BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Camp is about two months away for children in Western New York. This summer comes after a year of remote and hybrid learning for many families.
YMCA Buffalo Niagara has two overnight camps and about 13 day camps.
“I think everyone is excited for a summer of camp again,” Snell said.
VP of Youth Development and Program Quality Penny Snell said this summer will look a lot like last year at YMCA Buffalo Niagara's day camps.
“The big change for this year for our day camps would be children having to wear masks 100% of the time,” Snell said.
The only exceptions are when eating, drinking, and swimming. Snell said the camp is avoiding close contact sports, but campers can still do drills. Snell said parents should sign-up fast because some of the day camps already have wait lists.
New this summer, Governor Andew Cuomo said overnight camps can return. Overnight camps were not allowed in the state in 2020.
“Smaller cabin sizes, more individual cohorting, so not intermingling in those all camp activities,” Snell said.
The CDC recommends testing those campers before arrival and during the summer. You can read the full CDC guidance for day and overnight camps here.
Camps said they're waiting for guidance from New York State before finalizing plans.
“The biggest thing that we’re really waiting for is our camp capacity," McNamra said. "So are we going to be able to open full size, as long as we can maintain that social distancing, or are we going to be forced to have smaller camp sizes.”
Colleen McNamara is the President and CEO of Stutelage Innovations. It runs dozens of week-long theme camps in East Amherst and North Tonawanda.
McNamara said she's hopeful the camp will be able to have larger groups this summer, with schools moving from six-feet to three-feet of social distancing. The CDC recommends three-feet of distance between campers in the same cohort, and six-feet when campers in the same cohort are eating and drinking. The CDC recommends six-feet of distance between campers in different cohorts.
McNamara said increased cleaning, temperature checks, and more outdoor activities will continue this summer. She said staff are encouraged to get vaccinated.
“We’ve really created a very safe environment for our campers, while there not losing that magic of the camp experience,” McNamara said.
Both camps said there is interested interest this year compared to last year.