- From a camp perspective, where over 80% of our campers are bussed and spend the summer outdoors in a community-based environment, the challenge of delivering our particular day camp experience remains significant. The Government of Ontario summer day camp guidelines would impede our campers’ ability to participate in our typical high-spirited group activities, supported by teams of staff who work closely with kids. Specific examples of how these guidelines impact your family include, but are not limited to:
- No group transportation.
- Limited overall camp capacity, resulting in a reduced acceptance of camper participation.
- Significant limitations to our camp programming, which would result in no Flagpole, no instructional swim, no community singing (camp cheers), no outside program providers (Sportball, Evolve, etc…), no petting zoo and no cookouts just to provide some examples.
- Incorporate and prioritize individual activities that encourage more space between participants so that physical distancing can be maintained.
- Contact/team sports or games that use shared equipment should not be permitted.
- Avoid using shared spaces in the community such as playgrounds and playground equipment
- Limited group sizes, restricted to 10 individuals (including staff and campers). Groups must be kept within the same “cohort” (bubble) for the full week. So, if a staff member is away, another staff member can not easily be added; impacting our high standard for ratios and supervision.
- No switching of campers from groups once they have been assigned a cohort; an aspect of flexibility that is important to us.
- Any inclement weather would result in the cancellation of the day at camp due to restrictions of indoor space gathering and requirements for physical distancing.
- While some day camps, based on their size, facility, program structure and philosophy may operate in some form or another, the guidelines provided would dictate a completely different camp experience for your children at Robin Hood.
- Health risks related to COVID-19 for campers, staff and their families remain a big concern for us and include the following:
- COVID-19 represents a serious and continued threat to the health of our society and there is much about this virus that is still unknown. With new information and developments on COVID-19 being reported on a regular basis many unanswered questions remain.
- An unknown amount of transmission occurs before an infected person develops symptoms; we have no way of controlling this in our environment. The potential for transmission of this virus is concerning. This increases the implications of a potential positive case of COVID-19 at camp.
- Campers and staff within our camp community with pre-existing health issues and/or special needs would not be able to participate.
- The signs and symptoms for COVID-19 are so vast, it would result in frequently having to arrange for campers to be picked up if they have headaches, runny noses or other signs of illness that may or may not be COVID-19 related.
So, it is for all of these reasons coupled with the essence of what Camp Robin Hood is truly about; inclusion, customer service and care, that we still believe we are unable to provide a valuable and safe camp experience for your children this summer.
We appreciate that everyone is looking to fill the summer with activities for their kids. It can be a long summer, especially for working parents without childcare or extended family to help. It is also a long summer for camp staff that planned on working at camp and spending the summer outdoors with children. That being said, as a member, and spokesperson, for the Ontario Camps Association (OCA), we would like to bring your attention to a recent statement on the proliferation of “backyard” camps and “rent-a-counselor” programs. We want all of our campers and staff to stay safe during this unique summer and encourage you to use the same vigilance in selecting these programs as you did in choosing us.
To read more about the York Region Guidance For Day Camps visit this link.