FORT WAYNE, Ind. — The Wellspring Summer Day Camp, like so many others, is back after COVID-19 forced its cancellation last year.
Wellspring Summer Day Camp Director Melissa Rinehart says she’s pumped to be back, even if at only two-thirds capacity.
"We’re excited. There’s going to be field trips and on-site visits," Rinehart said.
But also a lot of cleaning.
"We’ll have sanitizer and a lot of hand-washing and whatnot, and just being more mindful of everyone’s interactions and the touching and things like that," Rinehart said.
Programs across the area are trying to navigate how to re-open safely.
Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Director Chuck Reddinger says even with the progress we’ve made against COVID-19, we’re not out of the woods yet.
"Even though we’re starting to get some lifting of the mask mandates, we had to make those decisions a couple months ago," Reddinger said. "And frankly, kids haven’t been vaccinated yet, and they have the chance of spreading COVID around."
At camps across Fort Wayne, groups will be smaller and kids will be asked to wear masks. And while that’s not expected to change throughout the summer, directors say the important thing is that kids are able to have fun together.
"We’re hoping the experience itself will be pretty much the same," said STARBASE Indiana Director Evan Smith. "We’re working with smaller groups. They’ll be doing the same sort of activities that we’d like to do even with the larger ones, just smaller groups. And we’ll be doing more of our activities outside as well."
Smith says he plans to keep masks and social distancing throughout the summer.
Reddinger also prefers to err on the side of caution to avoid shutting down the Franke Park program for the second time in his long career.
"We feel we have a safe strategy for our six weeks of programming, and we’ll probably continue that," Reddinger said. "But again, we’ll always to continue to monitor the situation, and we’ll adapt as needed like we have for the last year - year and a half."
Reddinger says the Parks website will stay updated with any changing local guidelines.
The camp directors say they’ll reevaluate health protocols when planning for next year’s camps, which usually begins around January.