The EG Track Club’s Summer Series, above, will NOT take place this summer.
By Saloni Jain
So, it’s finally summer. After being cooped up inside my house for months on end, the last thing I want to do is stay there any longer. As introverted as I am, I’ve grown quite restless without much social interaction, and I can’t imagine how much more restless and bored younger kids are feeling.
The solution to this restlessness and boredom: summer camps. With the school year coming to a close and the summer finally arriving, many kids look forward to attending and enjoying these summer camps as they have in years past. But, with the need for social distance to prevent the spread of the virus, summer camps won’t be looking the same.
“It’s not going to be just like last year.” Gov. Gina Raimondo has said. By June 29, in-person summer camps are planned to open, but with several “new cleaning regimens, new restrictions, new guidelines.”
In addition to keeping kids in small, stable, non-interchangeable groups, camp directors will also be required to deep-clean shared objects or surfaces and ensure that anyone experiencing COVID symptoms does not attend camp that day. Additionally, all campers and adult supervisors will be required to wash their hands frequently, and extra supplies will be provided to prevent the sharing of objects.
However, some camps have been cancelled due to the inability to adapt its programs to the new guidelines. The EG Track Club Summer Series, a program that exposes kids from ages 4-14 to fitness through track and field events, and the EGHS sports camps, which give athletes a chance to train and build their team spirit before the fall season begins, have been cancelled for this reason.
Dan Scanlon, an EGTC member, said it was difficult to cancel the Summer Series: “This decision was not easy and after a nine-year run, taking 2020 off is the best for all concerned. The board discussed the guidance given by the governor’s office for youth sports, and it quickly became a logistical impossibility to comply both on the field and in the stands while ensuring the safety of the kids.”
However, many camp programs still plan to run, especially the ones provided by the EG Parks and Rec Department. Ranging from sports to cooking to acting to coding, the EG Parks and Rec summer camp programs accommodate campers of all ages, experiences, and interests. These programs will have a limited number of kids in each group, and thus the more popular programs may have a waitlist. Furthermore, kids will not be able to attend field trips and will be only allowed to attend either a morning or afternoon program.
Despite all these restrictions, the Parks and Rec staff is working hard to make summer camp programs a memorable and enjoyable experience.
“The staff has been working incredibly hard to revamp and redesign programs. Our instructors are on board and eager to get started,” said Director Cathy Bradley.
Some EG Parks and Rec programs, like the youth specialty camps for baking and engineering or the summer youth basketball league, have been cancelled, but several programs are still running (summer camp program brochure can be found here). And, if the state allows large outdoor gatherings by July, people will also be able to attend the evening summer concerts at Academy Field to enjoy different genres of music.
“Having these programs is going to give the children a chance to reconnect, provide some enriching programs and fun times as they acclimate to being out and about again,” Bradley said. Let the summer fun commence!
Saloni Jain will be a junior at EGHS come fall.