The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world entirely. Across the globe, we saw people take initiative and ensure the safety of others with the use of masks, social distancing, and other protocols when the pandemic was still young. However, as time had passed and quarantine mandates began to lighten, there was a call to action for a safer sense of normalcy. Armonk, just like the rest of the world, faced the pandemic head on. Restaurants were only dining out, stores had limited space for consumers, and (almost) everyone wore masks. In a time of uncertainty, our town managed to come together and place the health and well-being of Armonkians above all else.
In particular, the extraordinary initiatives put in place by places like the Byram Hills School District (which has been reported on here in a previous issue), and at Breezemont Day Camp (the focus of this article) were perfect examples of how any institution could take strides to help manage in a pandemic, even thrive, and help others thrive. In the fall of 2020, the pandemic was at one of its many peaks.
With more people falling ill, there was a push for things to return as they once were…
Schools began to teach in person again, but the risk of exposure was high. As a way of making ends meet, Breezemont set up up day care for children of teachers within our district! Within this facility, there were rooms students could take online classes, a playground for recess, and various other utilities that allowed these children to have a good time even if the world felt bleak. Although it might not seem like much, this opportunity allowed for those children to return to a sense of normalcy for the time being. Amongst the chaos of this pandemic, it was a trying time to be alive. Though options were slim and everyone had been waiting for a vaccination, these children could experience somewhat of a regular classroom experience. Within the nurturing walls of Breezemont, these children grew, experienced a once and a lifetime pandemic, and made friends with others they wouldn’t have met otherwise.
Working amongst these children during this time was extremely valuable, personally. Seeing how the pandemic had affected people from ages 10 to 12 allowed me to step back and look at this pandemic from a different perspective. Most notably, I saw how their relationships developed with one another; most of them came into this program not knowing the other kids who were involved. Some had siblings, but others didn’t. Watching them adapt to their environment and create friendships with strangers was not only endearing to watch, but provided an escape from the daily dread that resulted from the pandemic.
I remember when I was working with one of the children, it had been their first day, and it was scary. Being placed in an environment where you know no one can be intimidating, so being able to provide a sense of comfort to those kids made it all worthwhile.
As a community, Armonk came together and that type of unity is what got us through the pandemic. Without each other, who knows what would have happened.