Boring: that’s how 9-year-old Kian Lord of Southington described last summer.
“It was in the house, a bunch of us screaming and yelling and hotness,” he said, recalling the sweltering summer he spent at home instead of at summer camp.
Lost to the pandemic was Kian and his sister Maia’s summer camp time. Their mother, Wynne Lord, said her children struggled with it.
“I think that they are just missing that social piece,” she said, explaining what her children lost not being at camp.
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While day camps were open in late June with limited capacity last year, overnight camps were completely closed. That is likely to change this summer.
“This year, we have a capacity of I would say close to 1,000 beds,” said YMCA of Greater Hartford CEO and President Harold Sparrow. “We will be at 50% of their capacity as it stands right now.”
The YMCA of Greater Hartford has 13 day camps and two overnight camps. Sparrow said to reopen this year, safety is the foremost priority.
Among the measures taken are mandatory temperature checks, grab and go meals and keeping kids separated and in small groups.
“You’ll swim together. You go to archery together. You go to arts and crafts together,” Sparrow explained of the experience campers can expect.
According to state guidelines, cohorts can be no larger than 20 children. It was 10 last summer.
Other guidelines in place require enhanced cleaning and disinfecting to be done. Staff must wear masks but children will be granted some leeway for outdoor activities so long as social distancing is maintained.
For Wynne Lord, these protocols are enough to make her family comfortable going back to camp.
“I am super excited. I’ve actually signed them up for more camps this year,” said Lord.
The Lords are so comfortable, instead of just two weeks of camp, Kian and Maia will enjoy eight weeks, to make up for last year.