Summer is approaching and many parents and kids are wondering what camps will be open this year.
Although directors of several camps say their plans are subject to change, some are planning to host non-traditional camping experiences taking into account social distance guidelines.
Chris Rasure, executive director of Discovery Science Place in Tyler, said that although plans have been made for reopening the children’s museum, he is waiting to hear what Gov. Greg Abbott will say about the next phase of reopening the state’s economy.
“All plans are subject to change,” Rasure said. “Currently the museum is planning for limited reopening on May 29, and we will only open Friday Saturday and Sunday for two distinct time slots depending on Gov. Abbott’s announcement on the 18th. We originally planned to open camps June 1 but we are likely to push back to June 15.”
He said once camps start, they likely would run throughout the remainder of the summer with a limited number of campers.
“The number of spots available will be cut in half from previous years,” Rasure said.
Summer camps at the science center feature subjects ranging from space and engineering to kitchen chemistry.
Scott Maddox, assistant director of Caldwell Zoo, said camps at the zoo likely not take place.
“We are currently taking one step at a time, waiting for more guidance at the governor’s office. We have cancelled the first two weeks in June and are going to take it one step at a time,” Maddox said. “But our current plan is to not have summer camps this year.”
Christopher Leahy, executive director of the Tyler Museum of Art, said the museum does not plan to host summer camps.
In the past, the museum has hosted six weeks of summer camps filled with arts activities.
Tyler Junior College posted the following cancellation statement regarding camps:
“Due to COVID-19, and the difficulty in adhering to physical distancing guidelines in a camp setting, TJC is canceling all summer camps for 2020. The health and safety of our campers are a priority and after careful deliberation it was decided that this is our best course of action at this time.”
Those who had already paid for camps were receiving reimbursements.
At UT Tyler: “Our UT Tyler RecSports Summer Camps are currently on hold due to COVID-19,” said a statement posted by the university. “We are hoping to offer camps starting June 15, however, we will know more in the coming weeks.”
Pine Cove, summer camp at Lake Tyler, has not canceled camps but is making adjustments to its original plans for the summer.
“...We have revised our cancellation policies to serve our camper families well as we know every family has been impacted differently by COVID-19,” said a statement released by Pine Cove.
Pine Cove has submitted a health and safety plan for review by Gov. Abbott’s appointed Texas Strike Force regarding how to safely open up camp.
“Last week, we heard back from the Texas Strike Force and announced that we are officially unable to open overnight youth camp during our week 1, beginning May 24,” the statement said. “All of our campers registered for that week were called and many moved to later weeks this summer or secured their spots for next year. Some of our day camp locations with our church partners have also been interrupted this summer. However, we continue to remain hopeful that we can open all overnight youth camps beginning week 2, May 31.”
LeTourneau University in Longview has announced that camps that were scheduled for June have been cancelled due to caution regarding the pandemic.
“Most other events on campus for June, and some for July, have also been canceled. Sports camps will be decided later, as July nears,” the release said.
The Texas Kampgrounds of America will be open, with some restrictions, for families to use.
“Every campground has their own opening plan,” Mike Gast, vice president of communications of Kampgrounds of America said. “State and local government will instate protocol to follow under local jurisdiction and state jurisdiction, depending on safety and security. A lot won’t open cabins and the shower units will be locked up. Self contained RVs are encouraged because they provide their own shower and beds.”
He said social distancing will be the norm and will be enforced. The distancing will include no large social gatherings at swimming pools.
“Some will be open with limited people involved. Some are talking about timed usage, like 20 minutes to half an hour per one or two families depending on the capacity. Pool furniture gone,” he said.
Policies will following the guidance of government orders and from health officials.
“We want to make sure people can get outside and enjoy the outdoors. The outdoors is where we want people to be, it’s the healthier option. But things will be different for a while,” he said.
“At Koa.com each campground has its own landing page on local restrictions along with a contact page,” he said.