For millions of families across the U.S., this summer has offered a unique circumstance as the summer camps, programs and sports leagues children look forward to are either canceled or have gone virtual because of the coronavirus pandemic.
For actor Taye Diggs, his 10-year-old son, Walker, is one of the millions of children who attend summer camp each year. With that not being an option this year, Diggs relished the opportunity to get to spend additional time with his son, as he shares custody with his ex-wife. While the extra time afforded him opportunities to do more with his son, Diggs still needed some assistance with finding activities that were not only fun but helped give Walker some semblance of his typical summer experience.
Diggs partnered with Quaker Chewy, owned by The Quaker Oats Company, to help bring that experience to families with Camp Chewy. Parents can visit NoCampNoProblem.com to receive tips on activities for their kids to help break the monotony from their usual day-to-day of video games and internet browsing. They can also share their favorite activities for a chance to win $250 in the form of a gift card and Camp Chewy gear.
With being on a hiatus from his role of Billy Baker on the CW’s All American, I spoke with Diggs on behalf of Quaker Chewy on how he’s taking full advantage of the additional time with his son, what activities are keeping him busy and who he’ll be watching when the NBA resumes play this week.
How has your work life been affected during the pandemic?
We shoot in Los Angeles but at the beginning of the pandemic, we started our hiatus. Life hasn’t changed that much when it comes to that. I might have done a film in between and obviously, studios weren’t shooting but my bread and butter wasn’t too much impacted. I think our shooting date has been postponed but I would still be on a hiatus right now.
You’re very selected in what you lend your name to. Why was this a campaign one you wanted to get involved with?
It’s right in line with what I like to think is my brand. I’m a father and love being a father. Quaker Chewy is encouraging parents to get outside and be active with their kids. I know my son loves to go to camp and he goes every summer. When it was canceled — even though I was excited to spend that time with him — he was really bummed about it. With the help of Camp Chewy, I can get out there with him and try and recreate some of the camp experience. The website helps gives them some helpful hints on how to get out there with your kids and keep it fun now that this summer is a little bit different.
How have you managed to keep your son engaged when many of the social interactions he would have during the summer aren’t happening?
I’ll say that this is a little bit of a welcome time that I’m getting with him because I share custody with his mother. I’m certainly enjoying getting to know a different side of my son from some of the activities we’re getting to do that we otherwise wouldn’t get the opportunity to do. We’ve broken out a lot of board games and we’re getting to know each other through those games. We take these nature walks and we do this thing that he came up with at the outset of the pandemic. We call them night swims. We’ll wait until it’s pitch black and go out to the pool, float and really great conversations come from that and it gives each of us a deeper insight into one another.
What’s great about camp is that you can send your kid away and know that they’re taken care of but when they’re away from you, you’re not getting to know them. When I’m here at Camp Chewy with him, I’m getting to know my kid a little bit more as well as having these really great bonding activities.
While this summer has provided a challenge for parents to keep their kids busy, do you think this moment in time will be one where parents can look back and be thankful they had?
100 percent. I know that I will. I’m in a little bit in a different situation because of the split custody with my son. I love every single moment I get with him anyway so the fact that he’s not at camp bodes well for me. I can definitely say were it not for this time, I wouldn’t know him as well and there’s some really great conversations I’ve had with him that who knows if I would’ve had those otherwise. It’s a really interesting time where we’re all kind of vulnerable and we have the opportunity to open up and kind of ease each other as adults, parents, friends, lovers and everything. I’m choosing to take advantage of this and use this time. Personally, I’ll definitely look back and be grateful that we had this extra time together.
What advice would you give to parents who are all going through getting this additional time with their children?
Patience and to utilize the help that is out there. With the Camp Chewy website, you can go there and they provide help, give you some gear that you can get and actually use with your kids. Also, listening to your young people and not being afraid to discuss, bargain and what not. I think it’s difficult when a parent has the mindset of it’s my way or the highway. I think when there is a little bit of a give and take, things tend to go a little bit more smoothly.
You’re a huge NBA fan. What are your thoughts on the restart and how excited are you to see pro sports returning?
To tie it back into my son, that’s something that we like to do together as well. I’m ecstatic because that’s a sport that we like to play and watch. I completely understand the folks that are concerned with safety but I’m of the mindset that, at some point, we have to move forward and deal with this the best way we can. I think we have to try our best to continue living our lives. I love the fact that sports are coming back because that, to me, is a major step in a more positive direction.
Who will you two be rooting for?
The Clippers. It’s going to be really interesting. That’s the team me and my son are keeping our eyes on the most.
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