January 17th, 2021

U of L camps keep kids active, engaged

By Woodard, Dale on August 15, 2020.

Eight-year-old Amina Rowland focuses on her next hand hold as she climbs up the wall at the Ascent Climbing Centre as part of the lineup of summer camps being held at the University of Lethbridge. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Dale Woodard

Lethbridge Herald


Summer camps are in session at the University of Lethbridge.

Whether you want to climb a wall, kick a soccer ball, shoot a few baskets, swim some laps, do a little fencing or study the sciences the option is there for the summer students despite the ongoing COVID-19 concerns.

“We have our multi-activity camps, which gives the campers the ability to roam across all of our facilities and do a bit of climbing, swimming and gym time. Usually in the summer we would go out to the spray park, but we can’t do that because of COVID,” said Lorenzo Bachman-Conrad of Horns Recreation. “For those kids that want to get more general we’re offering climbing camps and in addition we’re also offering basketball camps, soccer camps, fencing camps and drama and ringette camps. For kids who are interested in the sciences or the STEM field we have the Destination Exploration camps as well.”

Since opening at the beginning of July, attendance numbers have gone up as people became more comfortable.

“It was definitely quiet when we first started and as the weeks have gone on we’ve seen those numbers go up. There was some apprehension at the beginning with COVID, but we’re doing our best to follow the regulations. Once parents knew we’re doing the camps I think there’s a little less apprehension and we got the ball rolling a bit more.”

The facilities opened at the beginning of July and by the second week of July the camps started rolling.

“Since we closed in March every single meeting we’ve had since then was about reopening,” said Bachman-Conrad. “So we’ve been planning for a long time and really making sure we’ll be ready to deliver these camps.”

Each camp is allowed up to 50 participants, said Bachman-Conrad.

“The multi-event camp numbers are a bit lower for the next couple of weeks just because we’ve had more camps open up that are more specific. Usually the camps aren’t full, but very close. There is space for those who want to join. We’ve tried to keep the numbers competitive so we can have enough kids so that it’s fun, but also so we can maintain proper physical distancing.”

Bachman-Conrad said the U of L started off with E-Summer Camps.

“It was a program called Mini U. The ability to see 20 or 30 kids logged into a Zoom meeting was cool, because they’re taking part with technology and we were still delivering captivating programming.

But judging by the camp numbers, kids were equally excited to get back in the gym, in the pool or on the climbing wall.

“You can only do so much through a screen,” said Bachman-Conrad. “So the feedback from the kids has been positive now that they’re back in the facilities. The kids did great (before), but they’re even happier to be back in the facilities.”

And the COVID-19 regulations and protocol are recognized.

“Kids on the (climbing) wall wear masks, but they’re also socially distanced from other climbers,” said Bachman-Conrad. “Luckily for us, those ropes were six feet apart when we started. Other kids will be wearing masks any time they’re in a large group. If there is a situation where they’re all playing games and it’s hard to breathe or they’re exercising, the masks come off and we make sure physical distancing is maintained. We make sure there is the six-feet-apart regulation and the kids have been great following that.

“We just had a mandate come down from the university that masks are mandatory. So what that means in our facilities in any common areas, change rooms and things where social distancing can be hard we provide masks if you don’t bring them and we ask you wear masks in those areas.”

Summer camps run for another two weeks up to the end of the month.

“There is still space in those camps and you can see up-to-date information on exactly what is available on our website,” said Bachman-Conrad.

All summer camp and upcoming fall camp information can be found at http://www.uleth.ca/sportrec.

“We just opened our registration for fall programs,” said Bachman-Conrad. “Pretty much all of our programs are running with the exception of private swim lessons. We’re doing some more research and we have a lot of community interest as to how we can reopen that program successfully. In the meantime we have active fencing, acro-dance and advanced aquatic programs in the fall.”

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