“Kids have changed during the pandemic!”

I have heard this a lot lately, and in part I’m inclined to agree. However, I think that kids are constantly changing. Ask yourself how many times you have heard the phrase: “When I was a kid…” (you can fill in the rest).

The fact of the matter is that times change. Fifteen years ago, if you’d told someone your kids were watching cartoons on your cell phone, they’d probably have been amazed. Nowadays, it’s the norm.

There’s no denying that Covid-19 has had an effect on children. As a matter of fact, I want to go on the record now and predict that in five years the pundits will be calling young people the Covid generation, or maybe generation ‘Rona. But it’s not just the kids who’ve changed through the last two years. I think you could argue that adults have changed through the pandemic too.

Although culture, behavior, and people change from one generation to the next, there is a universal constant that no one can escape: Children need structure and to learn.

Every year at my academy, we run a summer camp. The camp provides an outlet where kids can practice self-defense, meet new friends, get plenty of exercise, and learn about the five tenets of Taekwondo: Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control, and Indomitable Spirit.

Back in March of 2020, when the State of Maryland entered lockdown (the word still gives me an uneasy feeling), I thought that it’d be two weeks before we were back up and running. How silly I was. By the beginning of May, our classes were still significantly restricted, and at that time the prospect of running a youth camp in June seemed very slim. However, that’s just what we did.

By the end of May in 2020, many of the restrictions that effectively closed my academy were lifted and the governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, announced guidance for youth camps. Due to the hard work and adaptability of our staff, that season we were able to pull off one of the best years of summer camp to-date.

The camp in 2020 was fascinating. There were some obvious changes from previous years. We had to compartmentalize our kids into pods, and everyone wore a mask. But all things considered, it went extremely well.

During that time, it felt like we were back to ‘normal’. The really interesting part was how much the kids seemed to relish being around other people their age. We saw a huge increase in comradery among the groups and it was FUN! Moreover, we ran the entire summer with a single case of Covid-19.

By the start of the 2021 camp season, we really reached our stride running a camp in the era of Covid, and things were better than ever.

Here’s the point: Structure, safety, discipline, exercise, and healthy relationships tend to make for happy, healthy kids. At Black Belt Academy we can offer all of that and more. So, no matter what the obstacles, we will continue to work hard and use Taekwondo to make sure that every kid in Calvert County has the place to build strong bodies, strong minds, and learn good self-defense.

Black Belt Academy is licensed by the Maryland Department of Health – Youth camp certificate: 04-YC-13177