 150 kids are registered now for their 8-week Back to the Future themed camp.
For Johnson City Parks and Recreation, they are also seeing an uptick in numbers this summer with Jump Start camp spots filling immediately.
Staffing challenges have not hit them quite as hard as others, which they are grateful for.
“We struggled at first, we were a little nervous if we going to get enough staff to offer camps to the number of kids we would like to,” said April Norris, assistant director of Johnson City Parks and Rec. “We have fully staffed all of our camps, we are very fortunate in that manner.”
They are always in need of more lifeguards to help keep the city’s pools well staffed.
“As many lifeguards as we can get on board, the better we are,” Norris said.
When it comes to camps, it is all about fun. However, Crumley says there is a lot of benefit to kids, especially following the pandemic.
“We do know the last two years have put our kids behind socially. So what a great benefit to come and interact with other kids around their same age and get that bonding time in,” said Crumley.
She urges those who like working with kids and who need a job now to apply.
“You get more out of it than you will ever give. Whether that is making a difference to one child or a whole group of children,” said Crumley.
For more information on the Boys and Girls Club camps and for information on how to apply for jobs, click this link.