“We have put in quite a few precautions,” said Mark Lantz, the senior program director at the Baxter YMCA. “One of the biggest ones is curbside drop-off and pickup, where our staff are wearing gloves and masks and temperature checking all of our participants and also the staff as they come into our program.”
Hand washing is also done between each activity and the counselors try to keep the kids outside as much as possible. So far, the YMCA said they haven’t had any confirmed cases of COVID-19. Parents said sending their kids to camp during a pandemic means weighing their child’s mental health, against the risk of COVID-19. However, most of the parents who sent their kids to camp, said it’s worth it.
“For him, the benefits of being in a program kind of outweighs some of the risk,” said Tricia Simmons, who has a foster son in the YMCA program. “The drop-off is awesome. You just pull up, they do the COVID checks and they get your kid out of the car. They bring them back to the car after we are done. But, they are outside all day. And, so for kids who have been cooped up for three months in the house, this is awesome.”
While the kids have hardly noticed the changes at camp, parents said the real change is in the kids.
“He is absolutely different than he was with our three months of inside, stuck inside. He is outside all day, he loves it! He is having a great time,” said Katelyn Saylor, whose son goes to the YMCA camp.
The pandemic is at top of mind for both parents and staff, plus camp enrollment numbers are drastically down from prior years. The YMCA said their reduced capacity camps still have some openings across Indianapolis. For more information on how to sign up, you can go to the YMCA website.