Barrie day camps resume after challenging school year

After a challenging school year, with much of the time spent in isolation, children across Barrie can reunite with the kick-off of camping season.

Day camps run by the City of Barrie welcomed campers for the first time this season on Monday morning. The camps have been permitted to reopen since Step 1 of the province's reopening plan.

"We know that a lot of students, a lot of children have been doing a lot of online learning so this is their opportunity to really have some outdoor activity, have some fun outdoors and really connect with their friends again," says Jeddy Wong, City of Barrie recreation programmer.

This year Camp Barrie is running out of five different locations across the city to bring them close to as many people as possible.

The locations include:

  • Barrie Community Sports Complex
  • Dorian Parker Centre
  • Tyndale Beach
  • Lampman Lane Community Centre
  • Parkview Community Centre

"We've already increased spaces compared to what we were planning on at the beginning of the summer," Wong says. "So it's nice to see that people are looking for camps, campers want to come to camp, and they do want to be out here, outdoors having fun with our great camp team."

Wong refers to Camp Barrie as a variety camp. Participants take part in several different activities ranging from arts and crafts to tag, all of them adapted to COVID-19 protocols.

"We modified them so that we can do it within 6 meters of each other," says Wong. "So we'll use pool noodles to make sure that we're staying away from each other, we'll make sure that we have craft supplies for each individual camper, and then there's an emphasis on cleaning, sanitizing and education for campers."

This year's camping season comes after a challenging school year, with students spending much of it learning remotely, isolated from their friends.

Many were happy to be back with each other.

"It's been quite cool," says camper Evelynne Johnston. "I am missing some of my friends because of the coronavirus, but good thing is it's summer, so even though we're wearing masks, we can go to summer camp and make new summer camp friends!"

The camps will be held primarily outdoors, with an option to move indoors at three of the camps in the event of inclement weather. If rain should strike campers at the Barrie Community Sports Complex and Tyndale Beach, where there is no indoor facility, campers will temporarily move to another location.

This is the second year that the camp is running with pandemic protocols in place. Officials say participation is up year-over-year, although fewer applicants are being accepted than prior to the pandemic.

While many of the camps are already full, there is space available at select locations. Complete information on the city's day camp programs is available here.