SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — With the school year wrapping up, summer camps will soon be opening their doors, but a staffing shortage has created an issue.

The Mission Oaks Recreation and Park District is gearing up for another summer of learning and fun.

But getting the camps fully staffed for more than 400 kids hasn’t been easy.

“We’re at the bare minimum right now and definitely still accepting applications and working for great staff members,” said Nicole Friedrich, Recreation Supervisor for Mission Oaks Recreation and Park District. 

Friedrich said staffing issues began post-COVID. The pandemic brought smaller camps, which called for less staff, but in doing so, they lost a lot of high school students who left for college. 

“We can’t pay what fast food industry can pay and restaurants can pay,” Friedrich said. “We’re at minimum wage and a little bit above but we’re really flexible with hours and school work and events and things like that so we really push that we’re flexible.”

Despite the challenges, Friedrich said they hired and trained enough staff members to run nine camps without any problems. Currently, all camps are full, but if they can get more staffers, more camps can open. 

Friedrich said seeing smiling faces of the kids makes the job rewarding. 

“We know that we’re not offering the pay but we’re offering a lot of camaraderie and friendship,” Friedrich said.

For anyone interested in becoming a staff member at the Mission Oak camps, you can apply online at morpd.com under the job opportunities tab.