DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Summer camps in the Dayton area are still adjusting to COVID-19, however, some are hoping to move away from virtual gatherings and toward more in-person options.
“So typically we have probably 100 plus students in our summer camp,” said Abby Beneke, marketing director for K12 Gallery and TEJAS, an arts organization for young people near downtown Dayton. “And we’ll have five plus studios, and we’ll do a lot of activities, field trips will even go out to the park [and] museum.”
This year, close, interpersonal interactions have changed, especially following changes to summer camp guidelines from the CDC. Staff at both K12 and the YWCA said this year’s summer camps interactions will require that the children adhere to those guidelines closely.
“We had to limit our class sizes,” explained Beneke. “We’re also limiting how many classes we do offer, and then within that, of course, everyone has to wear masks when you’re building. Students are separated at least three to six feet.”
Donna Hill, youth and teen educator for the YWCA’s Girls LEAD! program in Dayton, added, “[We’re] hoping to have the girls [in person], of course, wearing masks, social distancing, having cleaning precautions and wiping everything down.”
She said for that reason, day camps and virtual camps are especially beneficial this year, for keeping kids safe.
“They will get dropped off here in this area, and then spend the day with us and then go home. So we won’t have any of those types of concerns as far as sleeping arrangements or anything like that.”
But both Hill and Beneke said getting rid of camps altogether would’ve been a challenge, since they help kids develop important skills.
“Summer is that kind of time where kids are out of school, maybe they don’t have a guardian at home and they need to get out of the house, pretty much. So the great thing we do is not only have a full day of camp for them, we also have various classes where they can kind of get some energy out, have fun and create.”
The CDC has made changes to their guidelines for operating youth and summer camps as recently as Friday. To find out what changes have been made, click here.