(KERO) — Kids are ready to go back to camp this summer. Many camps are even reporting higher enrollment rates than in 2019 according to a survey from the American Camp Association. But staffing issues are creating a roadblock to accommodating that.
"You know, one of the challenges this summer is just the there's a seasonal employment shortage for a lot of seasonal businesses restaurants, but also the summer camps," explained Tom Rosenberg, president, and CEO of the American Camp Association.
A big part of the issue is the lack of applications from American college students. Many had their academic year disrupted and maybe using the summer to play catch up.
College students from other countries not being able to get here is also contributing to the shortage. Work and travel programs account for about 25,000 camp counselors and 5 to 6,000 other camp employees. But these students provide more than just their services.
"They’re coming over to bring their cultural identity and lend it to the camp program and kids learn about other countries through these first first-person cultural exchange programs are really powerful," said Rosenberg.
J-1 Visas are now being accepted again but the United States still has a travel ban on 33 countries. And for those that don’t have a ban, there’s been a big delay in getting a required in-person interview at the U.S. embassy.
Because of delays and travel bans, some camps are reporting they may have to roll back on operations or cancel them altogether. The ACA is encouraging anyone looking for a job this summer to consider camp so this doesn't happen.