Survey Reveals How St. Louis Families Feel About Summer Camp & COVID-19

May 20, 2020 | Latest News

Key Findings from the Blueprint4Summer Family Survey

To hear what local families want and need from a summer camp this year during COVID-19, Blueprint4Summer surveyed families across the St. Louis region with children ages 3 to 18-years-old. 558 citizens across Missouri and Illinois responded, and the results are in. 

Download the full survey report HERE.

See an infographic of highlights HERE.

Keep reading to learn how these survey findings help answer some big questions about 2020 summer camps in the St. Louis area.

Are St. Louis Regional Families Still Considering In-Person Summer Camps?

If the stay-at-home order is lifted, 50% of respondents said they would consider attending summer camp in-person. 10% said they would not be considering in-person summer camp in 2020. 40% said they were undecided, citing safety as their main source of uncertainty. 

What Can In-Person Camp Programs Do to Create a Safe Environment?

The top-requested safety measures include access to and emphasis on the importance of hand washing, access to hand sanitizer and wipes, reducing the size of the class or groups that meet at a time, and checking the temperature of the campers and staff members on a daily basis.

These demands fall in line with the CDC’s recently published guidelines for youth programs and camps during the COVID-19 pandemic. On May 18, 2020, the American Camp Association (ACA) and YMCA of the USA also released a “Field Guide for Camps on Implementation of CDC Guidance,” which provides a blueprint of specific CDC-compliant processes for camps to follow during COVID. 

How Do St. Louis Families Feel About Virtual Summer Camps?

95% of survey takers report that their families have been navigating school work online during COVID-19, and most find it challenging.

When asked about the possibilities of virtual or online summer camp, 30% of survey takers said they would be interested in such a program. 55% of those families interested in virtual camps have children who previously attended a summer camp program before. Overall interest in virtual programming is lower among families in South County and West County compared with other areas of the St. Louis region.

The most popular topics for virtual or online summer camp are STEM and Arts programs. Interest in academic camp programs is also up this year among both virtual and in-person camp options.

What Do St. Louis Families Want and Need from a Virtual Summer Camp?

Surveyed families expressed that price point, program features, and supplemental material requirements might impact their decisions about virtual camps.

81% of survey takers with interest in virtual camp report that they can safely travel to pick up supplemental materials curb-side, whereas 32% need materials to be delivered to their homes.

Families interested in attending virtual camps prefer it to be in 3-4 hour blocks, and to have programs that could be completed any time, such as pre-recorded lessons. These “any time” programs are ranked more highly with families who are undecided about attending virtual camp. 

Other top-ranked virtual camp features include interaction with other children, minimal required supervision, and programs that can be self-directed.

As for price point, survey responses show that families expect virtual camps to cost less than in-person programs. The average fee families are willing to pay for a virtual camp is $40 per child. 

Who Responded to the Survey of St. Louis Regional Parents & Families?

With any survey, it is important to review who responded and consider any possible limitations. There were 558 responses across Missouri and Illinois, encompassing 80 zip codes:

  • 93 responses in North St. Louis County
  • 28 in North St. Louis City
  • 137 in South St. Louis City
  • 59 in South St. Louis County
  • 188 in West St. Louis County
  • 35 in St. Charles County
  • 6 in Jefferson County
  • 12 in Illinois

While 559 respondents filled out the survey, 558 were included in the analysis due to when the responses were received. 80% of responding families had one or more children who had attended camp before.

The survey was in the English language and provided online. Secure internet access and a device with internet capabilities were required in order to participate in the survey. This is especially true as local schools and libraries are closed at this time.

How Can You Help?

Over half of the survey respondents, 65% to be exact, had not heard of or utilized Blueprint4Summer resources before. This means there are likely many families across the St. Louis region who still have many questions about summer and how COVID-19 will impact youth programs. Be sure to share these survey results with your friends and family on social media to help spread the news!

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