NEW YORK — Many parents sign their kids up for camps every summer. This year is obviously a lot different due to COVID-19. Even though some camps are scheduled to open, there are still many obstacles to overcome. Despite setbacks due to the virus, some camps plan to move forward with creating a safe zone for kids this summer.
Deismond Rosa is the director at the Graham Windham Hunts Point Beacon. Their summer program serves under-privileged Hunts Point and Longwood communities. The program, based at the Bronx Academy for Multimedia, may now be displaced due to lack of funding.
"[The] majority of the families in this community live either at or below the poverty line. We live in what most people will consider a food desert with not a lot of access to fresh produce food," Rosa said.
Rosa and Graham Windham's CEO Jess Dannhauser are calling on the mayor to lift the restrictions to all Department of Youth and Community Development funded summer camps in the city by allowing kids a safe place to go this summer.
But, if that doesn’t happen, they’re willing to foot the bill.
Once the health department gives them the go ahead, they plan to follow social distancing guidelines and testing measures.
That’s something Jay Jacobs of Timber Lake also plans to follow to a tee. He operates sleep away and day camps in Upstate New York, Long Island, and Pennsylvania.
"We’re all looking toward creating protected environments in our own camp. That means that every child comes in pre-tested, and making sure that our medical staff is up to speed looking for symptoms and being careful," said Jacobs.
Taking the right precaution and maintaining a controlled environment will not only reduce the spread, it'll also ensure a safe haven for campers and staff that will make getting through the summer of COVID-19 a bit more enjoyable.