Kids’ summer camps to return to YMCAs, Indy parks during COVID-19 pandemic

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Kids are already looking forward to summer camps, and organizers this year are hoping for a return closer to normal after the coronavirus pandemic forced scaled-back operations last year.

“We’re excited to expand on the work we did last year, summer, so we have a camp at every single one of our YMCA centers,” said Genevieve Sullivan, a regional director at the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis.

Starting in May, the YMCA says it’ll be welcoming more kids to its summer programs.

“We have the capacity to see over 24,000 campers this summer throughout our eight to 10 weeks of camp dependent on the site,” Sullivan said.

The summer programs include pool time and basketball. “Bowling, we have a mad scientist program so kids can interact with science,” said “We have a master chef program so kids can get in the kitchen and start cooking.”

Sullivan says more parents are ready to send their kids to camp during the coronavirus pandemic. She says they’re depending on their safety guidelines released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help keep kids safe, such as promoting outdoor activities. They’re also keeping small groups of up to 10 kids spread out.

“So the limiting the number of interactions that kids have with each other so that if there is any sort of contact tracing that needs to happen we are ready and prepared for that,” Sullivan said.

“We’re going to do everything we can to make sure that kids have a great summer,” Sullivan said.

The YMCA of the Greater Indianapolis says its first summer camp date is May 21.

Indy Parks & Recreation says they’ll start summer camp as early as June 1.

Indy Parks says it’s capping the number of kids at up to 60% capacity for the summer programs. Joenne Pope says they’re looking forward to bringing back programs that were cut back last year because of the coronavirus.

“We are going on field trips this year and we are going swimming and we did not do that last year,” said Joenne Pope, senior manager of community programs at Indy Parks & Recreation.

“So, it’ll look a little more like we have had in previous summers,” Pope said.

She says keeping these affordable summer programs running for the community is crucial.

“A lot of these kids are still doing virtual classes or a combination of virtual and traditional school and I think they need to just get out and have fun,” Pope said.