Camps heating up as summer nears and restrictions lift

·2 min read

There was a dearth of available children’s summer camp spots in the city leading into last week but the provincial reopening plan has kicked-started a number of programs across the Hat.

Sharon Hayward, CEO of Medicine Hat YMCA, says prior to the provincial plan being released, only licensed childcare providers where able to provide summer camps.

“With the pandemic, it’s been an unusual year,” she said. “Our licensed camps sold out in a day.”

But as has played out time and time again, restrictions surrounding the pandemic can change quickly.

Hayward says the YMCA was ready for that eventuality with a range of different programs at both the downtown and South Ridge locations costing as little as $100 per week.

“The need is there,” said Hayward, adding that prior to the loosening up of restrictions to allow for non-licensed childcare providers, “people were frustrated.”

But with the YMCA now able to expand from three programs with 28 spots each, they will be launching several more programs including a skills and drills sports camp.

“The good news is, all the other providers are coming online,” said Hayward.

That includes the Medicine Hat College’s kids summer programs with MHC releasing its plan in the next couple of weeks. And SALTA Gymnastics also advertising its camps.

The Esplanade anticipated its summer art camps would be able to operate and sold out quickly, said Chrissy Eld, education co-ordinator at the heritage and arts centre.

“It was entirely fast,” said Eld of the speed of the program being booked. “It took everybody by surprise.”

Eld added they kept the program with fewer numbers than usual but as long as the reopening plan goes accord to plan, “we are looking at possibly opening up a few more spots in August.”

But the irony of the current situation is, “typically, the Medicine Hat market is over-saturated,” said Hayward.

More information on current and future YMCA programs can be found on its website.

Alex McCuaig, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News

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