ANN ARBOR – Concerns about COVID-19 cases have had many parents rethink sending their kids to camp during the pandemic.
This time around, those feelings appear to be changing.
Summer camp at Ann Arbor YMCA starts in three weeks, which means swimming lessons, canoe trips, and campfires are back in the fold. But experts say there are questions parents need to ask.
It won’t be long before Grace Jastrzembski is swapping the playground for summer camp.
“I know Desmond would like to meet some kids and hopefully lots of fun activities they might have,” said Jastrzembski.
When it comes to picking the right summer camp, a national survey by Mott Children’s Hospital found logistics like location, hours, and costs topped the list.
But less than half of parents surveyed said that they didn’t rank health and safety policies as essential factors.
“Parents believe that camp accreditation means that the camp has been inspected and staff has had safety training that isn’t necessarily true,” said Co-Director of Mott Poll Sarah Clark.
Clark says parents should ask about the camp’s inclement weather policy, allergy considerations, and first aid training.
“You want to make sure that the staff at the camp are aware of that child’s health needs and that they have the information and resources and the training to be able to accommodate that,” Clark said.
One in 10 of the parents surveyed considered COVID precautions.
“I think I’d be ok with kids not wearing masks,” Jastrzembski said. “If you have symptoms stay home, of course, and if there’s hand sanitizer, I’d be comfortable with sending Desmond.”
“You can have a lot of fun at camp as well as have safety precautions in places,” said Toni Kayumi of YMCA Ann Arbor.
YMCA Ann Arbor is gearing up for its busiest summer camp season in years, like so many others.
“You want it to be a place that they’re learning new skills, meeting new friends, and having fun at the same time while staying safe,” Kayumi said.