Parents counting on sending their kids to camp this summer might have to start reconsidering plans, depending on what the next few weeks bring to New Brunswick.
For more than 90 years, kids have been spending summer vacations away from families at Camp Glenburn on the Kingston Peninsula.
But summer of 2020 will definitely be a different camp experience, if it goes ahead at all.
“I would love to see overnight camp run,” said Shilo Boucher, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Saint John. “It might just look differently.”
Boucher said they’re still planning as if the province will give the go–ahead to open up this summer, but they also have plans to make changes to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions, especially if physical distancing is still required.
“Then we need to look at how many kids are in the cabins, so we would have to reduce numbers.”
Boucher said staff are looking at ways to still do regular activities such as canoeing, and trips that are normally done in larger groups.
“We are thinking through how we do the best programming within the restrictions of social distancing, and obviously making sure we have all the proper protective equipment and hand sanitizer.”
Boucher said the camp has a nurse on staff who would be able to ensure the right precautions are in place.
Another option that’s still on the table for Camp Glenburn is possibly shortening the season, but Boucher is hopeful they will be able to accommodate approximately 400 people who are registered for this summer.
One big difference could be that only New Brunswick families can come to Glenburn this year.
Boucher hopes to decide what’s happening with the summer camp schedule by mid-May.
Excited for summer
Katherine Handcock lives in Nova Scotia and has had her daughter, Alicia, registered for a week in July at Camp Glenburn since December.
Alicia attended the camp for two days last summer and is counting down the days to return.
“Obviously, our hope is that she’ll still be able to attend, this is sort of her big thing this summer she’s very excited for” Handcock said.
Despite her daughter’s excitement, Handcock said she wants to make sure the right decision is made, and it doesn’t put anyone’s safety in risk.
“The love for the camp is not going to fade just because we don’t manage to make it there this summer,” she said.
It’s a similar story for Camp Rotary, which is based on Grand Lake and serves people with disabilities.
Matthew Jay is the camp director and said staff will make the decision regarding its June sessions on May 8.
“We are still operating under the idea that we are going to have a camp this year,” Jay said.
Camp Rotary is also making plans to accommodate guidelines that could be in place this year because of COVID-19.
“It changes how we have to look at different games and activities at camp,” Jay said.
“At archery we have multiple people using the same bow, so it’s looking at disinfecting those way more than we normally would.”
Jay said camp registration is still on pace compared to previous years right now, and that they have staff hired for this summer.
“It’s all the little things that some people might not think about getting changed and adjusted to kinda suit the current global climate.”
Jay said regardless of what restrictions could be in place, he believes it’s still possible to make it an enjoyable summer for people attending.
“Camp is not about the site, it’s about the people. As long as we’re able to ensure that people are having a good time — whatever that may look like, that camp will be a success in my mind.”