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Summer camp industry could be in jeopardy because of coronavirus, COVID-19

In just a few months campers from across the world are expected to come to Maine for the lake and bonfires, but because of COVID-19 that may not be the case.

MAINE, USA — It may be hard to believe with fresh snow on the ground, but summer is just a few months away, and springtime is when many of Maine's summer camps recruit counselors and staff.

That kind of hiring is hard enough on its own, and tougher still when we are dealing with all the uncertainty around the spread of COVID-19.

"Recruitment, in general, is always going to be a challenge, you're always going to get hit with roadblocks," Faith Mishkin said. Mishkin is a camper turned counselor at Camp to Belong in Belgrade.

The camp brings together foster siblings for a week every year.

RELATED: Siblings separated by foster care get a week together at summer camp

Mishkin went camping for seven years and got to know her older brother.

"I never expected a camp to make such a big impact on my life," Mishkin added.

Now she's a counselor so she can give other kids the same opportunity she had.

Adrian Phair helps run Camp to Belong. She said her team is still hopeful camp will still happen this summer because it's not scheduled until late August.

Now is when she is working on rounding up volunteers.

"It will be really important to get staff and those volunteers committed to that time because that will base the amount of children, the amount of siblings that can come to camp," she said.

While some camps are full speed ahead in the planning process, others have already announced they won't be inviting campers to Maine this year.

Seeds of Peace in Otisfield made this announcement on Thursday. Josh Thomas, interim executive director of the camp told the Lewiston Sun Journal, “We know many people will be disappointed,” he said, but “pulling together camp under normal circumstances is complicated” and “with so much uncertainty around the global health and travel situation, we simply cannot anticipate or prepare for all the potential risks that we might face this summer, from sickness at camp to travel disruptions.” 

The summer camp industry brings in about $6.5 million dollars a year, 

Catriona Logan Sangster, President of the Board of Maine Summer Camps told 207's Peggy Keyser last summer.

"Money that's spent on lodging and restaurants and activities that people are taking advantage of while they are here in Maine," she said.

RELATED: Summer camps are a big industry in Maine

At NEWS CENTER Maine, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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