Organizations plan for summer day camps

Submitted Photo Children at Jamestown Area YMCA summer day camp last year. The YMCA will offer three summer day camp programs this year.

With the green light on summer day camps for children from Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this week, some organizations are moving forward with their programs while others are still deciding.

Sarah Hatfield, Audubon Community Nature Center education coordinator, said the Audubon will start its program June 30. She said Audubon officials went back-and-forth deciding whether to hold their day camp this summer following the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We discussed how we usually run camp and what risk there was,” she said. “With a few modifications, we can do it in a safe way, which will keep the kids safe and then will keep families safe.”

Hatfield said the Audubon has modified its admission standards for the day camp this year, only accepting children from Chautauqua and Warren counties. She said, in past years, children visiting local families that didn’t live in Chautauqua or Warren counties would be welcomed to attend the day camp. Because of COVID-19 outbreak, however, Audubon officials have changed that policy this summer.

Hatfield said Audubon officials are anticipating fewer children at day camps this year, even though there was an uptick in registrations following Cuomo’s summer day camp decision this week.

“We normally have 250 to 300 kids a year,” she said. “We will see a decrease regardless of how many register because we are dropping attendance to meet maximum attendance rates. We’re dropping to a third of what we are capable.”

To register for the Audubon’s day camp, visit auduboncnc.org/daycamp.

“We are really excited that we can run camp,” she said. “We feel an essential part of childhood is camp and playing outdoors.”

Mark Eckendorf, Jamestown Area YMCA executive director, said the YMCA will be hosting three programs for children this summer. He said one will be an extension of the school-year program at Ring Elementary School, which is being done in partnership with the Jamestown Public Schools District. Another will be at the Lakewood YMCA, which will start June 29. The third will be at Camp Onyahsa, which will also start June 29.

Eckendorf said one of the differences this year compared to past summers is there will be no resident camp, or sleepaway camp, this year at Camp Onyahsa.

“We canceled that. We were trying to figure out whether we could do it because the governor has not said ‘Yay’ or ‘Nay’, yet,” he said.

Eckendorf said summer camp is an important service they offer the children, and it’s a program that assist parents as well.

“Parents need this more than ever as people get called back to work,” he said. “We can provide that outlet and it’s good for the kids.”

Eckendorf said registration has just started for the Y’s three programs. He said people can find more information at onyahsa.org and visit jamestownymca.org.

Jeff Kroon, Winifred Crawford Dibert Boys and Girls Club executive director, said he has not yet decided if the Jamestown Boys and Girls Club will host a children’s day camp this summer.

“I don’t have an absolute final answer, yet,” he said. “We’re looking into additional guidelines. We usually operate under the county Health Department’s guidance and we have been communicating with them. We’re reviewing the CDC guidelines and the guidelines from out national organization.”

Kroon said Boys and Girls Club officials are hoping to “pull something together” that they can offer children this summer.

“We just don’t know what it will look like, yet,” he said. “Obviously, our number one concern is the health and safety of our members, and our staff and employees.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jamestown Community College will offer its traditional Kids’ College program online this summer. In partnership with Black Rocket, a creative learning web-based platform, JCC will offer 14 classes on coding, programming, gaming and animation from June 8 to Aug. 10 for youth ages 8-11 and 11-14. Each class meets one week for three hours per day for a total of 15 hours.

The fee per class is $149. For more information, including technical specifications, sample course videos and registration details, visit sunyjcc.edu/workforcereadiness/categories/9/courses#online-summer-youth-programming.Limited scholarships through the JCC Foundation are available by using the code JAMES30 upon registration.


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