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Alberta business launches virtual Minecraft day camps amid COVID-19 pandemic

Laser City launches online day camps for children amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Laser City launches online day camps for children amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Laser City

Eight weeks after an Alberta-based business was forced to close its doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has created an innovative way to virtually serve the public — and bring their staff back to work.

Laser City has launched a new online day camp service for both its Edmonton and Calgary locations, offering virtual Minecraft sessions to help keep children entertained amid the pandemic.

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“In early April, a few weeks after we closed, we sent out a survey to our customers asking what challenges they and their kids were facing,” owner of the company, Rob Davy, said in a news release on Thursday.

“A big part of what we heard back was that kids were missing talking to other kids, as well as having little to look forward to each day.”

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Davy said parents were noticing that children between the ages of eight and 12 — who are often too young to have their own smartphones — were especially struggling during this time of social isolation.

Laser City launches online day camps for children amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Laser City launches online day camps for children amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Laser City

Davy noted that another common theme seen in the survey was children’s love for the game Minecraft.

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“Our survey showed a huge interest in Minecraft, so our first camps have been based around that, with a Minecraft creative camp and a Minecraft survival camp,” he said.

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The virtual day camps were created using a newly developed platform called Codo. Each camp can host up to six children and will run for two hours at a time.

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The creation of these camps has also led to the re-hiring of several employees.

“We had to temporarily layoff all of our part-time staff when we closed in mid-March, but it’s been awesome to be able to re-hire some of them back in the last couple of weeks to run our online camps,” he said.

Each camp will be led by a Laser City employee.

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Co-owner of Laser City, Brittany Anderson, said so far, the day camps have been a success.

“Seeing the kids in our early camps having fun and making new friends was amazing,” she said.

“Parents have told us their kids have really benefited from having something to look forward to each day, and that they appreciate a predictable couple of hours where they can get work done or relax knowing their kids are being taken care of.”

Laser City launches online day camps for children amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Laser City launches online day camps for children amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Laser City

Currently, the only online day camps available at Laser City are the Minecraft sessions, however, Davy said the company hopes to expand its services in the coming weeks.

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“Roblox was another very common suggestion, so we’re hoping to have Roblox camps rolled out very soon.”