Weston Recreation Summer Camps – What’s the Plan?
The February 9, 2021 Recreation Commission meeting answered some questions about plans for Weston Recreation summer camps and Memorial Pool operation this summer. As many residents will recall, Memorial Pool was closed due to Covid last summer, which caused a not-insignificant outcry from those who love it and its icy waters. And popsicles. And yellow jackets. Basically everyone. Summer Rec camps were also severely curtailed last summer, caused mass exodus to $2000/week camps in New Hampshire. Just kidding, that always happens anyway.
I’ll cover general pool operation plans later this week but the bottom line is that the Recreation Department is working to have both the pool and camps open, though they will look different from past years. Where have we heard this before? Oh yes, everywhere. Life is different in 2021 and with the additional time to learn what might work and what might not, the Recreation Department presented the following:
- Camp ABC (ages 4-5) will operate 8:30-12 with an aftercare option until 2:30. Country School.
- Camp Adventure (grades 1-4) and the Sports Camp (grades 1-5) will operate from 8:30-4 pm, with a half day option.
As a part of this, the current rules on masks and physical distancing will apply, as well as no mixing of cohorts and no off-site field trips. Cohorts will likely be 10 kids with 2 leaders. There will be no swim lessons and no “all-camp” events, and they are working towards having a dedicated time at the pool for free swim. It is possible that they will have outside vendors available for outside activities–I assume this is pool noodle limbo and U Can Dance type things.
Not surprisingly, camps will be operating at 40-50% capacity. And the biggest outstanding question is access to indoor locations if the weather is not cooperating. While they have used the elementary schools in the past, there is a different “governing body” there and this all needs to be worked out. Here’s my editorial comment: we have schools as a mega budget item in our town. Let’s use them when we have an extraordinary circumstance. Yes, I recognize that this is something I don’t understand and there must be reasons we can’t have kids in our schools. Editorial comment over. The Recreation Department is waiting for an answer from the schools on indoor access.
Further along in the meeting, the actual numbers of kids were clarified. If indoor space is confirmed, Camp ABC can operate at normal capacity which is around 40 kids. Camp Adventure and the Sports Camp would be more restricted with 70 kids (50 CA and 20 Sports) being allowed to attend during each week, with the “past normal” being more like 150-200 kids. It is going to be the Hunger Games getting those spots. May I make a recommendation? Lottery. After this year’s vaccine appointment craze, I don’t think my heart could handle fighting it out online. Oh wait, my kids are aged out anyway. These numbers will all be adjusted if the overall recommendations on capacity change. A wait list will kept.
Outer Limit and Quest camps (middle school) do not have programs yet, but the Recreation Department is looking into options. They will not look at all like the traditional camp which involved white-water rafting, bumper cars and various out-of-Weston amusement. A resident suggested offering some programs like archery or other sports since they can’t have field trips to the amusement parks. Here’s a suggestion from an executive board member of Weston Forest & Trail: talk to the people who can put together a trail-building adventure, a mountain biking trail build? email@example.com. I’m just saying.
For the teeny-tinies, Summer Tots will be offered. This is a four-day program run by Carol Landry, a preschool teacher at Weston Wing. There will be 10 kids per two week camp. Dates will be out in spring brochure, which is all online this year.
Camp registration dates are not confirmed at this time but people are encouraged to make sure their family has a Weston account. If anyone has trouble setting up an account, please contact the Rec Department. Chris Fitzgerald, Weston Recreation Director, also recommended that people get signed up for notifications from the town listserv at http://www.westonma.gov.
Happy Summer planning, Weston!