Counting Down the Days to Summer Camp Fun

This summer, parents are ready to give their children fun experiences that are as “back to normal” as possible. Kids are ready for this, too. That’s why YMCA of Metro Chicago is offering summer camp fun with a lot of flexibility to meet families’ needs, no matter what the summer holds.

YMCA summer camps meet the moment with both in-person and online options. “We’re planning for a fun, activity-filled summer with in-person day camps, specialty camps, and online camps — tons of flexible options for families, from arts explorations to outdoor sports and so much more,” says Allison Greenman, senior director of day camp and school-age operations with YMCA of Metro Chicago.

Bringing the fun back this summer

Because most children have experienced some disruption to their routine this school year, the Y’s goal is to keep camp participants safe while building on the successful in-person and online options they created last summer.

“We recognize that last summer, while parents were seeing other camps cancel, we were able to pivot to online offerings while holding tight to in-person options, and we stayed flexible,” says Allison. “We were one of the few remaining in-person options and we were able to provide camps safely and successfully. A lot of parents said ‘thank goodness,’ because kids really needed it.”

Social interaction is so important for kids, and it’s been in short supply during the pandemic, so the Y is creating spaces for kids to make friends and memories for a sense of normalcy during some pretty challenging times. At Y summer camps, kids can connect with peers, pursue interests, and just have fun.

Parents can rest assured that all Y in-person camps follow CDC and American Camp Association guidelines, and YMCA staff are selected specifically for their skills — not just in first aid and COVID-19 protocols, but in their attention to YMCA values of care, responsibility, and equity.

Online camp is cool, too

Online programming will still be available this summer for families who feel more comfortable with this option, Greenman says. This online specialty summer camp option will engage kids to participate in new, fun ways through activities that they can get excited about, like coding, creative writing and cooking.

“Last summer, just before camp started, we delivered to campers a kit with an apron, measuring cups and a grocery list, and kids made a meal each night for their family,” says Greenman. “Parents loved the break from cooking.”

The Y provides kids with what they need to participate from home, and all instruction is a personal experience with small groups and plenty of interaction. This gives kids the opportunity to follow their own interests and spend time with enthusiastic instructors in a comfortable environment where they learn by doing. Camps are well-organized so kids know what to expect from day to day.

Flexible and fun

If the pandemic has affected your family’s finances and you’re worried about affording a camp experience for your kids, be aware that all programs are eligible for state subsidy or Y financial aid. The Y is committed to supporting families for a great summer in 2021.

Full-day in-person camps for working families are available at a local YMCA and all camps offer extended hours, as well as before- and after-care. Five locations host overnight camps, too, with kayaking and outdoor exploration for the traditional summer camp experience.

“The most important thing we want families to know is that whatever your comfort level, whatever your schedule and whatever your kids’ interests, we have a camp option,” says Greenman. “It could be one week or the whole summer, online, in-person or even overnight residential camp. Whatever your family is ready to do, we are ready to create a memorable summer camp experience for your children.”

Here are some important YMCA summer camp registration dates for you to know:

  • February 14: Early-bird registration opens for Family Membership holders. Register before March 20 save 10%.
  • March 20: Registration opens to the public and non-membership holders.

COVID cancellation policy: In the event that it becomes necessary for the YMCA to cancel any 2021 Summer Camp sessions, your pre-purchased week(s) will be refunded to you.

Learn more about 2021 Summer Camp Programs at YMCA of Metro Chicago at ymcachicago.org/camp.

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