NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Monday was a big day in New York state as some day camps opened up, but many are still closed.
Kids on the Upper East Side attended their first day of camp at Asphalt Green.
“I had the greatest day in this whole universe because it’s all about camp in the summer,” a 6-year-old named David told CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock.
“I ate Cheese-Its,” added 5-year-old Leah.
“It felt great. I was so excited for her to be able to have her have fun, and not be cooped up, and interact,” said parent Joelle Obsatz.
Ashphalt Green camp director Katie Duffy is trying to make the best of the circumstances.
“It feels a little different, but we are still trying to bring that camp magic,” said Duffy.
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Ashphalt Green is one of a limited number of day camps that opened on Monday, according to the American Camp Association. That’s because the state didn’t give camps a ton of lead time. Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement on June 2.
“We do believe that it was very, very late in the game and so it did prevent a ton of camps from opening today,” said Susie Lupert, the executive director of the American Camp Association of New York and New Jersey. “Camps need time to ramp up and staff to get the programs going.”
Lupert told CBS2 at least a month is necessary for most camps to get fully prepared, but she’s confident over the next few weeks more and more youngsters will be having fun in the sun at camp.
“It might in the end be something like 75-80% of day camps are going to be able to open,” said Lupert.
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Dan Weir of the YMCA Long Island said all six locations welcomed about 400 campers on Monday.
“It’s just about getting our kids to socialize again,” said Weir. “Getting them to use creativity, collaborate and communicate. We were there waving and smiling, but we also had our face coverings on.”
No matter what camp parents send their kids to, expect staff members to be wearing masks all day and kids to be wearing masks at all times, except when they’re outside. Rupert said children will be screened upon entry and have their temperatures taken.
The American Camp Association is urging parents to be especially cautious while checking out camps. Make sure they’re licensed by the state, accredited with the ACA, and have medical staff on hand. Most importantly, parents have to be comfortable with how camp plans to operate in the era of COVID-19.