Summer Camps seek to find their way through pandemic
Several camps hope to offer sessions for low-income children
Camp Gifford cleans camp, remains hopeful
The Spokane Salvation Army's Camp Gifford on Loon Lake began clean up in May with volunteers helping to clean the grounds, weed the property and pull necessary items out of storage.
In these uncertain times, The Salvation Army believes that hope is greater than fear and plans to open Camp Gifford to give more than 1,000 children an outdoor camp experience.
About 80 percent of the children who attend Camp Gifford are on scholarships. With sailboats, a rock wall and ziplines, Camp Gifford offers a chance for children to find themselves, make new friends and experience creation in all its beauty.
"While we're hopeful of being able to operate summer programs, there is still work to be done. Whether Camp Gifford opens this year or not, the grounds must still be maintained," said Major Ken Perine of the Salvation Army of Spokane.
"Camp Gifford is not only a bright spot in Eastern Washington," he said, "but it's also a bright spot in the lives of many children. It's an experience they carry with them throughout their lives, so we hope to provide the experience, not just this year, but for many years to come."
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Kroc plans to run day camps
The Kroc Center in Coeur d'Alene will offer full- and half-day camps beginning June 15, said Colin Lynch, programs manager.
They will add two-hour mini-camp sessions after the week of July 4. Camps will run through the week of August 17 to 21.
"We will try to make the camp experience as normal as possible, within guidelines set by Idaho's Governor Brad Little," said Colin.
Full-day camps will welcome children of all ages. Half-day camps are for ages four through five. The mini day camps will run for five days, two hours each day.
They will focus on topics that are age specific for ages four through 14.
In July, the focus is on arts and dance.
While the camps are open to all children in the community, they also function as child care for parents who are working, not only for those in jobs considered essential but also for those in regular jobs.
At the beginning, campers will be dropped off and checked in outside. Staff will engage in extra cleaning, both of the facilities and making sure campers wash hands between activities, said Colin.
"We will practice social distancing, which will restrict some activities, such as contact sports. We have cancelled field trips for early sessions," he said.
Anticipating Idaho to be in Phase 4 after July 4, he expects camps to be normalized by then, but continue social distancing and increased cleaning measures.
For information, call 208-763-0641 or visit kroccda.org.
UGM Camp working out details for late opening
Using Center for Disease Control Guidelines for Camps, Ryan Brown, youth outreach director at Union Gospel Mission (UGM), said the UGM Camp, an hour out of Spokane on the Spokane River, was still working out the details for opening from July 7 to Aug. 19.
"We are moving forward with camp," he said. "In addition, we will do our inner-city programs in Spokane."
Ryan, who checked into the Union Gospel Mission men's shelter 25 years ago, addicted since he was a young teenager, believes "reaching children is key to breaking the generational cycles of poverty, abuse and addiction that feed homelessness."
Camp is part of that effort, so the UGM summer programs will be open for seven weeks.
The Young Club, inner city activities for eight to 12 year olds, will run from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Tuesdays through Thursdays during that period. IMPACT, inner-city activities for ages 12 to 18, will be held from 3 to 8 p.m., Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, at the Student Impact Center.
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Copyright@ The Fig Tree, June, 2020