Park district rethinks summer camps for fun and social distancing

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Park district rethinks summer camps for fun and social distancing

June 11, 2020 - 21:54
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This summer Homewood-Flossmoor Park District is offering two different camps to the community: Camp 2020 and Virtually the Best Camp Ever. 

These camps, for children entering first through sixth grades, will look very different from last year. Park staff have put in place guidelines and restrictions to ensure the safety and health of campers and staff members during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both camps are offered in weekly sessions.

Virtually the Best Camp Ever will offer participants the chance to engage in group activities and discussion from the safety of their homes. “Naturally Artistic” was the first theme of the camp, which began June 8. 

Campers picked up a kit of supplies and instructions for activities to complete at their own pace. The campers meet twice weekly on Zoom, a video conferencing application, to show off their projects and for socialize with one another.

The park district is also offering Camp 2020, an in-person camp starting June 15 and running from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at Irwin Center and Irons Oaks Environmental Learning Center.

Within assigned small groups, campers will play games, conduct scavenger hunts, make arts and crafts, and participate in science, technology, engineering and math activities — all while practicing social distancing.

Camp 2020 has many restrictions and guidelines in place to ensure social distancing by campers and staff members.

“This year camp will have separate pods of children,” said Stephanie Simpson, superintendent of recreation. "Each pod will consist of six to eight campers and two counselors. If we get a large demand for this camp, we can add pods as demand dictates."

The separate pods of campers will stay 30 feet apart for social distancing.

According to Simpson, this year campers must follow personal hygiene requirements and wear masks while indoors. While outdoors, campers will be able to maintain a six-foot distance, so they will not need to wear masks. 

Campers will be required to wash or sanitize their hands throughout the day, including before and after eating, upon entering the building, after using the restroom, and after using common items such as sports equipment or art supplies.

According to the parent handbook, each camper will be assigned their own bag of art supplies for their sole use throughout each week. At the end of each week, the supplies will be cleaned.

Staffers will sanitize items such as sports balls and other outside equipment before and after campers use them.

Registration is open for Virtually the Best Camp Ever and Camp 2020. To register, visit the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District website at hfparks.com or call (708) 957-0300.