Effingham YMCA keeping summer camp safe

As COVID case numbers rise the YMCA works to keep it out of their summer camps

Effingham YMCA keeping summer camp safe

EFFINGHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - As we see COVID case numbers continue to rise some summer camps are now calling it quits.

But in Effingham County the YMCA summer camp is pushing forward.

Believing what they're doing is keeping their campers safe and helping make 2020 a great summer after all.

Of course, bringing summer camp back to the Effingham YMCA was no easy task this year.

Taking extra steps to keep campers safe from the moment parents drop them off explains Effingham YMCA Executive Director Tommy Hurst.

“We’ll take a temperature check of each child. We’ll log that temperature. We ask them a few questions. Then they’re escorted into their homeroom, as we call it.”

A homeroom and fellow campers they'll become quite familiar with.

Not only because they'll be kept with the same group throughout the day to help limit potential spread, but also because the Y has cut numbers for safety.

“We’re used to having about 200 kids now we’re down to 90,” says Hurst.

A change that Assistant Childcare Director Maddie Tallent feels may actually make the camp better.

“It’s just a great environment. I feel like it’s better now because it’s so small and so intimate than it was before.”

But even with a smaller number of campers this year has forced Tallent and the Y to add some new elements to their program.

“Now since they got out of school, I think it was in March, they have creative curriculum,” said Tallent.

Mixing in a little math and science with their typical summer fun.

While YMCA staff handle their usual duties they also have some added responsibilities this year.

“We wipe everything down, like everything. So, when the kids go out we’ll fog and when they come in and leave they wash their hands so that makes me feel really good about the safety knowing these kids are going to be a-okay,” says Tallent.

Along with staying a half hour after their shift to clean after all campers have left.

Despite the added challenges and even risk that comes with summer camp this year they say seeing the response from campers and parents alike lets them know they're doing the right thing.

“It feels great. Again, just seeing the parents excited to be here. The kids excited to be here,” said Hurst.

“It was precious to see their expressions when we first opened up they were like, ‘freedom,’” adds Tallent.

“Knowing that we’re a small piece of that is very rewarding for us here at the branch,” Hurst concludes.

At this time the expect summer camp to wrap up on August 4, the day before Effingham County is set to return to school.

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