Rules In Place For Safety As Summer Day Camps Begin
The Newtown Parks & Recreation Summer Day Camp/Child Care Program is a bit different this year, but youthful laughter could still be heard early on the first day of the program, June 29, at both Treadwell Memorial Park and Dickinson Memorial Park.
“We are holding a new Summer Day Camp/Child Care Program due to the COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions in place of our regular day camps this summer,” an online announcement from Newtown Parks & Recreation reads.
“We’re trying to keep most of the traditions that we normally have together,” said Newtown Parks & Recreation Assistant Director of Recreation Rose Ann Reggiano, shortly after the first day began at Dickinson.
Some of those traditions included holding morning circles to welcome campers and going over fire drills in the first hour of the first day.
She also said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines are being followed for the program.
The first session of the program at Dickinson and Treadwell runs through July 10. The second session runs July 13 to July 24 and the third session runs July 27 to August 7. Programs are for ages 4 to 13, according to the announcement. There is no half-pint program or summer school late drop-off program this year, and there is limited enrollment for each camp and session.
Registration for the second and third sessions are still open, according to Reggiano. More information on registering a child or children for the programs is available online at newtown-ct.gov/parks-recreation/news/treadwell-and-dickinson-camp-will-be-held-both-locations.
Enrollment for the camps is limited to 50 campers per session, per park, this year. According to Reggiano, past enrollment in the Dickinson program ranged from 75 to 100 per session and enrollment in the Treadwell program ranged from 100 to 150 per session.
Changes this year include fencing put in place to divide groups of campers and tents set up around both parks so groups of campers have their own space. Campers also use their own towels to mark a personal “home base” in the group’s space. Groups also have access to bags of sanitizing items and counselors are responsible for sanitizing the bathrooms after each camper uses them. The bathrooms are only open for the camps and are not open to the public.
Dickinson Site Director Stephen Pansa said there “is a learning curve” this year, but he feels it is a hurdle that all can learn to handle as the CDC guidelines are followed.
At Treadwell, Site Director Brooke Hadgraft said having fewer campers registered this summer makes it easier to enforce the rules. Assistant Site Director Lauren Wilcox noted that campers still seemed excited for the summer program to begin, even with the new rules in place.
With camp underway at Dickinson around her, Reggiano smiled and said she hopes, “that everybody enjoys camp like they have in the past and they understand the importance of being safe and following the rules.”