Summer camps return to Lake Area
Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - After a year in quarantine, summer camps are now back in session for many kids in the Lake Area.
Monday, Lake Area Adventures kicked off one of its week-long summer camp series.
COVID-19 concerns still remain despite the desire of many summer camps to return to in-person activities. As you start to sign your child up for summer camp, experts say to keep in mind that each camp is going to have its own set of rules.
Lake Area Adventure’s general manager Tim Robles says he feels like they have a pretty good handle on making sure the kids have fun while also staying safe.
”We said as soon as we can open these doors and it be safe, we’re going full swing, which is what we did,” Tim Robles said.
He says summer camp registration is filling up and outweighs the demand for previous summer camp programs.
”Our first summer camp was booked out immediately. Right here today, we were up in my office having to plan extra summer camps that we didn’t plan on doing, because there’s a waiting list,” Robles said.
A waiting list that has a tad more at stake than in previous years.
“So, this is our first summer camp that we’re doing right now, and we’re at 30 kids. And the demand was for way more than that,” Robles said.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Robles says they’ve had to downsize a lot of the programs they offer. In addition, he says they are conducting routine temperature checks and deep cleaning.
”When they do the scuba diving, they have their own regulators, there’s no sharing regulators. We disinfect the equipment, washdowns and all that. Also for lunches, the difference on this camp is we will have the parents pack their own lunch so we know where the food came from,” Robles said.
In anticipation of a busy summer, the CDC recently released new COVID-19 safety guidelines for youth day camps and overnight camps. Some of those include:
- Promoting vaccination against COVID-19 for eligible staff, campers, and their family members
- Correctly and consistently using well-fitted masks that cover the nose and mouth
- Physical distancing, including cohorting (grouping children together to reduce potential exposures)
- Handwashing and covering coughs and sneezes
- Avoiding crowded and/or poorly ventilated indoor activities (for example, engaging in outdoor activities whenever possible and increasing ventilation for indoor activities)
- Routine cleaning to help maintain healthy facilities
- Staying home if sick or having any symptoms of COVID-19
- Getting tested for COVID-19 if having symptoms of COVID-19 or are unvaccinated and have been a close contact of someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19.
- Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine, in collaboration with the state, local, territorial, and tribal health departments
- Screening testing
- People who are fully vaccinated should follow CDC’s Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People
Click HERE to read the CDC’s full guidance on 2021 Summer Camp Safety
The CDC’s May 28 update for summer camps recommended vaccination for all employees and campers who are eligible, and noted that fully vaccinated camp environments are allowed to return to in-person activities at full capacity, without masking and social distancing,
The CDC also stressed that “camp programs should be supportive of campers or staff who choose to wear a mask,” and that outdoor and socially distanced activities are preferable at camps where not everyone is vaccinated.
The pandemic has slowed down operations for many local businesses including Lake Area Adventures, but they were able to find a bright spot.
”You can definitely see the kayaks and outdoor stuff kind of picking up. A lot of people that come from out of town really like to do the kayak tours,” Kayak Specialist Zack Oquinn said.
”As far as the outdoor activities, I feel that’s what really boosted us,” Watercraft Department Head Caymn Turton said.
Robles said for his staff, it’s all about keeping an open line of communication with parents.
”And if there’s things we need to do for certain kids, we do it,” Robles said. “We’ll go the extra mile to make sure that child and that parent feel safe.”
The CDC says regardless of the level of COVID-19 community transmissions, camp programs should be implementing prevention strategies.
At Lake Area Adventures, they’re monitoring enrollment numbers closely and hope to increase enrollment from 30 to 40 attendees by the time they host their next summer camp on July 12th.
Until more vaccines are available, summer camps will continue to have limited capacities.
Copyright 2021 KPLC. All rights reserved.