Summer Camp 2020 is Back at Thrive 9th Ward
As New Orleans' collective efforts have helped lessen the number of cases and allowed the city to move into phase 2, the Florida and Desire neighborhoods patiently awaited the news they had been waiting for: would summer camp proceed as usual this year?
For many kids and teens across the city, Summer Camp is the highlight of their year; a chance to let loose and explore their creativity through a variety of activities like swimming, basketball, arts and crafts and so much more.
But this year has been unlike any other, with COVID-19 sending families into a funk as they took on responsibilities of teacher, entertainer and childcare provider for their children when their schools and daycares closed indefinitely. After many months of isolation, the thought of summer camp reopening was a glimmer of hope for parents and their children alike.
Fortunately, after weeks of re-organizing, preparing and working with city officials to create a safe space for the community, Thrive 9th Ward is pleased to announce that NORDC summer camp has officially returned this June!
Opening Their Doors With Safety as the Top Priority
Before making the announcement that Summer Camp would return to the public, it was imperative to staff at T9 that the campers’ safety remain a top priority and concern.
“We had to jump through many hoops to get here, but we’re confident that we’ve created an environment where kids can have fun and stay safe,” says Oscar Brown, Director of Thrive 9th Ward.
Adhering to social distancing protocol, T9 will be cutting their summer camp numbers in half, with exactly 72 campers in attendance. Throughout the duration of camp, campers will be required to stick with their designated groups of 9 and no outside visitors will be allowed in the building - including parents who will have to sign their campers in and out of camp outside.
In addition to social distancing, T9 is ensuring that campers’ temperatures will be monitored throughout the day and that their families will have access to thermometers at home. Campers will also learn important lessons about hygiene and safety
While most summer camp activities will remain the same, there will be obvious changes in the way T9 facilitates them. Historically, swimming has been one of the most popular summer camp activities, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, campers will not be able to swim this summer. But T9 is ensuring that campers still have an opportunity to get their feet wet during “Water Days” where campers can have fun with water slides and more!
“My favorite thing about camp is that we can play any sport we want!” says one camper who’s attended for three years. “But basketball and volleyball are my favorites!”
Campers are also looking forward to a range of activities from field days to arts and crafts that they can take home to their families as keepsakes of their summer.
T9 is also excited for this year’s summer camp to welcome a group of new campers to the Thrive community!
In anticipation of summer camp beginning next week, T9 staff have been tirelessly rearranging the facility to make the most of the space they have in order to accommodate campers comfortably.
“This is a big deal for us. We’ve been praying every day for summer camp to work out this year, and we’re so excited for the opportunity to come together once again,” says Oscar. “This is going to be a great opportunity to bring the community together with safety as the foundation.”
Thrive 9th Ward is looking forward to the day that they can reopen their doors to the public, but for now, the staff are enjoying the small victories, and making progress in creating a safe place for the Desire neighborhood to come together as a community.