Meet Steve, Owner of Camp Playland! - Westport Moms

How old are your kids, and how long have you lived in the area? We have one son, Albie, who is 11 months old.  I grew up in New Canaan, and we moved back to Fairfield County in 2011.

For many years Playland has been one of the most respected camps in this area, and so much of that is because of you – and your family! Can you share a little bit about your relationship to Playland, and what you love most about being the director? Camp Playland was started by my grandparents in 1957.  I grew up in a house in the middle of the camp property – my parents still live there – so camp was my whole life as a kid.  I knew from a young age that I wanted to go into the family business.  I am most proud of our strong sense of community and the relationships we form with campers, parents, counselors and alums.  We have 3rd generation campers, which is amazing!

Obviously, camp this summer is one of the more complicated things because of Covid. Can you share a bit about Playland’s decision to run its modified program, and how you feel about the upcoming summer? We are ready to start camp on June 29th!  It was not an easy decision to operate, but we know how important it is for children to socialize, play and have fun this summer.  Our program is 100% outdoors.  We are going to keep campers and staff as safe as possible with small groups, temperature checks, lots of hand washing and sanitizing and many other protocols.

How has the Fairfield County community responded to your decision to open, and your role in providing a safe place for these kids? The community has been very supportive.  This is as difficult a decision for parents as it is for camp directors.  There definitely is a “we are all in this together” sentiment.

What has been your biggest challenge as a Camp Director – be it related to this summer – or otherwise? And what has been a favorite memory or experience? The challenges are what makes this job so much fun – there is always something new and unexpected.  As a small business owner I get to wear many hats every day: educator, accountant, sales person, marketer, human resources, property management and more!  There are too many favorite memories so I’ll just say: happy campers are what it’s all about!

What have you enjoyed most about being in quarantine with your family? Being able to spend this time with Albie and my wife, Hayley, has been so special.  There are so many “firsts” in Albie’s life that I may have missed, but now will never forget!

What has been the most unexpected or surprising part of all of this? Do you think life will ever return to “normal?” One of the silver linings is that I have become very close with other camp leaders in Fairfield County and around the country, who are making similar decisions.  I know these relationships will carry over into normal times – YES, I am hopeful we will return to normal eventually!

If you had 24 hours to do whatever you wanted in a post Covid world, what would you do? Lots of hugging!  I’m ready for more family and friends to get to know Albie!

Note: While Camp Playland is NOT enrolling new campers at this time, they do have a waitlist, and are of course already looking forward to Summer 2021! Click here for more info about this very special place!

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