National nursing shortage could close local summer camp

Maryland

SHARPSBURG, Md. (WDVM) — A summer camp in Sharpsburg, Maryland might not be able to open its doors this summer due to the shortage of healthcare workers, an unfortunate trend seen across the country as the pandemic continues.

Usually, there are campers running around the cabins of Shepherd’s Spring Summer Camp, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they have sat empty for over a year. But now, the camp could face the same reality this year without a crucial staff member.

Camp Director Shepherd’s Spring Summer Camp Zane Garrett explained the camp is actively looking for a nurse to assist the camp during their 7 one week sessions.

“According to the state of Maryland we have to have an RN (registered nurse) on-site for our summer camp session,” Garrett explained. “We have seven weeks of camp lined up, and one nurse who’s interested in doing one week, currently.”

Shepherd’s Spring Outdoor Ministry Center runs a day camp as well as an overnight camp and they want to give as many children that experience as possible, especially those who wouldn’t normally be able to afford a week at camp. They are trying to do so with an initiative that starts with a bag of coffee.

Bruce Anderson, Executive Director of Shepherd’s Spring Outdoor Ministry Center, explained the ministry program sells fairtrade coffee to provide underprivileged children the opportunity to enjoy a week at Shepherd’s Spring.

“Coffee with a Cause is an idea that we came up with last year when we opened up camp to kids and working with some of the groups in downtown Hagerstown,” Anderson said. “We came up with the idea of selling fairtrade coffee for what was really outrageous prices, $20 for a pound of coffee. But all of that money was going to help send these kids to camp, kids who would otherwise never be able to go.”

Garrett also attended Shepherd’s Spring Summer Camp and also served as a counselor before taking on the role of camp director. Garrett explained does not want to let his campers down again after the pandemic did not allow campers to return to the Sharpsburg cabins last summer.

“I really know the hope and the joy that camp brings,” Garrett said. “If we don’t find a nurse or nurses for this summer, it’s going to have to be sending an email canceling camp to all of those parents, and just knowing what all those campers are going to feel.”

Shepherd’s Spring Summer Camp normally runs for 7 weeks with the first session starting on June 20th, however without a nurse on-site, they will not be able to welcome campers back for the second consecutive summer.

To apply for the position of camp nurse or for more information on the position, please call Shepherd’s Spring Outdoor Ministry Center at (301) 223-8193.

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