Day camps are set to begin operating this summer at 18 neighbourhood parks in Vancouver and VanDusen Botanical Garden.
The Vancouver Park Board and Community Centre Associations (CCAs) will operate day camps in parks for seven weeks beginning July 20, while the Vancouver Botanical Gardens Association (VBGA) will operate nature camps for eight weeks at VanDusen Garden beginning June 29.
“Day camps provide childcare for working parents and opportunities for children to recreate and socialize with peers, as well as employment, training, and volunteer opportunities for local youth,” said Park Board Chair Camil Dumont.
“Day camps also foster community connectedness and social belonging for children, which is so important after this long period of isolation and disconnection due to the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The Park Board and CCA day camps will include activities ranging from arts, dance, sports, walks, and games for children and youth, ages six to 12.
Children, youth, and parents will be asked to arrive at designated check-in/out locations on staggered schedules. Day camp leaders (one leader per five children) will guide children to designated and physical distanced activity areas marked with clear signage.
The following guidelines will also be implemented:
- Parents will complete a daily verbal health screening with staff, who will document responses and retain for records.
- Children will be assigned individual bags of supplies, such as scissors and markers, for use throughout the week and stored on site. At the end of each week items will be disinfected to allow use by another child.
- Sports equipment will be stored in bins and cleaned after use.
- Clear instructions on hand washing before and after each activity will be provided and children directed to avoid physical touching and to practice physical distancing.
- High touch surfaces will be regularly cleaned.
The VBGA camps are limited to nine children each, five to 10 years of age, and will take place in less populated areas of the 22-hectare (55-acre) garden. The parking lot will be used as a check in and check out point with participants entering the garden through a separate entrance from regular visitors in order to reduce contact and ensure physical distancing. Registration for day camps at VanDusen Garden is already full.
All day camp activities will be COVID compliant and based on Provincial Health Officer, Vancouver Coastal Health and BC Recreation and Parks Association guidelines.
The Park Board is taking a thoughtful and phased reopening and recovery approach in alignment with the BC Restart Plan, and in consultation with various government and non-government agencies and partners.
In recent weeks, the Park Board has reopened golf courses, VanDusen Botanical Garden, tennis and pickleball courts, pitch & putts, skate parks, synthetic sports fields, basketball and volleyball courts, disc golf, roller hockey, multisport courts, and playgrounds. Spray parks will begin opening across the city June 27. Beginning July 13, Kitsilano, New Brighton, and Second Beach outdoor pools will open and nine Vancouver beaches will be staffed with lifeguards. Maple Grove Pool will also open, but might be slightly delayed while staff configure the online booking system.
The Park Board continues to review the feasibility of reopening other facilities and services and will make adjustments to its operations based on the latest information provided by Vancouver Coastal Health, the Provincial Health Officer, and industry partners.
For more information about the status of services and facilities impacted by COVID-19, please visit: vancouver.ca/covid19.