• August 14, 2020

Camp modified due to pandemic - Odessa American: Local News

e-Edition Subscribe

Camp modified due to pandemic

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Related Galleries

Posted: Wednesday, July 1, 2020 3:13 pm

With summer activities and camps being shut down due to COVID-19, Jon Murray was among those worried that the Permian Playhouse would be unable to hold the theater’s annual summer camp.

When Texas Gov. Greg Abbott gave the green light for summer camps to resume May 31, the show was back on.

The theater got its annual summer camp underway this past week with a modified format.

25 kids from kindergarten through 5th grade are participating in this year’s camp, a half-day camp starting at 8 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday.

The kids are preparing for the premiere of ‘The Aristocats’ July 17 and will continue with shows the following weekend as well.

Murray said that the Playhouse had to cancel shows and limit the numbers of the camp during the pandemic. He added that being able to put on some sort of camp was important to him and the staff.

“It just feels so good,” Murray said. “It feels normal, or at least as much as it can be.”

Even with some semblance of normalcy, there is still the reality that the virus is still around. The camp has taken extra precautions with hand sanitizer stations and masks and staying in constant communication with parents to stay safe.

Murray added that the kids have been “troopers” through the early stages of the camp and that everyone has been on the same page with the extra safety precautions.

While taking those precautions, the kids involved are just happy to get out of the house even under different circumstances and changing habits.

“It’s been a bit of an adjustment,” said 11-year old McKenna Webb, “We just have to stay socially distant and make sure that we’re staying safe and all wearing the masks.”

“It’s nice to be out here doing something like this,” said 10-year old Piper Baker. “After this show, I’ll have been in six shows and I like this one just as much as the others.”

Getting to perform is also a relief for the show’s director, Samantha Leal. Leal is also a teacher at Milam Elementary School and has a number of kids from her classes in the summer camp.

She also was the show director for Mulan, the main summer show from last year.

“I was really excited for this after doing this last year,” she said. “I really wanted to do this for my kids, especially for the fifth graders that are going into junior high. A lot of them are in this camp so they can kind of have that last goodbye to elementary school.”

Leal added that seeing the kids happy is rewarding for her given the circumstances. Like most teachers and students, she was also expecting to come back after spring break to finish out the year. However, the kids never came back to school.

With the restart of the camp, that’s allowed the staff to provide a bit of normalcy and Leal added that she’s noticed more engagement in the kids.

She also said that it allows some of the kids to be more outgoing with not as many people around.

“There’s just a lot of eagerness,” she said. “They’re ready to do dancing and music and whatever else we throw at them. It shows me that they’ve missed interactions with each other and missed acting and theater.”

Odessa, TX

Current Conditions

Humidity: 32%
Winds: S at 12mph
Feels Like: 85°

Your Extended Forecast


High 105°/Low 76°
Clear. Lows overnight in the mid 70s.


High 106°/Low 78°
More sun than clouds. Highs 104 to 108F and lows in the upper 70s.


High 103°/Low 74°
Mix of sun and clouds. Highs 101 to 105F and lows in the mid 70s.
Online Features

Pet Central


Having a pet is a lot of responsibility, and we’ll help by giving you lots of tips and tricks! More >>



Our fitness articles will help teach you how to work out with gym- and home-based exercises. More >>



Enjoy the crosswords challenge in our free daily puzzles, from the harder Sunday crossword to the quicker daily. More >>



Every Sudoku has a unique solution that can be reached logically. Enter numbers into the blank spaces so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 to 9. More >>

  • ALL-ACCESS: Subscribe to our e-edition and premium website at myoaoa.com.
    You can read your daily newspaper without taking a walk to the driveway.
    Look back at yesterday's newspaper, or issues from months ago with our archive feature.
    Call circulation at 432-337-7314 to sign up today.