The Boys and Girls Club of Kingston and Area (BGCK) is expanding their summer camp operations into the City’s east end, following overwhelming demand.
BGCK announced on Jun. 19, 2020 that their summer camp programs would proceed. The news came at an uncertain time, as other summer day camp providers such as the YMCA of Eastern Ontario have opted to cancel their summer programming in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We had 1,000 camp spots filled within a few hours from the launch of registration,” said Sara Gervais, Supervisor of Programs for BGCK. “That’s about half of the total number of camp spots we are offering for the entire eight weeks of summer camps.”
BGCK said clear need for more camp spots led them to seek out new collaborations to broaden the reach of service. The Club will now run additional summer day camps at Lasalle Secondary School (LSS), the sixth confirmed camp location so far.
“We are currently serving North, Central, and West Kingston areas through our locations,” said Tony Gargaro, Director of Operations. “We saw the need to branch out to the East End too. And that is where an agreement with the Limestone District School Board became key.”
The LSS location will receive 32 new camp spots in four groups, each week. BGCK said this will support an additional 192 children for the 2020 summer season. Half of these spots are for four- and five-year-olds, and the other half for children aged six to 12 years old. The summer camps at LSS will run from July 6 to August 14, with limited subsidized spaces available.
“It has been a massive administrative undertaking to manage all of the registration and subsidy requests in the last few days,” says Gervais, noting that anyone who has already secured a camp spot will not be able to switch to the new location.
“We are continuously evaluating our capacity to expand the reach of summer camp, based on the available resources, and compliance to all health and safety guidelines,” said Gargaro.
Executive Director of the BGCK, Harold Parsons, said the organization has been rising to the challenge to support the community at a critical time.
“It has been an intense couple of weeks as we prepared to start camps today. We are grateful to our partners who are making this endeavour possible, in particular the City of Kingston, the Limestone District School Board, and the United Way,” Parsons said.
For more information or to register, visit the Boys and Girls Club of Kingston and Area summer camps website.