YMCA is gearing up for a safe, fun summer with their upcoming camps. Many COVID-19 safety protocols are in place to ensure campers are safe while attending camps this summer.

“Summer is the ideal time for kids to get up, get out and explore. But, for some kids, summer means no access to recreational and educational activities to help them learn, grow and thrive during out-of-school time. As a result, some can experience learning loss and gain weight twice as fast than during the school year. That’s why the Tampa YMCA offers summer camp, to make sure kids and teens in the Tampa Bay area are adventurous, active and healthy this summer,” said Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA Senior Communications Director Lalita Llerena. “At the YMCA, we know that when kids accomplish more, make new friends and feel like they belong, they are developing the skills they need to be successful in life.”

Following a very successful summer in 2020, where the YMCA safely served more than 12,000 campers across Hillsborough and Eastern Pasco Counties, the Tampa YMCA is excited to provide a safe, fun day camp program this summer.

“YMCA Summer Camp is led by a team of kind, trustworthy individuals committed to creating a safe place for campers to practice social skills and character values,” Llerena said. “Our values-based camp curriculum will help campers develop self-reliance, a love for the outdoors, positive attitudes and values that build character and leadership, all amidst the fun of swimming, creative arts, crafts, sports, outdoor nature education and field games.”

The YMCA is focused on COVID-19 safety for its summer camps as well.

“Safety protocols will continue for YMCA Summer Camp 2021, based on recommendations from the CDC and local health officials come June,” Llerena said. “We are in constant communication with our camper families and will send them vital information and policies about all the extra precautions we are taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at our camps. We want parents to feel as comfortable as possible with our camping process.”

Before children and staff are checked in, their temperatures are taken for the safety and well-being of others in the camp. Those running a temperature of 100.4-plus degrees cannot attend. There will also be staggered curbside check-in.

Lower ratio camp groups spread throughout the whole facility. Campers will remain in their same groups throughout the week.

There will be “individual and spaced out activities to practice safe social distancing where possible when inside and limited sharing of supplies,” Llerena said. “There will be ample access to handwashing and hand sanitizer stations, especially at check-in, before meals and after restroom use. YMCA staff intentionally teach and encourage good hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and follow a strict sick child/staff policy.”

In Hillsborough County, all staff and members (ages 5 and up) are required to wear a face covering indoors while not exercising or participating in youth sports.

To learn more about the YMCA Summer Camps or to register, visit www.tampaymca.org/letscamp.

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Libby is a writer for The Osprey Observer/The Christian Voice. She started as an intern in 2009 and upon finishing her internship, she was asked to stay on as a permanent writer for both papers. Libby lives in Brandon with her two rescue dogs, Olive and Bogey.