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Central Coast summer camps navigating a return after a lost year

Posted at 6:19 PM, May 06, 2021

The end of the school year is just around the corner, but what changes can we expect at summer camp this year?

“Every week, we’re getting new guidance and regulations to follow,” said SLO YMCA Operations Executive Director Douglas Traywick.

On Wednesday, the CDC advised that kids ages 12 to 15 get vaccinated before attending summer camp. They also said children under the age of 12 can take off their masks when outdoors in small groups and other exceptions.

Now, Central Coast summer camps are redesigning their programs to comply with these new guidelines.

“Per the CDC guidelines, we’re still adhering to the same guidelines we’ve had all year long since we opened back up in June. We’re offering programs to all of our kids in certain pods,” said Boys and Girls Club of Mid Central Coast Chief Operating Officer Roberto Rodriguez.

Keeping students in pods is one of the new rules for summer camps. Other changes include the usual social distancing, shifting most activities outdoors and cutting down contact hours.

Wes Martin, Cuesta College Program Community Coordinator, said, “And with College for Kids, we have in-person in the morning and virtual programs in the afternoon so that families can still fill a full day with educational opportunities."

And there’s one summer camp activity that’s going to look a lot different.

“Unfortunately, we’re not going to be able to do as many field trips that we typically do in the past. We might be able to do some walking field trips that sort of thing,” Traywick said.

Despite the differences, summer camp programs are excited to see the kids back in person and learning.

“Having somewhere to go and interact with other human beings and not just a screen is super important this year,” Rodriguez said.

Most summer camp programs shared the sentiment that the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of the kids will be their priority.

The Boys and Girls Club, Cuesta College and the YMCA added that they are hiring for this summer. They’re looking for great camp counselors to make an impact on our community.