October 31st, 2020

YMCA to offer summer camp programming


By Jensen, Randy on June 11, 2020.

YMCA communications director Ross Jacobs speaks with reporters Wednesday as the organization works to navigate reopening of programming and amenities at the Cor Van Raay YMCA. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Greg Bobinec

Lethbridge Herald

gbobinec@lethbridgeherald.com

With the government of Alberta’s second phase reopening starting, the YMCA of Lethbridge is still working to find the best methods at restarting a variety of their programming in coming weeks.

The Cor Van Raay YMCA is the third-largest YMCA facility in North America and accounts for the largest amount of foot traffic for a recreation facility south of Calgary. With all of the space it may seem like a social distancing can be met for programming, but with child care, gyms, pools and recreation rooms all having different health regulations, conflicts arise.

“One of the main challenges that we face moving forward right now is the announcement has been made and everyone is excited for reopening, but there are still guidelines that need to be met and sometimes the guidelines conflict with each other,” says Ross Jacobs, director of communication, YMCA Lethbridge. “This is a multi-use facility that includes a gym, pool, as well as multi-use spaces, child care, each one of those having guidelines and restrictions for those operations, so we have to find a way to meet things like capacity limits that are uniform across the board. Traffic flow in this building with although how big it is, certain areas can be restrictive so we have to work through those plans.”

Although YMCA Lethbridge isn’t ready to open to the public just yet, they are excited to announce they will be operating their summer camps for 2020.

“It may not be the camp programming you are used to, social distancing requirements, health screens, and camp cohort sizes and other safety precautions will be in place,” says Jacobs. “Some of the amenities in previous years may not be part of our curriculum of 2020.”

While the YMCA was announcing the launch of summer camp programming, with Tuesday’s provincial announcement to proceed with Phase 2, the opportunity to offer more programming was there, and the team needs a little more time to expand what they can offer.

“I was hoping to provide registration dates for the public, however, the changes because of yesterday’s announcements are very positive and give us more camp programming options that we haven’t previously been able to offer,” says Jacobs. “We just require a little bit more time to pivot and to change the camp structure, so that we can open up more spaces and programming to both our paid and assisted families. We will also be releasing in the coming days our application for assisted funding for our summer camp programming. We know this pandemic has hit Albertan families hard, and the YMCA will do everything in its power to assist as many families as we can, so our kids can experience life returning to normal this summer.”

With businesses and community activities and organizations slowly reopening, YMCA Lethbridge is excited to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but says there is a long way to go before their facility will completely reopen, and is expecting health screenings and restrictions for a long time.

“We look forward to working with our partners, the City of Lethbridge, to reopen the Cor Van Raay YMCA in due time,” says Jacobs. “We are not going to rush our reopening, we will be extending the membership hold for all of our current members until Dec. 31. Members who wish to return will need to reactivate their memberships in order to return when they are ready. The process for that reactivation will be coming in the coming weeks.”

YMCA Lethbridge says it will keep community members up-to-date with every announcement made through their website, ymcalethbridge.ca, on their Facebook page, as well as their new direct texting platform, where people can text COVID to their office number, 403-942-5757, for the latest information announcements released to their phones.

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