Cradle Beach Camp looks for guidance from the state, hopes to bring kids back overnight this summer

Local News

ANGOLA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Kids will head back to camp this summer and many of those camps are now preparing for their return, despite no guidance from the state yet.

One of those camps preparing is Cradle Beach.

Along Lake Erie in Angola, the sound of waves crashing onto the sand drowns out the deafening silence on the 66 acres of land.

“The children who come to Cradle Beach Camp come with the hopes of an adventure; to be able to be themselves,” Nancy Grimes said, the operations manager at Cradle Beach.

For more than 130 years, Cradle Beach has welcomed kids, with a focus on those with special needs and children who are underserved. In the last year though, the place has been empty. And many of those children have struggled greatly.

“The children with special needs struggle with the educational piece through Zoom and the underserved children are struggling with having that communication and that interaction with other children,” Grimes said, “which is what we’re hoping to bring back.”

Nancy Grimes said they’re hoping state leaders give them guidance soon. Right now, they’re prepared for 50 percent capacity, which would allow about 350 kids there this summer. Six sessions are planned from the end of June until the end of August. And Grimes hopes the state allows kids to stay 7 to 10 days in a row, overnight.

At the camp, there are inclusive playgrounds, a computer lab with 3D printers, a pool, a fully-accessible treehouse that overlooks the water, games, sensory areas and more. It’s an area for the kids to let go of the stress from the past 14 months and where they can be kids yet again.

“(It would be) huge … huge,” Grimes said. “We have pushed and pressed and all put on multiple hats to make sure we are ready to go for the summer. You can’t take that sound out of anyone’s head … that first giggle, that first laugh it makes you just do what you do even more.”

The camp has a high ratio of counselors to kids, and nurses are on staff at all times. Right now, leaders are looking for counselors, lifeguards and more nurses who want to work this summer. If you’re interested in applying, click here.

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