Siouxland Summer Camps impacted by COVID-19

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – Summer camps across Siouxland are making some decisions this week to open their doors or to keep them closed.

“We had a lot of families like am I going to have somewhere for my kids or not,” said Jacqueline Perez, with the Norm Waitt SR. YMCA.

The YMCA decided to open its doors in early June but for summer campers, it’s a bit different this year due to COVID-19.

“We couldn’t be in big groups of kids. We couldn’t use outdoor pools. We can’t go on field trips. So a lot of that stuff you think about camp, we couldn’t do that this year, so we switched it up to summer care,” said Perez.

Becasue of coronavirus concerns, the YMCA went from having 200 kids enrolled in the summer program to just 81 this year.

“All of our classrooms have ten kids and two class leaders. It’s the same group of 12 people throughout the whole eight weeks. So this year with summer care we don’t have any mix or co-mingling with the kids,” said Perez.

Its a similar situation for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Siouxland. They plan to reopen July 1, but participation will be limited there as well.

“So there will be forty spots a day open and our intent is to have two adults per 8 kids and we will keep those kids in separate areas. so we will have 8 kids out on the playground then 8 kids in our gym and different areas like that,” said Amy Niewohner, with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Siouxland.

Through it all, the goal remains the same for camps across Siouxland keeping kids and families safe from the virus.

“Our biggest thing is we want everyone to be safe and we want kids to have fun and get a sense of normalcy back,” said Niewohner.

When that isn’t possible, some organizations are making the hard decision not to offer programming this summer.

“We just did not feel that it was the best decision for the health and safety of our families to host anything this year,” said Jenna Andrews, the program director for Siouxland Beyond the Bell.

Siouxland Beyond the Bell typically serves around 400 kids. For now, the hope is to welcome those boys and girls back in the fall.

“Working with all the school districts that we serve you know they’re preparing those return to learn plans and we’re working closely with them to see how we can fit into that mold,” said Andrews.

Another summer program in Sioux City, Girls Inc. plans to open their doors for campers on June 29th.

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