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How summer camps are changing during the pandemic
EDMONTON -- Summer camps are a tradition for many kids but the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many camps to change their programming to help keep people safe.
Many overnight and day camps are cancelled, leaving kids disappointed.
Connor Cameron was supposed to visit Camp Yowochas at Lake Wabamun this summer, but the YWCA camp was forced to cancel its overnight camps in order to comply with public health orders.
"I'm going to miss playing with friends and just meeting new people," Cameron said.
The YWCA Camp Yowochas is still working to find ways to offer day camps to their campers.
"The health and safety of our campers, their families, and our own staff are of paramount importance to us," the organization said in an emailed statement. "We already miss our camp families, and if there is any way we are still able to offer programs this summer in a way that is safe for all, we will do everything we can to make that a reality."
Some camps are going digital to stay connected.
Telus World of Science Edmonton and Edmonton Public Schools are offering online summer camps.
"We wanted to have some sort of engagement for students for summer," Shauna Laird with Metro Continuing Education said. "While people are disappointed that we don’t have in-person camps, there seems to be interest developing in having something online."
Edmonton Public Schools is offering more than 150 activity camps, from dance to computer coding.
Telus World of Science camps include online sessions with instructors, app-based activities and virtual tours of the centre.
The YMCA has not made a decision on its day camps yet, which rely on city recreation and community centre facilities to operate.
The University of Alberta has cancelled its engineering and science camps but has not yet made a decision on the sports camps.
The City of Edmonton, the City of St. Albert and Edmonton Catholic Schools have not yet made any final decisions.
The province's guidelines allow for camps to operate under stage one of the relaunch, with restrictions.
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Bill Fortier