LANSING, Mich. — Summer camp enrollment is filling up fast in Lansing as parents rush to sign their kids up for outdoor activities after more than a year of the pandemic.
“As soon as we opened up registration, we definitely saw the need in the community,” said Casey Thompson, the vice president of operations at the YMCA of Metropolitan Lansing. “Parents started calling and stopping in to get information. Traffic increased on our website just to learn what our offerings were going to be.”
Kevin Wernet, the executive director of Woldumar Nature Center, says summer camp is the break most kids need right now.
“A lot of students have been cooped up indoors throughout the pandemic either sitting at their kitchen table doing virtual learning or they’ve been in schools, so it’s that opportunity to get outdoors and run around and be kids,” said Wernet.
COVID-19 changed some families’ child care routines, making summer camp a necessity.
“Parents are really struggling to find that work life balance,” said Thompson. “We’ve talked to a lot of families where parents are trying to work from home and looking into summer knowing that they just need additional help.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released guidelines to help summer camps maintain COVID-19 precautions, something Wernet says is on most parents’ minds.
“Camp by definition is safe,” he said. “We’ve known for a long time that being outdoors is one of the best things you can do to slow the transmission of COVID, so I think parents see it as a very safe option.”
Woldumar’s summer camps will have smaller groups, masking, social distancing and less equipment sharing.
Brett Kaschinske, Lansing’s Parks and Recreation director, wants the city’s summer camps to offer a bit of normalcy for kids after a year that's been anything but.
“We all know and remember those summers when we were out of school, so that’s the experience we’re looking to have for these kids this summer.”
Woldumar’s camps are full, but have a waiting list.
More information on Lansing summer camps can be found here.
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