Summer camp interest builds as vaccine distribution continues in Kentucky, Indiana

Spots are filling up as parents look to enroll their kids after a year of lockdown
Published: Mar. 16, 2021 at 8:48 PM EDT
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Summer camps had to adapt in 2020.
Summer camps had to adapt in 2020.(WAVE 3 News)
COVID precautions are still in place at many facilities.
COVID precautions are still in place at many facilities.(WAVE 3 News)
Organizers are expecting an influx of campers.
Organizers are expecting an influx of campers.(WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A lot of summer camps were canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak in 2020. Now, spots are filling up as parents look to enroll their kids after a year of lockdown.

At Awesome Kids Camp in New Albany, from martial arts to arts and crafts, president Roxane Haynes is gearing up for a big summer.

“We sneak in some education here and there, but disguise it as fun,” Haynes said. “So, I don’t think they’ve caught on to us yet.”

While clues of just how different the last year has been are still around like masks and hand sanitizer, Haynes said demand for summer camps is high right now as vaccines continue to roll out.

“We expect to have a full camp this summer,” she said. “I think people are ready. Kids want to be out doing things. Parents want their kids enrolled, active and doing programs.”

Last summer, Haynes had to cut capacity and limit field trips. She said she’s looking forward to helping families supplement childcare as they get back to working in person.

“I myself have four kids. We don’t want them on their video games and electronics all day or just sitting on the couch,” she said. “It’s important to us that they stay active and healthy. This is just another way parents can provide that for their kids when they need to go to work.”

Those at the Waterfront Botanical Gardens said the past year has gotten them used to the curveballs thrown by COVID, too.

“We’ve just been trying to find ways to innovate, reach people by Zoom,” Allison Whitehouse, the adult engagement manager, said of the last year. “I know there’s a lot of Zoom fatigue these days, but just trying to find ways to keep people engaged from afar.”

Whitehouse said this summer WGB will be inviting kids back in person to summer camps like many others.

The Botanical Gardens have a spring break camp planned, as well as three different summer camps of their own, and another partnering with Louisville Visual Art.

“The pandemic sort of forced us to get more outdoors,” Whitehouse said. “So, I think there’s a lot more curiosity about the natural world again, which is a great thing. We want kids to, you know, feel connected to the earth, learn about it.”

Whitehouse said precautions will still be in place to keep campers healthy.

Camp leaders at Whet Your Palette said they are planning for a full slate of summer sessions as well.

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