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Local summer camps prepare for new kids, less COVID-19 restrictions

Posted at 9:49 AM, May 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-04 10:49:02-04

BRAZOS VALLEY, TX — Last summer, camps across the country stripped down to the bare minimum because of COVID-19. Now that more people are vaccinated though... how will this summer be different?

COVID-19 guidelines are loosening up, allowing summer camps to welcome more kiddos and get back to having some fun in the sun.

After a year of being confined to the walls of your own home last year, this summer may look a bit different.

The kiddie Academy in Bryan can hold a little over 200 kiddos and currently hosts 150.

“Oh yes, things are really picking up for the childcare industry," Said Meagan Van Dyck, Co-Owner of Bryan-College Station Kiddie Academy. "Which I'm excited, not only for us but all of my friends, I would say, that own their own child care centers in the Brazos County,”

Their College Station location is a bit smaller, so the owners decided to host their summer camp at their Bryan location to mitigate a COVID-19 spread.

School-age students will be happy to hear this, field trips are back!

”I’ve just felt bad for the school-aged kids," added Van Dyck. "They look forward to summer camp and when they come to summer camp and you’re doing more education all throughout the summer, they kind of feel like they don’t get a break from school,”

The camp will continue to do temperature checks, require their campers and teachers to wear booties in classrooms outside their own, and allow only one parent to enter for pickup.

“One thing we’re still doing is drop off still has to be done outside. We are allowing the parents to come in and pick up the children though. Only one parent allowed per household and they do have to wear masks,” said Van Dyck.

Last week was the first time since the pandemic that parents were allowed back inside the center and for some, it was their first time inside.

Unfortunately, over at the Boys and Girls Club, they have not been able to allow parents inside yet, but they hope to in the near future.

”Something I'm really excited about and hopefully we can do by the end of the summer is having the parents come back in the building," said Rhonda Watson, the CEO of Boys and Girls Club for the Brazos Valley. "Right now, drop off and pick up is curbside,”

What they will be doing is opening up availability to allow more campers in the building this summer.

“We are opening up more and we’re still working out the fine details but what I do know is that we will have more kids in the building and fortunately all of our staff have been vaccinated, but we’re still cautious,” Watson added.

She also expressed her eagerness to notify the community that they are a center that goes beyond childcare. Their mission is to enrich the youth of their community with opportunities they may not have otherwise.

This summer the boys and girls club will offer a teen program where campers can learn life skills like creating a resume and doing interviews.

As parents return to the office, the need for childcare is on the rise. The boys and girls club in Caldwell currently has a waiting list, but for those in need, the boys and girls club of the Brazos Valley is still accepting campers.

For parents still struggling financially, the Boys and Girls Club provides assistance in a case-by-case situation. While Kiddie Academy partners with Child Care Management Services (CCMS). This program allows families to expand their choices in childcare and receiving financial assistance.

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