PLAYA DEL REY, Calif. — It’s hard to imagine being a young child during a pandemic.
That’s why last summer, after months of social isolation, Angie Enos jumped at the opportunity to send her then 5-year-old son, Brady, to summer camp at Camp Awesome in Playa del Rey.
“I got him in right away after I found out there was a chance for him to be outside and play with other kids and just spend the days outdoors," Enos said.
Now, a year later, with virtual kindergarten behind him, 6-year-old Brady is back at camp. While the vaccine is available for everyone ages 12 and up, kids like Brady remain without the shot.
Brady’s mom said she is not concerned for his safety right now, even with the delta variant circulating.
“Totally okay with him being out and being a kid, and we’ve all had COVID my whole family," Enos said. "We all had it about a year ago, and fortunately it was very mild for all of us, and no I just want him to be a kid and have a normal childhood right now."
That’s exactly what Brady is doing. Being a 6-year-old boy and doing things like having a belly pillow fight with his towel stuffed under his shirt.
Camp Awesome’s Director James Kirlin said it’s a dilemma parents are facing, risking infection or risking a normal childhood.
“You know, morally weigh what’s more important, the emotional aspect and that safety or the physical safety of COVID," Kirlin said.
Camp Awesome is a beach summer camp program, serving kids 4-13, and offering various activities to have whatever kind of beach day they want.
Last year he operated on a smaller scale and his business suffered. This year, however, demand has skyrocketed.
Although the demand is there, Kirlin is keeping the camp at half capacity, and wearing masks out of an abundance of caution.
“We’re still keeping ourselves at least around 50% of what we could be doing because we just want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to keep the kids safe," Kirlin added.
Down by the water, Brady enjoyed himself outside with his friends.
“I’m waiting for a wave," Brady said.
It’s exactly the kind of moment his mom wants for her son and her family, to not live in fear, but to be able to live their lives.
“You know we stay cautious to a certain extent, but I just don’t really want it to change the lifestyle of my kids," Enos said.
So for some, it is the need for socialization and the freedom to be a normal kid playing in the waves over the waves of the pandemic.