By Michelle Robertson
Summer break has officially begun, but this summer is going to be quite different from summers past. As we navigate the realms of Covid-19, summer youth programs will not be the same.
Many churches have canceled their summer Vacation Bible School (VBS) programs or opted to host them virtually. One such VBS is Sunset Church of Christ. This virtual VBS will take place June 1-5th, and you can register your child here. Word of Life (WOL) church is planning on hosting their Summer Splash event on Sunday August 2nd, 2020. Jason Shirley, Pastor at WOL said, “We will do something for the kids this summer, we just aren’t sure exactly what it will be. We want to do our Summer Splash, but it depends on guidelines from the state.” Look for updates on their Facebook page.
First Tee of Southeastern New Mexico has opened registration for its First Tee summer classes, which will be held in July. You can register here. Sessions are $60, with payment due the first day of class. You can call 575-623-4444 for more information.
Little Cavegirls Summer volleyball camp is scheduled for the last week of June. Coach Hannah Hamblin says, “it’s looking like it’s not going to happen this year.” There isn’t much information available at this time. Follow their Cavegirl Volleyball Facebook page for updates.
Tennis lessons typically would have started the Tuesday after Memorial Day and ran for 6 weeks. Charlie Jurva, coordinator for the tennis lessons says “I am still waiting on the Governor’s Office to allow group lessons. I am guessing the earliest it would be is June 8th.” When there is information available you will be able to find it posted on the Carlsbad Community Calendar Facebook page.
Scouting organizations are opting for virtual summer camps. In a letter from Patty Craven, the CEO of the Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest, a pause, pivot, and prepare tactic is being taken. In-person resident camps are being paused until 2021. The pivot is to an online summer camp. Girls will have the same camp opportunities as an in-person event, just online. Camp kits will be sent out after signing up with the supplies needed to participate. The prepare part is preparing for a more virtual landscape, including meetings, activities, day camps, and STEM programs. To learn more about the Girl Scouting experience visit www.gsdsw.org or their social media pages.
Boy Scouts of America Conquistador Council has also published a letter regarding the 2020 resident camp being suspended. They will be offering a virtual camp with more information forthcoming. At this time, day camp operations have been moved from June to July, they should have plans finalized around June 15. Watch their social media page for more info or visit the website at https://www.conquistador-bsa.net/
Camp Mary White is an all-girls camp that usually hosts a summer program. This year it will be virtual the 5th – 18th of July. Follow them on Facebook, and you can find more information here.
Inspired by Science camp is typically held the first week of June, and although it has been canceled there is good news. President and founder of the non-profit organization, Deena Antiporda shared the following, “Inspired by Science camp was cancelled this summer due to the Coronavirus, however, we are exploring options to provide science fun in another way. Watch our Facebook page for announcements in the coming weeks!”
Difficulties in providing in person summer youth programs stem from the current Covid-19 situation. The state has released, All Together New Mexico: Covid-safe practices for individuals and employers, this 47-page document details different aspects of re-opening. Page 17 highlights youth programs and contains detailed instructions for hosting them. Some of the required Covid safe practices are: 5:1 child to adult ratio from the local geographic location only, self-contained groupings, activities limited to those that can maintain the 6 feet social distancing, testing for all staff at beginning of program and as needed, daily temperature checks of all participants, and many more that can be found here.
In a memo dated May 19, 2020 from the Public Education Department (PED) the summer K-5 Plus Program and the K-12 Plus Pilot Program have been canceled for this summer. The memo states, “Given the uncertainty of COVID-19 and its possible effects on public health this summer, it would be difficult to meet program requirements, which include students remaining with same teacher during the regular school year and participation-based funding, while adhering to public health requirements. The safety of our students and educators is our first priority.”
Carlsbad Municipal Schools will start its “Summer Lunch Program” on June 1. Free “Grab and Go” summer meals are available to all children age 18 and younger, Monday through Friday, from June 1 through July 24. No meals will be served on July 3. Meal locations are Sunset, Desert Willow, 6th Grade Academy, CIS and Hillcrest, from about 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Adults can get a lunch tray for $4, there are also drinks available for sale.
With camps, courses, and sessions being offered online this summer it creates the opportunity to participate with various organizations around the state and country. Check your favorite museum and see what their virtual offerings are. The best way to find out if your favorite summer youth program is going to happen or not is to follow their social media pages or visit their website to get program info directly.