YMCA Offers Overnight Camps Again This Summer, After Curtailing During Pandemic’s Early Months

This June-like weather has parents thinking about making plans for their kids this summer, John Lauritsen reports (1:57). WCCO 4 News At 6 - April 5, 2021

Video Transcript

- This June-like weather has parents thinking about making plans for their kids this summer. Even during a pandemic, there's already demand for summer camps across the Twin Cities. John Lauritsen shows us what will be different this year compared to last year.

ANTHONY TAYLOR A lot of people discovered that outdoors is a safe space.

JOHN LAURITSEN: Just like a first time camper, the YMCA wasn't sure what to expect when COVID hit last year. They had to cut back on the number of camps and campers, but had no problem filling the spots they did have, because demand was high.

ANTHONY TAYLOR: What we have found is that families are looking for developmental opportunities for their youth.

JOHN LAURITSEN: Anthony Taylor is the senior vice president of equity and outdoors for YMCA of the North. He says they're already planning for one major change this summer.

ANTHONY TAYLOR: We are going to bring back our overnight camps this year. That is really the big change this year.

JOHN LAURITSEN: The Y will require a negative COVID test from campers who attend an overnight camp. They are also encouraging staff to get vaccinated, and they'll implement other safety measures, as well.

ANTHONY TAYLOR: Campers will come in, organize as a pod with a particular leader, and then they will move through our camp experience in those pods.

JOHN LAURITSEN: For those not interested in overnight camps, the Y is also offering nature in the neighborhood: an outdoor experience in parks and destinations close to urban homes.

ANTHONY TAYLOR: Our goal is to offer opportunities that increase access, opportunity, and really engagement with really communities of color.

JOHN LAURITSEN: Whether it's sports, sailing, horseback riding, or rock climbing, Taylor believes the camps help kids develop both physically and mentally, especially after a year filled with unknowns. This is big for their mental health to get them out in the summer.

ANTHONY TAYLOR: We believe nature, outdoors, and adventure are solutions for that.

JOHN LAURITSEN: In Minneapolis John Lauritsen, WCCO4 news.

- The YMCA says it has limited space for a number of summer camps. For more information on those and other camp programs, just go over to wcco.com and click on links.