Tennessee summer camps still deciding to continue or cancel as Gov. Lee gives new guidelines

Reopening The Region

HAMPTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – Cobwebs on the drinking fountains, that’s all that needs to be seen.

“How can we keep kids save in this period of COVID-19,” Doe River Gorge founder and president Terry Maughon said.

Now is the time summer camps should start gearing up for fun.

“Camp is an amazing experience that can only be realized if you’ve been there,” Maughon said.

But fun is hard to come by these days.

“Diminished participation numbers and smaller staffs and having to meet CDC guidelines are issues,” Girls Scouts of the Southern Appalachians director of programming Paula Irwin said.

In Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s newest executive order, summer camps are allowed to be held this summer as long as they follow social distancing guidelines.

“We were glad to finally get them because we’ve been in limbo wondering legally if we can operate camps this summer,” Maughon said.

Doe River Gorge Camp in Carter County is thrilled with the announcement, but is still deciding if they should run camp this summer.

“We love to see all those things happen that’s what we live for but safety of kids in all the activities is our first concern,” Maughon said.

Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians already made the difficult decision in early May to cancel all activities, including Camp Tanasi. Despite these new guidelines, their decision still stands.

“Not only is it heartbreaking for us because we put a lot of heart and effort into it but we have staff that want to work for us we have girls that have been camping with us for years,” Irwin said.

Some camps, like Davy Crockett Camp in Hawkins County have the green light. It’s a difficult decision for every camp to have to make.

“For the last 25 years Doe River Gorge in the summer has been filled with kids, you know, just a lot of laughter a lot of fun lot of life changes and we wanna see that happen but yet we don’t want to put them in an environment where we can’t guarantee their safety,” Maughon said.

You can find Michael Epps on Facebook and Twitter.

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