When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Make COVID Camp

Doug FrenchFatherhood on Friday

We interrupt your normal fetid slurry of garbage news to offer a hearty “Good On Ya” to a dad whose can-do spirit shone particularly brightly this week. This was a man, a father of two teenage daughters who endured months of quarantine in New York City, who recognized that lockdown would endure long enough to stifle his kids’ summer plans and summoned the gumption to create some epic plans of his own.

We’re talking about Randall Lane, chief content officer of Forbes Media, who launched an entire four-week summer camp for 12 girls at a lakeside ski chalet in the Catskills.

If necessity is the mother of invention, then desperation is its father. And this father, faced with the prospect of a summer-long cage match with cranky, confined adolescents, applied his means to create a monthlong bubble community at the base of Hunter Mountain.

Within this bubble, which functioned as a sort of co-op among all the parents, he imposed a rather imposing structure that included an initial quarantine, a signed code of conduct, daily reveille at 8:30am, three daily hours of math instruction, and a Sundays-only phone policy. To be augmented by the usual camp shenanigans like bonfires, talent shows, movie nights, and a “Chopped-style” cooking competition with peppermint Life Savers, red cabbage, shrimp, and strawberries.

We salute you, Randall, for rescuing your summer of 2020 and making an extraordinary, indelible memory for these lucky girls, none of whom is featured in the stock photo of generic young scamps we used to accompany this post.


After losing his father to cancer, Keith Doubman is hiking 4,600 miles, from Delaware to San Francisco, to raise money for cancer research …

… while Mike Karl biked from California to Virginia, raising thousands of dollars for a nonprofit named for his son that raises awareness of Ewing sarcoma.

Fathers’ UpLift, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit organization, provides fathers with mental health and community support to engage in their children’s lives.

Like many of us dads, Andrew Michael reevaluated his priorities during the pandemic. Lonestar Dads was the result.

Two best friends managed to set up their parents in an actual Parent Trap scenario, and they detailed the romantic story on TikTok.

Congratulations to Iris Award Dad Blog of the Year nominees: Mike Julianelle, Brent Almond, Taylor Calmus, Nick North, and Aaron Gouveia!

Erick Toussaint is the design director of the San Diego Natural History Museum and has kids to keep busy during quarantine. Thus was the origin story for Chalk Dad.

Congratulations to Steve Martin, who celebrated his 75th birthday with his 7-year-old daughter.

Linked In news reports that more than two-thirds of both moms and dads surveyed have struggled with keeping their kids occupied under quarantine.


“People like us who care about protecting ourselves and others get to stay home and try to do the right things, while all the other people get to do whatever they want.”— Andrew Knott, No, We’re Really Not In This Pandemic Together

“Unfairnesses, plural, are what’s being thrown at you. You know I’d take them if I could, every rotten tyrannical tomato and caustic cabbage and raunchy raw egg, but I can’t.” — Bill Peebles, Integrity at Stake as People Revolt Against Bad Hands Dealt by Life

“Falling asleep is entirely absurd. Pretending I’m dead for a solid four-to-thirteen hours is the stupidest thing I do all day.” — Chris Gaffney, It’s Time to Cancel Sleep-Shame Culture

“It hadn’t been easy adjusting to her being away from home for the first time. But when the pandemic closed her school, she came back to Greensboro. To us. To me.”— Mike Kernels, Reflecting On My Shortcomings As A Dad As My Daughter Heads Back to College

“This experience has made it clear that I have a relationship with each of my children that cannot be broken by anything my parents have done or may do in the future.” — Jake McPherson, I’m 57 Years Old, and My Father Just Disowned Me For Being Gay




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Photo by Joel Mott on Unsplash