OK Campers!

(guest perspective contributed Alana Hearn). Well, it’s that time of the year again – when well-meaning parents arm themselves with spreadsheets and set their alarms: in an attempt to get their children enrolled in a local Aquidneck Island camp or two!

Good luck parents.  More challenging than securing tickets to a T.Swift concert,

if your trigger finger isn’t flexed and ready, you’ve lost your spot – oftentimes within 3 minutes of an online enrollment opening up.  

It is wildly frustrating for those of us who live locally to find ourselves competing with “transient campers” from out-of-town whose aggressive pursuit of these spots to align with their vacation-weeks mean that we are missing out on opportunities for our own children by mere seconds.

Jamestown camps have a far better system: allowing local residents an opportunity to sign up for camp in advance of those who live off-island.  Jamestown goes so far as to allow residents weeks in advance of other families.  Most of the frustrated parents on Aquidneck island would be happy with a 15-minute advance!  

What I’m suggesting isn’t “tribal.”  Rather, for those of us who live on this island full-time, who attend the local schools, who support the community and contribute locally year-round – and later who endure a home-town inundated by tourists and traffic – is it too much to ask that our children be given a fighting chance at participating in their local summer camps and activities?

Not one of the camp programs on the island currently allow for that – and by doing so, I think they do a disservice to the children of Aquidneck Island.

If you are a parent who shares in this frustration, please share this letter with your local camp director and with the board of their organization.  Maybe we’ll be lucky enough to get into a camp in 2024!

If you’re interested in this topic and want to join the conversation you can reach out to Alana Hearn through iNvolve Newport at info@involvenewport.org

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