Summer camps allowed to open June 29

"We’re very excited"
Posted at 5:45 PM, Jun 03, 2020

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — “Now that we have the green light, we are getting amped up to have a great summer for the kids,” remarked Penny Snell, vice president of quality and innovation, YMCA Buffalo Niagara.

There is another sign that tough rules during the pandemic are paying off. Governor Cuomo announced Tuesday that all summer day camps across the state can reopen June 29.

YMCA Buffalo Niagara past summer day camp program.

Summer day camp is a fun-filled event that lets kids relax and let their creative juices flow. But it will look different in this new normal.

“We’re very excited that we can officially open day camp,” Snell said.

The YMCA will have 11-summer day camp sites open at urban and suburban sites. But there will be new rules in place at the camps.

List of 11 sites for summer day camp at YMCA

“What will be different? I’m sure it will look much,” Buckley asked. “Much different,” replied Snell. “We’ve moved pick up and drop off to curbside locations. We’ll be doing a health screening of the children as they enter. Our staff is all wearing masks. We’re in smaller groups, so kids will be assigned to their group.”

Only nine kids and one or two counselors will be in each group.

Children will stay with the same group all week and “X’s” will be placed on tables to follow social distancing. Health screening includes taking the temperatures of children and staffers.

But what about all those fun hands-on arts and crafts projects?

YMCA Buffalo Niagara past summer day camp program.

“Individual baggies with their name on it with all their art supplies, so they don't have to share those things. There's no communal anything at this time,” explained Snell.

Even bathroom breaks will be scheduled.

“It’s just going to be scheduling those — we know that there's always going to be a child that just has to go now, but we are going to try and do a better job of scheduling each group and then cleaning in between,” remarked Snell.

The YMCA has already been providing emergency daycare since March for families.

“Have you been able to avoid cases of COVID?” asked Buckley. “Yes, we have. We had one staff member that at one site, but she contracted it outside and notified,” responded Snell. “We do a good job of doing health checks on staff.”

But Snell says they had no other exposure occur from that case.

“For us it’s going to be a seamless transition,” Snell said.

Other changes for the YMCA’s summer camp include no field trips and sports will be skill building and individualized activities.

The state's day camp reopen does not include sleep-away camps. That decision is expected in the coming weeks.

YMCA Buffalo Niagara past summer day camp program.

Other summer day camp programs have already been scrapped due to COVID.

The Girl Scouts of Western New York recently announced that all day and resident camps will not open for the summer of 2020 due to safety concerns.

7 Eyewitness News also spoke with the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School District which has also canceled its summer day camp program.

This message is on the district’s website:

"These cancellations have been necessitated by restrictions on non-essential activities which are expected to continue through the summer," the district said.

This includes:

  • Summer Day Camp
  • Summer music program/summer music lessons
  • Summer sports camps/clinics/programs
  • Community Education summer session programs
  • Community Education summer session programs

The Ken-Ton district said it would not reestablish programs until the state declares Phase Four for reopening.

*Summer day camp video for our story was courtesy of YMCA Buffalo Niagara.