WINDSOR, ONT. -- Kawanis camp was silenced last year because of the pandemic but is full of life after reopening last weekend.

“It was a lot of work to open up when you're closed for a year and a half,” said camp fundraising chair Dan Invararity. 

Kawanis has two cohorts running this week for a total of 40 campers. Invararity says the camp is expanding to three cohorts and 60 people next week.

Unfortunately, camp started late this summer which created a backlog.

“We already have kids we’ve had to turn down which we’ve never had to do before,” he said.

The timeless experience has been altered to accommodate public health guidance.

“We have to be ready for anything so we have so many mitigation techniques we've put in place with the cohorting of our campers, cohorting of our staff to do everything we can to deliver as much of a high camp experience as we normally do,” said Angelo Ciardella, the camp’s first responder.

He says staff and campers are actively screened daily. Temperature check are done regularly.

High touch surfaces like door knobs, playgrounds and bathrooms are being disinfected to keep campers safe.

There are 11 campers and one councilor per cabin. Two Cabins make up a Cohort that stays together for the duration of the camp, no mask required. 

“I got to know a lot of people a lot better than I think I would have if I got to go with other people all the time,” said first time camper Blain Dutot.

Campers are not required to wear masks all the time but do have to wear them when they are interacting in an activity with the other cohort.

Camp counselor Ugo Madu says the camp modifications have taken some getting to.

“Our evening programs and rotations are a little different now because of the restrictions,” Madu says. “We have to social distance when we're with the other cohorts as well as wear a mask when we're having dinner when you're standing up.”

Ciardella chuckled when asked if he and other staff members sometime feel like rule enforcers.

“It's not much unlike other summers where we have to constantly monitor the children. It's just in a different light now,” he said.

With a COVID safety first mentality, camps might be seen in a different light this year, but at least that light isn't coming from a screen.

“All I want is just to have fun,” said first time camper Adalynn Russell who is not miffed by the camp guidelines.