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Popular YMCA Camp Ernst has made the difficult decision to cancel summer camp for 2020, as a direct result of social distancing and health concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic. This is only the second time in the overnight camp’s 90 plus year history it has cancelled summer camp; the other was a result of the polio epidemic.

YMCA Camp Ernst

Camp Ernst traditionally attracts campers from across the country and camp counselors from across the globe, making it very difficult to track coronavirus infection rates. “The health and safety of those we serve are our top priorities,” said YMCA of Greater Cincinnati President and CEO Jorge Perez. “Because children and staff are in close quarters at overnight camp, the best way to keep our campers and staff safe and healthy is, unfortunately, to close Camp Ernst this summer.”

“Kids and camp are like peanut butter and jelly,” said YMCA Camp Ernst Executive Director Eli Cochran. “We welcome generations of families to our Burlington, Kentucky camp that offers ziplines, horseback riding, water slides and much more. Over 4,000 kids are with us each summer. Camp provides kids with a place to achieve their goals, be themselves and make lifelong friends. We are heartbroken that the laughter of children will not echo across Camp Ernst this summer and we are hopeful that we can sustain camp operations and welcome them back for summer 2021.”

While this closure is necessary for the health of campers and staff, it will create significant financial hardship. Camp Ernst is a part of the YMCA of the Greater Cincinnati. The association, as a whole, has taken a significant hit financially due to coronavirus-related closings and had to furlough 89% of staff and implemented pay cuts to help keep the organization moving forward. While some YMCA locations are now getting ready to phase-in operations to the community, stringent social distancing guidelines will be in place with limited programs and services.

Looking to the future, YMCA Camp Ernst has launched a campaign to help sustain operations ensuring camp will be ready for children to return in summer 2021. Learn more by visiting

YMCA of Greater Cincinnati