MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As this unusual school year comes to a close, many families are wondering about the plans for summer: Will there be camp? Good Question.

“I waffle back and forth,” Gianna Kordatsky, a mother of four and co-creator of Family Fun Twin Cities, said. “Should we send them? Shouldn’t we?”

On the Family Fun Twin Cities website is a guide to summer camps. It tries to track what will open and closed, but the information changes every day.

“Parents are confused, super confused,” Kordatsky said.

WCCO reached out to several summer programs and received a variety of responses. The Science Museum of Minnesota and Minnesota Landscape Arboretum have cancelled their in-person camps. So has the Girl Scouts River Valley, who plan to go virtual. The University of Minnesota Extension 4-H camps have been cancelled through June, while some are still scheduled for July and August. St. Paul Parks and Recreation hopes to start some summer programs in June, while St. Louis Park Parks and Recreation is tentatively planning to start amps after July 6. Minneapolis Park and Recreation says it hasn’t yet made a decision on summer camps and programs.

But, one big group of campers will start up on June 8. The YMCA Twin Cities plan to run its seven day camps and 50 day programs throughout the summer. They have cancelled all overnight YMCA Twin Cities camps.

‘We know that equity is super-important and parents need opportunities for kids to be outside,” Greg Waibel, COO of YMCA Twin Cities, said. “We’ve been operating programs through all of this and we’ve found safe ways to do that.”

Waibel said kids will able to spread out and explore nature in their campgrounds, but there are some changes that will be different.

At drop-off, camp staff will take temperature checks and ask about COVID-19 exposure and symptoms. Staff will be wearing masks indoors, while campers masks will be voluntary. There are extra cleaning and disinfecting protocols as well as little or no sharing of supplies. Campers will also stay in their small group of less than ten as the move throughout the camp.

The YMCA Twin Cities said it’s been working with experts at the MN Department of Health (MDH) as well as following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control.  MDH has given provided guidance on how youth programs can operate during the day. Overnight camps in Minnesota are still not allowed.

“There’s an additional layer of how this operates, but for the kids, we’re trying to make this a super-fun experience,” Waibel said.

Heather Brown

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