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Boys and Girls club opens summer camp

After two delays, the Boys and Girls Club of West Georgia opened its summer camp Monday.

For the week of July 6, the camp will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If all goes well, the club will be open the same hours Monday-Friday of the next week.

“That will make it better for the kids and the parents as well to get back into some kind of normal routine,” Boys and Girls Club board member Curt Snider said. 

Along with a shorter week, parents and children will notice several other virus-related changes. Staff members will meet participants at their vehicles and ask parents about their family’s health. Before entering the former Cannon Street Elementary School building, children will have their temperatures checked. 

A sanitizing station will be located at the front door, and children will be taken to their assigned room.

Typically, adolescents go to different classrooms throughout the day. However, now they will stay in one, which will be regularly disinfected. Two staff members will be in each room with a maximum of nine campers. All staff members are required to wear masks while children are asked to wear them. Masks will be provided at the door.

“This year our challenge, like most nonprofits, has been the additional costs because of COVID,” Snider said. “We have to have the thermometers and a lot of different chemicals for cleaning. We need a disinfectant with a two-minute kill time in the classrooms, and one with a 15-minute kill time for the playground and gymnasium. We also hired a company to come in each week for deep cleaning.”

The camp is open to children ages 5 to 17 and costs $100 for members and $160 for non-members. 

Snider said the camp has some spots available due to the two delays. 

While many aspects of the camp have changed, Snider said the program will still focus on the club’s three principles – academic success, healthy lifestyles and character/citizenship. 

“We hope that as we open the doors that we will have more children to come, and I think we will, especially after the first week,” Snider said.

The camp was first scheduled to open on June 15 with new safety policies in place.

However, the day before, several news outlets reported that LaGrange was a hotspot for COVID-19. The board of directors decided to reschedule for June 22 and have training instead.  

Thursday, June 16, Snider received a call from a volunteer who tested positive for the virus and was asymptomatic. The staff had worn masks and practiced social distancing during the training, so after consulting the health department, local doctors, and the National Boys and Girls Club, the board decided to continue as planned. However, two days before the opening, an employee also tested positive. Since then, the Boys and Girls Club has been on a 14-day quarantine.

Currently, board members are waiting to learn the Troup County’s Board of Education’s plans for 2020-21, which is scheduled to begin Aug. 10, to see if they need to adjust their school year schedule and routines. 

Typically the club serves students after school from 2:30 to 6 p.m.

For more information about the summer camp, call the Boys and Girls Club at 706-812-9698 or visit its website – https://www.bgcwestgeorgia.org.