Summer camps open in the region with safety in mind
BARRIE -- Summer camps are slowly beginning to open back up, but it's not business as usual, but this year, they're going to be looking a lot different.
A week delayed, the YMCA of Simcoe Muskoka opened its doors on Monday, and employees couldn't be happier.
However, director of YMCA Simcoe Muskoka, Brian Shelley said their numbers are significantly lower than in previous years,
"Typically, we would have 600 or 700 kids sign up for our day camp per week across Simcoe Muskoka and Parry Sound," says Shelley.
"We are maxed at about 120 per week just with the way we have to manage our cohorts and staff to child ratio."
Children have been put in cohorts of no more than ten, and siblings are grouped to minimize the risk of transmission at the camp. Parents are also not allowed into the building, with children, staff and parents asked to self-screen daily.
The camp is going to be sanitizing twice a day, and this year the pool will not be operating.
However, not all kids are back at camp. Shelley says many children have parents who work at home and don't need to utilize the camp, or their families have decided not to attend this year.
Shelley adds for whatever reason there is, they have opened a virtual camp. The virtual camp can be found at https://www.ymcahome.ca/ycamp
He stresses the importance of camp for children, even during times like these.
"When children have been at home and isolating with their families and the opportunity to return to some sort of normal and building relationships with other children," said Shelley.
Over at Cedar Links Golf Centre in Barrie, classes for the Terry O'Brien Golf Academy are back in session, but there are several changes.
But even in the heat, the kids are just happy to be out.
The six-week-long junior camp program is running this year with eighteen kids, and they are split up in groups of six and one instructor.
Instructor Terry O'Brien said that these numbers are something he's looking to keep because his golfers' safety is first. O'Brien adds the smaller groups have an advantage because the kids can have more time with the instructor.
"We make sure kids are 6 feet apart at all times, they must bring hand sanitizer, have their own water bottles and jugs, they don't touch other people's belongings.," said O'Brien.
"They have their own golf clubs so they can't rent clubs, everyone has to have their own stuff."
SOME SUMMER CAMPS OPEN