Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Camp in the Burg: Summer youth programs test out virtual, in-person approaches

The Bethesda Mission Community Center on Herr Street in Harrisburg

School is finally done, now what?

Many Harrisburg summer camps are still planned despite having to adapt in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bethesda Mission’s Community Center in Allison Hill plans to hold camps for all age groups of kids. Beginning June 22, they will launch a program spanning about seven weeks.

“We are looking forward to opening,” Executive Director Scott Dunwoody said.

The program will only take around 25 kids in each age group for safety reasons, and much of the activities will be outdoors, Dunwoody said. Programming for elementary, middle and high school students is included.

Dunwoody explained how the teen group is especially beneficial because it provides internships and job training for young people.

Similarly, the Harrisburg Area YMCA will offer a youth program. However, this year it will look more like summer childcare than summer camp, explained Director of Marketing and Communications Rosie Turner.

“We know parents are going to have to go back to work so we had to provide some type of bridge care,” she said.

The capacity for children will be smaller than usual due to the limited number of schools allowing groups on their properties.

Opting out of the in-person approach Open Stage of Harrisburg announced it will hold virtual summer camps.

The program will run for 10 weeks and include live and pre-recorded instruction on musical theater, acting, theater history, design and tech. There will be two different age groups including 8- to 12-year-olds and 13 and up.

“Things are different this summer, but I think that has given us license to change things up,” Producing Artistic Director Stuart Landon said. “We’ve put together a really cool curriculum.”

Landon added that the course will be low-cost this summer as part of Open Stage’s effort to make their education accessible.

Open Stage has been more hesitant to reopen, but others, like Whitaker Center, are ready to open their doors.

They are offering a range of STEM, culinary and theater classes. Campers’ temperature will be checked at the door each day and all equipment and classrooms will be sanitized after each group’s use, according to a statement on their website.

Bethesda Mission’s Community Center is at 1438 Herr St., Harrisburg. For more information, visit To learn more about the Harrisburg Area YMCA’s summer childcare, visit For more information on Open Stage’s Alsedek Theatre School, visit Whitaker Center is located at 222 Market St., Harrisburg. For more information or to register for camp, visit


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