By JOHN HOWELL There are going to be summer camps, but at this point the experience will be a far cry from the camps traditionally run by the Warwick Boys & Girls Clubs and the Kent County YMCA. Based on the outline provided last Thursday as part of the
There are going to be summer camps, but at this point the experience will be a far cry from the camps traditionally run by the Warwick Boys & Girls Clubs and the Kent County YMCA.
Based on the outline provided last Thursday as part of the reopening of Rhode Island by Gov. Gina Raimondo, camp groups will be limited to 13 kids and two adults. That’s going to make for some dramatic changes, including smaller camps and higher prices.
Nonetheless, Steve O’Donnell, director of the YMCA of Greater Providence, said the changes will make for a safe environment for children.
While specifics are being worked out and the Y as well as other camp providers anticipate additional guidelines, O’Donnell said “stable” pods of 15 would not intermingle with other pods and would be required to be a minimum of 12 feet apart from each other. The maximum number of pods at Kent County would be driven by the amount of space to house the kids during inclement weather.
The Kent Y traditionally serves between 400 and 500 campers weekly, with children ranging from 7 to 12 years old. Kent manager Robert Cioffi expects that number would get cut to about 200. The weekly cost for camp will be $300 for Y members and $400 for non-members. There would not be any busing and campers would be expected to bring their own lunches.
Cioffi said the Y is looking to make camp “more of enrichment … we’re going to do as much as we can.” The Y camp is scheduled to start June 28.
The Boys & Girls Clubs are likewise gearing up to start camp by the end of June. The camp with 150 kids has operated from the Masonic grounds off Long Street that includes a pavilion, baseball field, open fields, picnic tables and outdoor swimming pool. This summer, explained club development director Eleanor Acton, camps will be run from the Oakland Beach and Norwood club branches so as to adhere to guidelines as outlined by the state and the CDC.
“Kids will be able to then be safely separated into groups in separate rooms and rotate in and out of the buildings so they get outside for favorite outdoor activities in addition to arts & crafts, etc. At the moment it looks like kids will be responsible for bringing their own lunches. And as long as we have the same bus driver, we can bus kids,” Acton wrote in an email in response to questions.
She said that unfortunately the club won’t be able to enroll as many campers, that costs will be going up and that the club expects to be offering “scholarships” to families who otherwise could not afford camp.
In a release about the reopening of the clubs and daycare with phase two of the state reopening on June 1, club executive director Lara D’Antuono states, “From the beginning of this pandemic, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Warwick was in constant contact with the Departments of Health and Human Services to ensure we could institute best practices for keeping staff and youngsters safe at all times. We established new check-in and check-out procedures to ensure no one who is sick enters any of our buildings. We will have someone dedicated to sanitizing all surfaces continually throughout the day. And we will have a professional cleaning service do a deep cleaning of our facilities every night."
O’Donnell said the three of the five Rhode Island YMCA branches – Kent, South County and Barrington – are slated to reopen on June 1. He said the pool and fitness rooms would be open and that a 4,000 square foot tent at Kent would house fitness equipment, properly spaced so that members could be outdoors for their exercise routines. He said there would be appropriate spacing in the pool with one lane per swimmer. Members would need to make appointments for both the pool and use of fitness equipment, “so we know who’s coming and who’s going.”