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YMCA summer camps still a go

Last year's camps were a success despite COVID-19
Sault Ste. Marie YMCA file photo. Darren Taylor/SooToday

Summer will be here before we know it, and that means it’s almost time to sign the kids up for summer camps. 

The YMCA of Sault Ste. Marie will be hosting their summer camps in person this year, like they did last year, with the necessary COVID-19 precautions. 

“We’ll be screening each camper at drop-off and taking their temperatures,” said Matthew LaMontagna, supervisor of child, youth and family programs with the YMCA of Sault Ste. Marie. 

“Once everyone is in the facility, masks will be worn by staff all day. Campers will be masked while they are in their individual camp base rooms when they’re not participating in an activity. While they are participating in any type of physical activity like playing in the gymnasium, they can take their masks off. We will also make sure that there is physical distancing amongst the campers,” he said. 

There will be a wide variety of activities to suit the interests of each camper. 

“Activities will range from sports, craft time, swimming, gymnastics to going to St. Kateri Outdoor Learning Centre for canoeing, kayaking, and hiking. We’re also looking at running an agricultural and sustainability camp this summer called Farm Camp where kids can learn how to grow simple vegetables and learn about agriculture. We also have our arts program where the kids go on walks around the neighborhood, take part in virtual tours of museums and other art related activities,” LaMontagna said. 

“When it comes to sports, we’ll be doing those in a safe manner, like doing more activities that are based on skill development and drills as opposed to scrimmages,” he said. 

The YMCA’s summer camps will start on July 5 and run for nine weeks until Sept. 3. Registration will open on May 3 for kids aged 4-12. Prices for the camps are $200 per week for members, and $240 per week for non-members. For the outdoor St. Kateri camp, prices are $237 for the week for members, and $257 for non-members. 

“We’re really looking forward to it. All of the staff usually look forward to running the summer camps each year. Even though the job is a little bit tasking, it’s also a lot of fun because they get to build relationships and mentor the kids,” LaMontagna said. 

Despite COVID-19, summer camps at the YMCA ran smoothly last year, although their numbers were smaller. 

“Our camps last summer were very successful. Every camp each week was full or almost full. The kids had a lot of fun and were happy to be out of the house,” LaMontagna said. “Since our camp numbers were so small last year, myself and the camp staff not only got to build a relationship with the kids, but the parents as well. It made it easier for us to communicate with them in regards to how we could make everyone’s experience better.”

“We hope that parents aren’t afraid to sign their kids up for camp this year. We showed last summer that we were able to run the camps successfully even with the circumstances of COVID-19. The Y has shown time and time again that it is one of the best and safest places for summer camp.

To register, you can visit the YMCA’s website, or register in person when the building re-opens. 

Other summer camps taking place this year include: