Adapting and revamping our jobs to meet Covid-19 guidelines in our School Age Program was a little daunting at first and felt difficult, but after spending some time getting our feet under us, the changes were ok and we got into a good groove with them. We realized well into this pandemic that we were so strong together, and could weather anything that could come our way in the future.  Realizing after months that we did not know what the future could be like usually caused stress.  After some time, our program learned not to worry about what can come, and we took the changes moment by moment and made them work the best for families and theirs kids. Another challenge that we did not foresee was re-socializing. Everyone, including both youth and adults, had to remember how to appropriately respond to conflict, how to make friends, even how to share, and play games together. There was a lot of re-learning how to create and nurture friendships.

The changes we developed and put into practice over 2021 helped Camp Fire get youth back into programs, feed them and some of their families, help them learn virtually when that was required, and supported families who needed to be working.  We were brought new staff that were committed to helping youth who needed a safe place to land. We also implemented a lot of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) into Camp Fire Alaska’s Activity Curriculum. Teaching SEL to youth at a young age gives them the skills necessary to navigate through school, working life, and beyond.

In 2022, we are hoping to gain more staff to re-open more programs.  We will soon be almost at our halfway point of re-opening sites that have shuttered since March of 2020.  It is beyond exciting to go back to a closed site, clean it, reset it, and have kids walk in the door ready to go back to Camp Fire program. We are also looking forward to strengthening the relationships and collaboration we have with the Anchorage School District.  The principals and Administration have been such a support for us over the last two years.