For social distancing purposes, the city limited registration and spread the camp across multiple locations.
By: Marsha Lidskin, city of Palm Coast
Campers and counselors at Palm Coast’s 2020 Fun in the Sun Summer Camp were not sure what to expect, but even in the shadow of COVID-19, city staff were still about to create a fun environment for 76 kids this year.
City staff had limited time to pull together CDC-recommended safety plans and redirect city personnel. The biggest challenge was providing camp in a way that accommodates COVID-19 safety precautions.
Everyone followed safety measures, practicing consistent social distancing, using hand sanitizer, following drive-thru camper drop-off and pick-up, and taking temperatures.
"We were more innovative and creative than ever before in providing our Fun in the Sun summer camp during this challenging time," said Parks & Recreation Director Lauren Johnston. "I am so proud of the resiliency demonstrated by our staff and the collaboration it took across our entire department to offer this wonderful service to the youth in our community."
Camp counselors needed to schedule activities in three different locations and limit registration to half the normal spots in order to follow social distancing. Despite this year’s challenges and unpredictability, summer camp was a huge success.
“Because of the creativity and dedication of our counselors, campers were never bored,” said Youth Recreation Specialist Ashley Lewis.
Four separate age groups guided by 17 staff members met at the Community Center. Then, after Flagler County School District, announced the delayed start to school, Parks & Rec staff jumped at the chance to continue offering quality recreation experiences for children.
Camp moved to the Palm Coast Aquatics Center classroom and Linear Park and filled every day with laughter and delight.
Campers cooked, made crafts, did science experiments, held sports competitions, and enjoyed outdoor water activities. They invented new games with props such as hula hoops and scooters.
Camp offered the perfect reprieve for kids who had been mostly at home for two months.
One dad whose 9-year-old daughter joined Fun in the Sun Camp was particularly impressed.
His family was visiting Palm Coast this summer from Virginia, and his daughter has attended camps in many other cities and states. '
“This is the best time she’s ever had in any camp,” he shared. “Thank you for making her summer so special this year.”