COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A summertime staple is returning to Columbus for kids and teens. Monday, the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department (CRPD) kicked off the first day of summer camp.
Whetstone Community Center is hosting more than four dozen campers ages six to 14-years-old for tennis and soccer camps. Monday, heavy rain and thunder forced the kids indoors for other games and art projects.
In 2020, pandemic restrictions limited camp capacity to a fraction of normal participation. This year the department is opening up registration to larger groups, but still modifying its programs with current social distancing and masking guidelines in mind.
Chief Communications Officer Kerry Francis explained the department will work closely with Columbus Public Health to implement evolving guidance.
Throughout the summer, CRPD will host more than 3,000 campers at more than 50 camps. Many will attend multiple camps. The number of registered kids and teens surpasses pre-pandemic numbers from 2019.
During a recent surge in youth-related violence, the city of Columbus enlisted CRPD’s help to create positive outlets for kids and teens. Programming, like late-night basketball, is intended as a way to both prevent violence and keep young people safe.
Francis said the department’s summer camp programs have a similar goal of creating positive, engaging experiences for kids and teens.
“Kids need a nice, safe, constructive place to spend their summer. That way they’re not left to their own devices and bored at home. It helps with their emotional development, their social development, and even their educational development,” she said.
Many of CRPD’s summer camps are already filled, but Francis said there are still openings in some of the programs. You can find out more about availability and sign up by visiting https://crpdcamps.com/.