Summer camp ‘revamp’ as Saskatchewan permits overnights in Step 2 of reopening

Click to play video: 'Summer camp ‘revamp’ as Saskatchewan permits overnights in Step 2 of reopening' Summer camp ‘revamp’ as Saskatchewan permits overnights in Step 2 of reopening
WATCH: The COVID-19 pandemic isn't over yet, but with lower case counts and higher vaccination rates, Saskatchewan has given overnight summer camps for kids the green light – May 31, 2021

As the weather has warmed up, David Doerksen says his two oldest sons have had the same question: “Are we going to get to go to camp?”

Friday morning, Doerksen says he got to tell his boys the answer is yes.

“They’re pretty excited,” he said.

Read more: COVID-19: Overnight youth and child camps allowed in Step Two of Saskatchewan’s reopening plan

Doerksen had them registered for day programming at Ranger Lake Bible Camp, west of Saskatoon.

Thursday afternoon — hours after the province announced that overnights would be permitted in Step 2 of its COVID-19 pandemic reopening plan slated to begin June 20 — Ranger Lake’s Doug Barr took to social media to say the organization is shifting gears.

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“We’re going to be running overnight camps,” he said in a video posted on Facebook. “We’re going to be shutting down our registration system for the next couple days as we revamp everything.”

Read more: COVID-19 ‘still evolving’: Canadian summer camps uncertain about opening

The provincial guidelines posted online recommend “household” cohorts of no more than eight. If they mix, they have to mask.

There’s an extensive list of distancing, screening and cleaning protocols.

Holly Epp, from the Saskatchewan Camps Association, says about half of the 45 members were looking at some sort of day programming, although some were holding out and planning for overnights.

The surprise, she says, for most of them, is that overnights are part of Step 2 and not Step 3.

“They also didn’t know how to plan,” Epp said. “We weren’t even given guidelines until the announcement.”

Read more: Saskatchewan summer camps say they need help before next year

Lisa Marcotte, of Camp Monahan east of Regina, says Camp Monahan has some decisions to make.

The organization had been planning for day programming and is going to have to do a cost-benefit analysis of overnight camp.

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“Looking at the numbers and restrictions, how is that playing out for us and our campers, and still being true to what camp is about?” Marcotte asked.

She said Camp Monahan’s goal was and still is, this year more than ever, to be able to offer something to kid campers.

“They haven’t had the opportunities to be with friends. They’ve been sequestered in their homes,” Marcotte said.

“Camp builds such great leadership. I think our kids need that. Even too, resiliency. Like at camp, I always say to live in a community with other people, we learn so many fabulous skills.”

Click to play video: 'Providing children from low-income families the gift of camp' Providing children from low-income families the gift of camp
Providing children from low-income families the gift of camp – May 18, 2021

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