Family First: Summer Camp Safety

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It’s the start of a fun-filled summer at the Paula G. Manship YMCA.

“This is what we do,” said Christian Engle, the YMCA President and CEO. “And so we’re just thrilled to be able to again, get our families and our kids back in our YMCA’s and again do what we do, have fun.”

Parents Joseph and Natalie Delaughter knew summer camp would look different during the COVID-19 pandemic, but felt comfortable with guidelines already in place at the ‘Y’.

“Adhering to everything going on, temperatures and stuff from the get go,” Joseph Delaughter said. “Trying to get social distancing even with the kids in the camp. They’re still doing that stuff, and they’re progressing as they get further directives.”

Christian Engle added, “We’re very fortunate in that over the last couple months we’ve been doing camp for all the hospitals and police officers, so we’ve got about two months of experience of kind of rolling these things out and putting all the safety in place.”

The Delaughter’s 8-year old son Luke, has been enjoying his time around other kids, even with the added safety measures.

“He likes it,” Natalie Delaughter said. “You know we tried a few different things over previous summers to give him options. Some were too strenuous, others didn’t engage enough. Here he seems to have a good mix of activities and down time. He’s not exhausted when he comes home. i think that’s what he is liking so far.”

The “Y” is also getting creative with its camp activities, all with safety in mind.

Christian Engle added, “We do a lot of games that kind of space kids out you know things like kickball, even with things like when we do tag we’re doing tag was six foot noodles now that you would see in a pool, so they can touch each other without having to physically touch each other, doing a lot of outdoor activities when we can when the weather allows us to. So again, just when we’re outside we know that it’s a safer place for kids to be.”

Pediatrician Dr. Stephen Sanches added, “We know there’s not going to be any one perfect solution. When you put a group of people, whether it’s children or adults together to ensure 100% safety but but to be as smart and practical about it as we can and following those guidelines.”

Providing a secure and healthy environment for young ones is the ultimate goal of the ‘Y’s summer camp, and so far it’s been a big hit.

Natalie Delaughter added, “We weren’t sure what was going to open. We have kids 3 to 5 days a week doing stuff, activities and that all stopped. So this kinda gives him a chance to engage in activities and friends and have that comraderie.”

“Coming to summer camp is normal,” Christian Engle. “Staying home from school is not. So I think the ability to just get out and be a kid again and have fun and that’s primarily what we’re seeing right now is that just that excitement to be able to do something.”

“Our summer camp is going to be the same as it’s always been just with a few extra things put in place to ensure safety.”

Christian Engle added, “When a parent shows up to camp they’ll bring their child up we’re going to take the child’s temperature, and we’re going to take the parents temperature. And at that point, they’ll hand sanitize and they’ll go into the program. During the program about every half hour to 45 minutes the kids will all wash their hands or hand sanitize.”

You can fins additional information on YMCA summer camps by visiting YMCABR.org.

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