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Local mom creates ‘co-op camp’ for neighborhood kids

Six Marietta families are running a summer camp program within their neighborhood.

EAST COBB, Ga. — Andrea Stover of Marietta thought everything was squared away for her children this summer, but once the novel coronavirus showed up in Georgia, everything changed.

“I was the one that was like ‘oh my God, every camp we signed up for got canceled for the summer,’ and I was having that panic of like ‘holy cow, what am I going to do with my three kids all summer? This is like nuts.’ We had travel plans, and it all was canceled,” Stover said. “I actually sent an email out and I said ‘this is what I think. Who's onboard?’ It was basically ‘let's do a camp co-op. Co-op Camp Edgemere,’ because we live in Edgemere.”

It’s a simple concept. The parents take turns being the “camp counselor” and the kids, ranging in age from 5 to 12, enjoy time together. In addition to the Stovers, five other families (for a grand total of 10 kids) agreed to participate, and they started formulating ideas.

Credit: Andrea Stover

“We kind of all agreed that when it's your day it's not just ‘oh, I brought some board games.’ You actually have to take it seriously and provide something fun, because you get it in return. It's a co-op, it's reciprocal,” Stover said. “We've done tie dying, we've done hydro dipping, we have done geo rock candy, making ice cream, playing gladiator games, scavenger hunts, pretty cool activities. The kids are super excited about the activities.”

She said they usually offer the camp every other day of the week, with the exception of weekends when the families do their own thing. As a mother of three, Stover said, this has helped her survive the summer.

Credit: Andrea Stover

“So basically I do one day, and in return I get five days of free daycare,” she said. “So it's a huge win for all of us.”

As for the risk of COVID-19, Stover said it’s the same group of people each time, so they’re not really worried.

“The kids just have to have interaction with other children, so we call it the bubble,” she said. “Our bubble of people we play with has just been our neighborhood, so we felt safe-ish that we weren't introducing new people into the mix of germs if you will. The kids were already playing with each other. What's the difference now if one person is babysitting versus... you know, I can now run to Costco. It's just a lot easier when you know one person has got it that day, and I can make a personal appointment for a doctor or whatever on that day.”

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