HAPPY CAMPERS

Kids and counselors with the East Greenwich Parks and Recreation Department’s summer camp program take a short timeout to calmly pose for a photo. 

 

EAST GREENWICH–With summer here, the pandemic easing and things beginning to open up, the yearly summer camp program run by the East Greenwich Parks and Recreation Department is up and running.

And, no one could be happier than the kids taking part  in the program. According to the campers, their parents seem glad they’re out of the house and having fun. They called the camp “super fun,” “cool,” and “awesome.”

“They have a lot fun activities,” one camper said, “like setting up an Olympics type of competition.”

Because the virus is still active in the state, town guidelines require everyone to wear a mask, to try and keep some semblance of social distancing, so the counselors separated then into different groups to compete against each other in the daily Olympic activities and to ensure they stayed within their group so if someone was to get sick the contact tracing would be easier.

In addition to town COVID guidelines, the campers and counselors also follow the CDC and Rhode Island Department of Health’s recommendations.

There are about 90 to 100 kids taking part in the summer-long program, says Josh Wolff, program coordinator.

The older kids (second, third, fourth and fifth graders) said they know about COVID and the steps they need to take to keep everyone safe.

“We have good cooperation between the parents and staff,” Wolff added. “And we’re back to pre-COVID attendance.”

After a tough year of going back-and-forth between in-person and distance learning, Wolff said the kids are just happy to be hanging out with their friends, and making new ones in a safe environment.

There are actually two different camps, one at Frenchtown Elementary School and the other at Cole Elementary School.

The morning program is for specialty activities, such a craft making, art, a small Broadway theater troupe that is learning to do the Great White Way types of shows, tennis, basketball, and stitch and sew, and science.

Many of the instructors are local artisans who share their love for their work with the kids.

“Most of the time those who want to be instructors approach us,” Wolff said. “We also ask around to see if anyone might be interested. We’ve been working for a long time to find instructors.”

“We have a good operation here,” Wolff added.

As for the counselors, they love working with the kids, and department officials treat them like they’re one of the kids.

Many of the counselors are returnees, and Wolff said he finds it easy to recruit new staff saying local college students who know of the program get their applications in the late winter wanting to assure themselves a place on the staff.

The camp is held five-days a week at the Frenchtown Elementary School, and if the weather is inclement the whole camp is moved into the school for sports activities in the gym and craft making in the classrooms.

Wolff said the school district has been really accommodating and sharing the school with the kids.

For more information about the remaining day and half-day camps call the rec department at (401) 886-8626.

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