Day camps in high demand for the summer

Parents are starting to plan for the summer and day camps remain in high demand.

Organizers said they'll have COVID-19 protocols in place.

The YMCA cancelled overnight camps again this summer, but indoor and outdoor day programs are in the works.

"Still focusing on the true camping experience, getting outdoors, getting on the waterfront, swimming, canoeing, high ropes, archery, all of the fun, true camp experiences," General Manager Caitie Wright said. "Hopefully the kids don't notice all of the safety protocols happening behind the scenes."

Those protocols include daily screening for campers and staff, along with increased cleaning and smaller group sizes. Staff said they'll have two counsellors for every 10 campers.

"We filled up quicker than we usually do for our day camps, so again I think it speaks to the fact that families need somewhere safe for their kids to go to this summer," Wright said.

The City of Waterloo said registration is also filling up for camps this summer.

"We are running approximately 9.5 weeks of camps at three recreation facility sites," said Steve Scherrer, the city's manager of recreation facilities. "We are in and around the 82 to 85 per cent range now."

If camps need to be cancelled due to the pandemic, officials with the cities of Waterloo and Kitchener said they will offer full refunds.

Kitchener will also have financial assistance available for families who need it to register.

"We do have a fee subsidy program for parents, so we are happy to work to ensure that they are able to come to camp and fees aren't a barrier," said Lori Palubeski, manager of program and resource services.

The City of Guelph will open registration on June 9, and officials said they're working with public health to determine if and when camps can go forward. Staff and visitors will need face coverings, except for children under the age of five.

Bingemans will have some new options, including an e-sports camp.

Launch Waterloo has a virtual option available to anyone who isn't comfortable going to an in-person camp. Staff will deliver a launch box to campers filled with materials and supplies for daily programs.