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YMCA summer camps will go on with changes in place

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Posted at 7:27 AM, May 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-19 19:47:43-04

Smiles still fill the inside of the Ott Family YMCA. The Y may have been closed since the middle of March, but facilities across Tucson have been offering emergency childcare to first responders and essential workers.

“Teaching the kids about personal space and just, you know, having that bubble there and so we told them this isn't just now, this is stuff we're probably going to be doing well into the future,” said Erika Hurt, YMCA of Southern Arizona Multi-Site Coordinators for Youth Programming.

New lessons for the kids and new challenges for the staff as they prepare to roll out their summer camps.

“Adding in the education with the STEM based activities as well as the curriculum for literacy and math, that’s going to be the new part of our summer camp,” said Hurt. She also says another addition during the summer will be virtual field trips.

Plus, safety measures are being taken now like sanitizing all toys and equipment.

"Everybody that enters our building has a temperature check when they come in and then at lunch during midday we do another temperature check for all staff and kids that are in our building.”

A big change in the summer will be how many kids are in the building.

Erika says the Y usually has about a thousand kids in summer camps across the city.

"This year we're probably because of our spacing only going to be able to provide care for two to three hundred. So, we are definitely encouraging people to go on now and register online now,” Hurt said.

A huge difference because of social distancing. While summer camps are set to begin at the Y after Memorial Day weekend, what the future holds for their pools and programs is still in the works.

“There won’t be any programs at first. We're going to be missing out on another basketball season, missing out on more swim lessons and all those group exercise classes,” said YMCA of Southern Arizona CEO, Kurtis Dawson.

The YMCA says they will reopen in phases and will be adding safety breaks.

“Right now, we are making sure our facilities are going to be closed in the middle of the day when we open back up. So, we're going to have a safely break where we're going to de-clean all of our facilities,” said Dawson.

While reopening is a few weeks away, the community is showing their thanks to what the staff is doing right now.

“Our staff at least once a week has a lunch donated to them from our community members not only just our local restaurants but from families that have their children here in our program,” said Hurt.

The Y is also offering exercise classes online.

To learn more about that and the Y's summer camps, click here.