Summer rec programs to occur with limited activities and enrollment

MADAWASKA, Maine — The Madawaska Board of Selectmen approved a summer recreation proposal that would limit enrollment and activities, and accommodate social distancing guidelines as well as extra sanitation measures during the board’s socially distanced meeting held June 8 at the Madawaska multipurpose building. 

After numerous Zoom video conference calls with different communities throughout The County, Madawaska recreation director Sam Cyr said each community was doing its own thing, so he decided to send a survey to parents to gauge support for some limited version of camp.

“Many communities throughout Maine have chosen not to pursue a summer camp, so it’s a great feeling to know we are moving forward with a program that complies with the CDC’s guidelines and one the majority of community members are happy with,” Cyr said. 

The survey consisted of four questions.

Question one: “Given what we know today, and if we were to start registration next week, would you register your child for a 6-week program with Madawaska Parks and Recreation?”

Question two: “Which of the following would you deem necessary before you would consider sending your child(ren) to day camp? Check all that apply.” Answers consist of: stringent cleaning protocols, an “all-clear” from the CDC or state, symptom and temp check of all staff and campers upon arrival, and limited enrolment. 

Question three outlined the three options Cyr and his team came up with regarding alternatives. 

And the fourth question asked the age of the children of the survey taker. 

There were three options people could choose from. Option A outlined a plan to only be open Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays with Wednesdays being designated cleaning days. There will also not be any full-day rec, rather the day will be split between the two age groups, 4-7 and 8-12 attending from 9 a.m.-noon and 12:30-3:30 p.m., respectively. 

Under this option, campers will be divided into groups of 10 with one designated camp counselor to help “contact tracing, should an outbreak occur.” 

Activities will also be limited to accommodate social distancing including the elimination of field trips. 

“Please keep in mind that although we will be working hard to follow CDC recommendations during this time, maintaining ‘social distancing’ will be difficult among littles and the risk of transmission remains,” the survey read under option A. 

Option B would create a calendar of events for the parents to sign their children up for, while option C was to eliminate camp all together this year. 

Out of 101 people surveyed, 61 people voted for option A which was then endorsed by Cyr at the Board of Selectmen meeting June 8, when the board OK’d the alternative program. 

“I’m proud of the modified summer camp we are offering this year,” Cyr said. “I think everyone acknowledges the need for kids to get out of the house and socialize, after being stuck at home for the last few months.”

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