Greenville Rec, YMCA adjust because of COVID-19, but will have summer camps
Some Greenville organizations still plan to have summer camps this year, but there will be changes due to COVID-19.
Instead of a traditional camp, the city of Greer will offer an online alternative. During the week of June 15, the city’s recreation department will have weekly virtual activities, crafts, educational sessions and games for community youths, said Ann Cunningham, Greer’s director of Park and Recreation.
In early July, if COVID-19 conditions improve, the city will offer additional recreation activities by having staff go out into local neighborhoods and parks to play games and activities safely with children and families, Cunningham said.
These and other changes come as camp providers work to fill a need for childcare while adapting their programs to meet state, federal, and other recommendations or guidelines to the safety of campers and staffers.
To aid paramedics, emergency medical technicians and other healthcare workers during the heat of the pandemic, the YMCA offered emergency childcare.
Julie Hollister, the organization’s director of Youth & Family Services, believes that the emergency childcare program helped the YMCA decide what to change and adapt its summer camp to ensure safety.
"We found a really good rhythm with that," she said. "We feel really confident in making sure that we can do the best that we can for our community because we know child care is such a need and we’re just really excited to see our families come back again, see our Ys up and thriving with youth programming and summer camp."
Greenville County Rec typically has a maximum of 75 to 80 campers at five of its community centers during the summer, while two other sites have about 100, said Lawanda Curry, community center district manager for Greenville County Parks, Recreation, & Tourism.
This summer, Greenville Rec has decreased its general registration numbers by about 25 percent at each site, Curry said.
The capacities have been determined by the allowance of social distancing and spacing at the individual sites, she said.
Greenville YMCA generally serves 12,000 children in its summer camps, Hollister said.
Each branch has a new reduced capacity, based on the various guidelines, she said. The organization will be able accommodate 400 kids this summer.
Campers will be accepted on a first come, first served basis, which is what the department has done in previous years, Curry said.
The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Greenville normally serves about 170 kids a day and offers a teen leadership program during its summer camp, said Mike Burdine, the organization's executive director.
This year, in order to comply with all governmental, health, and organizational requirements for safety, only 50 kids will be served for the summer, Burdine said.
Because parents had registered prior to the pandemic, children who are allowed to attend the camp this year were chosen by a lottery, he said
Hollister describes this year’s summer camp as a back-to-the-basics full day traditional camp. Like Greenville Rec, there will be no field trips this year or transporting of children this summer, she said.
“They’ll be staying on camp (sites), which is something we’re really excited about because sometimes we plan so many different activities to keep the kids engaged,” she said. “We’re excited to build strong relationships with our children.”
The camps will focus water and skill development activities such as soccer — with drills to learn how to keep the ball, trap and pass — and social-emotional learning “because we know that our kids have really gone through a lot in these past 70-80 days with quarantine, Hollister said.
“We want to make sure that they are able to work through those pieces and have camp fun,” she said. “You’ll see a lot of flavor of what we typically do for camp. It just might look a little different with social distancing practices.”
The Boys & Girls will also have more creative ways to play games and
It's still going to be a camp where the kids will have a summer experience, meet new friends, create new memories, and "have a wonderful time," Burdine said.
Also, like Greenville Rec, Greenville YMCA will not allow visitors into the program.
The two providers plan to boost sanitation efforts throughout the day as part of their safety protocol.
"Greenville County Rec has always been about safety so that has not changed much but we will be implementing a designated, every two hours cleaning the bathrooms as opposed to what we used to do,” Curry said. “Then, at the end of the day, we’ll do heavy cleaning.”
The YMCA has added a support staffer at each of its camp sites to primarily do frequently clean the areas and items touched by children.
Here's what you can expect with local summer camp offerings:
Greenville County Rec:
Summer Camp starts June 15 and runs to August 7, from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday
Ages: 6 to 11 — elementary K5 – fifth grade; Teen camp is for grades 6 – 8
Maximum campers at the individual community centers:
- Brutontown - 50
- Freetown – 50 campers
- Mount Pleasant – 45 campers in main building, 13 teen campers in annex building
- Phillis Wheatley – 50 campers
- Staunton Bridge -50
- Sterling – 45 in the main building, 10 teen leadership campers in annex building
- Slater Hall – 40 campers
- Get more information here.
- More frequent cleaning
- Temperature checks of staffers and children at the beginning of the day
- No field trips – internal or external
- No outside guests or volunteers
Camp runs from June 6 to August 14, Monday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Temperature checks, health screening questions for campers and staff at the beginning of the day
- Frequent cleaning and a support staff person at every location whose role is to clean every single item that will be touched by all kids
- Parents will be given a list of designated supplies such as scissors, markers, etc. The items will be used by their child throughout the summer
- Campers will not be required to wear masks, but staffers will be asked to do so, particularly when they are in close proximity to children
Boys & Girls Club of Greenville
- Maximum campers - 50
- 10-week camp starts June 15
- New pickup and drop-off rules
- Frequent handwashing and sanitization
- Increased academic games (Math Bees, brain games, STEM, etc.) to combat brain freeze
- Payments being accepted over the phone with credit or debit card, or with a check brought in by children
- Parents asked to sign more forms related to COVID-19
- Staff will also undergo daily safety well checks
- Visit the organization's website or more information.
City of Greer
- Virtual activities as opposed to traditional summer camp, begins the week of June 15. Visit the city's website for more information.
City of Mauldin
- Mauldin City administrator Brandon Madden confirmed via email that the city will offer a summer day camp this year. The day camp will implement procedures that are in accordance with the State and CDC recommendations and guidelines, he said. No further details were provided. Visit the city's website for more information.
City of Simpsonville
- Simpsonville discontinued its summer camp program last summer, City Administrator Dianna Gracely said in an email. The move was not COVID related, said. The program became too expensive to operate, she said.
- More than Virtual summer ice cream camp
- This camp will be a four-day experience held during the weeks of July 20 and 27. Each camp will cover the science of ice cream making and the creation of a signature Clemson Ice Cream flavor that will be shipped direct to each participant’s home. The sessions will be from 10 a.m. to noon on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday followed by an online ice cream social from 11 a.m. to noon on Thursday. Cost is $199 for each location registration and includes a shipment of participants’ signature Clemson Ice Cream. An adult is requested to accompany children ages 6-11 years old. Youth ages 12-16 may participate independently. Sessions will be hosted online via Zoom.
- Registration for the first camp will close on July 6 and the second camp will close on July 13. For more information and to register, go to https://www.clemson.edu/cafls/departments/icecream/tours.html. Opportunities to schedule private group sessions also are available.