Summer camp at the Y may feel and look a little different due to COVID-19 but Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA Vice President of Operations Bart Cape assures parents “at the end of the summer and at the end of the week when your child comes home, we definitely know that they have had a great experience and it will be certainly something they will never forget.”
Bart says as a parent himself, he’s always thinking about safety and that’s no different at the Y. The safety of campers and staff is the Y’s top priority. “We’re always thinking about our children to make sure they’re in a positive, safe environment. We are prepared for that at the Y. We’ve got a lot of safety protocols we’ve put in place.”
• Before children and staff are checked in, their temperatures are taken. For the safety and well-being of others in camp, those running atemperature of 100.4+ degrees cannot attend.
• Staggered curb-side check-in.
• Lower ratio camp groups spread throughout the whole facility. Campers remain in their same groups throughout the week.
• Individual and spaced out activities to practice safe social distancing where possible when inside. Limited sharing of supplies.
• Ample access to hand washing and hand sanitizer stations, especially at check-in, before meals and after restroom use.
• Y staff intentionally teach and encourage good hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and follow a strict sick child/staff policy.
• Significant disinfecting of supplies and activity areas throughout the day.
The extra precautions, which Y camp leaders and counselors have been trained on, follow the recommendations of the American Camp Association (ACA), Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) and other medical professionals. The Tampa Y staff are very experienced in keeping children and staff safe, especially during these uncertain times.
“We’ve got thousands of campers who’ve come to us in the summer. We have a lot of trust there and we’ve really been able to do that even more in the last ten weeks with our Youth Relief Care for essential workers, which has really prepared us well,” Bart says.
Bart says even with the new safety standards for summer camp, some things never change.
“We have kids who come on the very first day of camp and they are so apprehensive. They’re concerned, they’re nervous, they’re not sure who they’re going to meet. Some of them don’t want to get out of the car. Some of them are crying as they get out of the car because they don’t want to come, but,” says Bart, “at the end of that week we might have that child crying because he or she doesn’t want to go home. It happens literally every summer.”
Camp is offered at a dozen locations around Hillsborough and East Pasco counties, including at the Bob Sierra YMCA Youth & Family Center in the Carrollwood/Northdale area, New Tampa Family Y in New Tampa, East Pasco Family Y in Zephyrhills, and South Tampa Family Y in South Tampa.
YMCA camps and staff are experienced and ready for a safe, exciting, fun-filled summer adventure. There are spots are still open and parents can register at www.tampaymca.org/letscamp.