Summer camps in Charlotte preparing for ‘new normal’ this season

Summer camps preparing for changes

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Summer is right around the corner and many parents are deciding how to keep their children occupied while keeping them healthy.

Governor Cooper said summer camps can take place, as long as camp directors follow safety guidelines. Parents like Shanika Hines are thrilled.

“It’s very encouraging,” Hines said.

Camps through the Children's Theatre of Charlotte will be virtual starting in June.

“We are housed in ImaginOn with the Mecklenburg County children’s library, so it’s a county building and we’re waiting for the county to say yes you can come into this building," Director of Education Michelle Long said.

They are taking the action from the stage to the screen, offering classes via Zoom.

“We’re giving instruction and the student can step away from the screen and do that, and then bring it back in order to show that work," Long said.

Camps through Mecklenburg County’s Park and Recreation Department will happen in-person. They are offering summer camps with limited slots from June 15- August 14 and the Nature Preserves department will also offer programs in July and August.

The YMCA will also be offering in-person camps. Day camps will take place at 14 locations with staggered openings from May 26-June 15. The YMCA will also open its two overnight camps. YMCA Camp Thunderbird opens on June 7 and YMCA Camp Harrison opens on June 14.

“Mentally it’s a good thing for them,” Hines said. “They miss their friends, like bonding time. We can teach them as much as we can at home but it’s not the same.”

Sanitation is top of mind. The Discovery Place is also opening for camps. In a statement to WBTV, a spokesperson said:

“With Gov. Roy Cooper’s recent order that allows for the operation of day camps beginning in phase 2, we are excited to share that our Summer Camps will be taking place as scheduled this year. Our camps will still be in-person at our Museums, but several new policies and procedures will be in place to address the health and safety of our community as it relates to COVID-19. These new protocols primarily fall into the categories of intensified cleaning, health and hygiene best practices, and social distancing efforts. Additionally, we have reviewed the curriculum in each Camp and adjusted as necessary to prioritize the safety of the environment for everyone while still providing top-notch STEM learning opportunities. We are continuing to follow all federal, state and local guidelines related to COVID-19, and these guidelines are at the center of our ongoing work to create and maintain a safe environment for all Campers and staff throughout the summer.”

Hines says she thinks it's time.

“You just gotta cover your kids in prayer and let them go, because they need to go,” she said.

Several pools are also opening. In mid-June, Park and Recreation will open the Aquatic Center during the week (Monday – Friday), and Double Oaks pool will be open on the weekends (Saturday and Sunday). Spraygrounds will remain closed.

On June 8, the YMCA will open with limited hours outdoor pools at Brace Family, Harris, Hemby Program Center, Keith Family, Morrison Family and Simmons YMCAs and indoor pools at Dowd and Lowe’s YMCAs.

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