Camp Quarantine? YMCA Provides a Safe, Relaxing Place for First Responders to Isolate

A smile’s worth a thousand words–even with safety protocols in place, campers had a blast this summer! (Photo via YMCA of Greater Birmingham)

For almost a century, YMCA of Greater Birmingham’s Camp Cosby has defined summer for children across Central Alabama and beyond. Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, summer camp was successfully held again this year – with scaled-down participation, numerous adjustments to activities and all necessary safety protocols in place. And although the traditional experience may have been slightly impacted, many kids still remarked that this year’s camp made for the best summer of their lives!

That’s testament to a great organization and one that took all the necessary steps and precautions to create a fun, safe and healthy environment for growing children in the most challenging of times. But that’s not the end of the story for Camp Cosby this year. Now, in conjunction with the Jefferson County Unified Command, the YMCA is putting the camp to use in support of frontline workers affected by COVID-19. Camp Cosby is being offered to these heroes as a secure, restorative place to quarantine.

Day after day, Emergency Medical Services workers and other essential first responders risk exposure to the coronavirus in support of our community. Exposure to the virus is worrying enough in and of itself, but it’s especially trepidatious for people who live with family or roommates. If one person in a household is infected and needs to quarantine, where is he or she supposed to go? How do they prevent spreading the disease within their own home? And what happens when others who’ve been exposed venture out into the community? Camp Cosby is helping prevent this domino effect by giving frontline workers the option to minimize the risk by allowing them to quarantine on the shores of Lake Logan Martin.

All smiles! (Photo via YMCA of Greater Birmingham)

Camp Cosby’s facilities are uniquely suited to its new role. Each guest is housed in one of 18 standalone, air-conditioned cabins, giving them ample space both indoors and out. Meals are delivered directly to the cabin doors so as to minimize cross contamination. And each week, the cabins are sanitized by a professional cleaning service. Meanwhile, the beautiful setting — just 45 minutes from Birmingham — gives first responders a much-needed opportunity to relax, all at no cost to them. To participate in this service, first-responders must be referred by the Jefferson County Department of Health.

Noting the importance of all essential workers, YMCA of Greater Birmingham President and CEO Dan Pile said, “Early in the pandemic, the entire nation showed overwhelming appreciation for the healthcare heroes. We must not let our love and support subside as if this is a new normal. No day is normal for our frontline workers. This is our way of continuing to support those who care for us.”