On Sunday, Doug Ford announced that summer camps will be in operation by their usual start date of July 4th. But this statement left many organizers unclear of what they should prepare for as the province remains under tight restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Camp organizers in Kingston have started to set things up for potential programs in the summer months — maintaining the sites and reaching out to staff and volunteers. But even still, there isn’t a solid plan.
“The later it gets in the summer, the more difficult it will be for all summer camps,” says Camp Davern director Peter Vooys.
Camp Davern has started to prepare for the summer in the event that they are allowed to commence camps, as the premier suggested, with COVID-19 safety protocols in place.
“We would have to have our campers present negative COVID tests prior to arrival, self isolate prior to arrival at camp. We’ll have picnic tables spaced out, individual meal times,” Vooys says.
Rapid testing is another tool that Camp Outlook in Algonquin Park is hoping to use. The organization hosts canoe trips for youth facing barriers in the Kingston area. They’ve reached out to government officials for help in screening for the novel coronavirus.
John Hissink, director at Camp Outlook says “we’ve signed up for a waiting list through the Red Cross, who might be able to provide us with some of those. That’s one of the things that we’re hoping to be able to get.”
At least one camp in the region will be pivoting to a different operating model this summer. RKY camp in Parham is planning to offer family cabin rentals with the possibility of offering some camping for counsellors in training towards the end of the summer.