Expert Advises on Choosing Best Summer Camp for Your Children

Many parents are pleased that our state will permit the opening of summer camps on July 6. However, those same parents who want their children to be able to fully enjoy the coming season may also have many questions and concerns.

“There is no doubt that summer camps this year will look different, but will they be fun for the participants. Most importantly, camps should provide the best possible environment for the children,” said Jack Martine, Camp director of the Cumberland Cape Atlantic YMCA, in Vineland.

“When looking for a camp this summer, first consider the preparedness of the camp to provide a safe and stable environment,” Martine suggests. “Make sure the camp has spent the necessary time to put all the safeguards in while preparing for the campers to have a great summer.”

Martine recommends that parents ask the following questions of camps:

• Does the camp have Youth Camp Certification through the New Jersey Department of Health?

• Is the camp indoors or outdoors?

• If it is indoors, do they have air conditioning? Is it a HVAC that brings in fresh air from outside or recirculates the air within the building? Do they open the windows to allow in fresh air when possible?

• If it is outdoors, are there ample shaded areas for the children? Is there a cooling station?

• Does the camp provide water stations to refill empty water bottles?

• Does the camp have soap/water and hand sanitizing stations throughout camp?

• Are the children in large groups or small?

• Are they in the same group daily with the same children?

• Do they have the same counselors daily?

• Does the camp perform temperature and health screenings daily of the campers and staff?

• Does the camp promote social distancing?

• Are staff and children required to wear face coverings? This is especially important if 6 ft social distancing is not possible.

• What type of activities will the children be participating in? Can social distancing be maintained while still having fun? If materials are being shared, are they being cleaned and sanitized between groups using them?

• Is the camp permitting visitors this season?

• How is the camp handling check-in and check-out for the parents to eliminate groups?

Parents of prospective campers who have questions may call the YMCA at 856-691-0030, ext. 111. The YMCA is still accepting registrations for the 2020 camp season. Registrations are taken by telephone and online at CWilliams@ccaymca.org.

More information on NJ Department of Health’s Day Camp Guidelines can be found at nj.gov/health/ceohs/sanitation-safety/youthcamps.shtml.

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