FREDERICK, Md (WDVM) — At the end of May, Governor Larry Hogan allowed youth sports and day camps to reopen. For the YMCA of Frederick County, that meant putting into gear months of planning with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and YMCA of America.
“We’ve poured over webinars, we’ve poured over documents, we’ve shared with other professionals in the field in terms of the YMCA and the American Camp Association,” explained vice president of youth development, Sarah Robertson-Ryan “We’ve really focused on how can we make a step forward, how can we provide for the community.”
And the YMCA plans to begin providing summer camp activities on June 22nd.
Typically, the YMCA of Frederick County hosts 40 camps over 10 weeks of summer, but this year, about 30 percent of those camps won’t happen.
“Our offerings will actually remain pretty high, the number of spots enrolled will be reduced,” said Robertson-Ryan, “Just trying to make sure we’re able to social distance, that we’re operating in smaller cohorts so we can keep cleaning, supplies and all that stuff separate.”
In an open letter, the YMCA addressed parents and laid out that campers will be in groups, or cohorts, no larger than 10 people– including staff instructors. If more restrictions are lifted, cohorts could increase to 14.
Everyday that kids come in for their camp session, their temperatures will be taken. Staff will ask them a series of questions to rule out any COVID-19 symptoms.
If a camper does present with a fever, that camper will be turned away and may return after 48 hours after a fever has subsided without medication. If a camper has COVID-19 related symptoms, they will be required to quarantine for 14 days or until results of a negative test are provided.
And parents will need to sign a waiver.
“We don’t know enough about the disease and so the waiver is just acknowledging that piece,” Robertson-Ryan explained, “And also acknowledging all the things we are doing and that it’s up to their decision based on the things that we are doing to send their child to camp.”
Staff will wear face coverings and disinfect equipment and other surfaces after their cohort is done activities. Campers will be asked to wash and sanitize their hands multiple times throughout the day.
Camps will be hosted at about six different YMCA locations, including Camp West Mar, for many of the same activities provided yearly including basketball, theatre and cooking lessons.
“We’ve been working around the clock to try to get it to where the kids don’t really notice how different the program is but we’re still keeping it clean and safe and as normal as we can,” explained camps director, Nathan Jones.
“Everybody is doing the best they can and I think providing this opportunities that feel it’s safe and right for them, we want to be there for them,” said Robertson-Ryan.
For more information, visit https://frederickymca.org/