Auckland camp launches pop-up takeaway to raise funds to get kids back to camp after Covid-19 pandemic

As life gradually returns to normal, one Auckland camp has come up with a unique way to help kids return to the great outdoors after the Covid-19 pandemic.

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The YMCA’s been empowering young people for more than a century, but now it says it’s in a dire situation. Source: 1 NEWS

The YMCA Camp Adair in Hunua is tomorrow launching a pop-up takeaway service. The menu includes camp favourites from nachos, butter chicken to gourmet burgers. All profits will go towards helping families cover the cost of sending their kids to camp.

The camp’s catering manager of over 20 years Rena Cressey said demand was picking up because the community wanted to support the cause. She said there also wasn’t a place closeby in Hunua for locals to have takeaways.

“The profit from the takeaway is going to bringing underprivileged kids into camp,” Ms Cressey said.

“We need all the support we can get.”

She said the money would be donated to schools or holiday camp programmes.

“I’m already up to about $500 worth of orders from last night. 

“It also gives my four staff a bit of work,” she said, as she was initially expecting there wouldn’t be any work for the camp’s caterers until later on in the year.

Ms Cressey said the earlier people could put in their orders, the better.

Dave Lockwood, Camp Adair group manager of outdoors, said camp was often a big cost for parents.

“I think we’ll find that, post-pandemic, parents will be struggling to send their children to camp,” he said.

Established in 1913, Camp Adair had put a mark on thousands of Auckland students’ school experiences. Comments on their Facebook page in response to the pop-up takeaway are filled with teachers, parents and camp attendees alike reminiscing on their good experiences.

“It’s got a massive footprint across the Auckland region. There are cases where multiple generations of family have actually all come to the camp,” Mr Lockwood said.

However, he predicted a cautious return to the outdoors after school camps weren’t able to go ahead during the Covid-19 lockdown period.

“We’ve been decimated, obviously, through the pandemic, and we just thought we wanted to do something for the community,” he said.

“YMCA’s been hugely affected and we’ve lost a significant amount of revenue streams over the lockdown period.

“We’re able to open under Alert Level 2, but the community is going to be slow and cautious about returning.”

In March, the camp had to suspend employment for over 30 staff.

Last month, YMCA chief executive Chris Knol told 1 NEWS it was calling for government support as revenue dried up over the lockdown period. The non-profit organisation relied on income from its services, including its accommodation, gym and camp facilities.

“We’re seriously going to have to look at considering downsizing our staff,” he said.

“We probably have to close facilities. We’re seriously worried about our outdoor recreation … those things may just have to go altogether.”

Orders can be collected on Friday nights from Camp Adair for the next six weeks. Further details can be found on their Facebook page.