Camps back in session for a fun, safe summer
Summer camps are back in session in Wareham, and although there are many new rules and regulations, both kids and councillors have found new ways to stay safe and have fun.
At both the Boys and Girls Club and the YMCA’s Camp Nep-In-Nae, kids are separated into groups of ten or fewer. They are also wearing masks, keeping their distance, sanitizing their hands, and are not sharing equipment with others.
Despite all the new coronavirus precautions, kids at both camps are playing games, getting outside, and seeing their friends again.
At the Boys and Girls Club, groups of kids take turns using different stations throughout the day, taking part in activities like dancing, computer games, and getting outside on the club’s playground.
Interim Director Nakita Besegai said that kids stay in the same group all day to limit the number of people they come in contact with. There is also a ten minute gap before groups move on to the next station, allowing kids to wash their hands while staff clean the rooms and equipment.
Groups also have color coordinated bins of toys, so they don’t get mixed up with other groups.
In one room on Monday, July 20, kids each had access to their own computer at a desk, socially distanced from other kids. In another room, a group of girls played a dance-themed game on the Nintendo Wii, which has been a popular choice since the remotes can be cleaned quickly and dancers can space out across the room.
Downstairs, kids had access to games like ping pong and pool. Outside on the playground, ball games were okay, as long as there was no physical contact, and kids kept their distance from each other.
Supervisor Shayla Tavares said that the toughest part of adapting to the new regulations has been limiting the contact between kids. “They love each other, they want to be next to each other,” she said.
But unfortunately, due to social distancing measures, games like tag are off-limits. Tavares said she has been implementing more crafts for the kids, since it's something they can do individually.
Councillor Raekwon Phillips agreed that the new regulations have been “something to adjust to,” but that things have been going well so far.
The new rules didn’t seem to stop kids from enjoying the camp. 8-year-old Nala Smith said she likes the Boys and Girls Club because “it’s just fun.”
Enrollment at Camp Nep-in-Nae is down this year, and some activities have been put on hold, but there’s still plenty of options for kids.
Like the Boys and Girls Club, campers at the YMCA stay in their small groups throughout the day and rotate through the different stations at the facility.
Camp Director Shayna Santiago said that the camp usually has over 100 campers in a given week, but lately the enrollment has been about 50 kids.
Since the facility is so large, there’s plenty of room for social distancing. “That’s been a big help for us,” she said.
Santiago said that some activities like the rock climbing wall and high ropes had to be shut down because it would be difficult to disinfect the equipment. The camp used to have elaborate opening ceremonies with acting skits, but those have been cancelled this summer.
However, basketball, swimming, art, and even archery are still available.
“It’s been an adjustment for a lot of the kids, but overall, they’re getting used to it,” she said.
Games aren’t allowed on the basketball court, but kids can shoot around as long as they use the same ball the whole time, and sanitize it when they are done.
Santiago said that some kids even came up with a way to safely play “knockout,” a game where players try to eliminate each other by making a shot before the person in front of them in a single file line, starting at the free throw line.
Usually the game is played with two basketballs, and players would pass the ball to the next person in line after making their shot, but now everyone just keeps their own ball throughout the game.
Councilors have also been able to run card games, so long as kids keep their distance at the table and wear masks and gloves.
The outdoor pool used to be able to accommodate 50 swimmers, but now there is a maximum of two separate groups of ten. Santiago said that to maintain social distancing, an older group of kids is assigned to the deep end of the pool, while a younger group stays in the shallow end.
Councilor Joshua Nameika said that the coronavirus regulations have made things “obviously very different” and that “it’s a situation no one wants to be in,” but the kids have been very understanding and good about following the new rules.
12-year-old Jayden Gomes said that while things are different at the camp, “it’s fun, I think most people, if they came here, they would like it.”
To contact the Wareham Boys and Girls Club, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the Gleason Family YMCA, call 508-295-9622.