It’s been a tough time to be a kid this summer as COVID-19 has kept many cooped up at home or at least has limited what kids can do.
But earlier in July, Litchfield Unlimited Corporation and the Edwardsville YMCA collaborated to bring a little normalcy to children in the area with a series of day camps in Litchfield.
“We thought it was a good opportunity to provide some camps and some fun stuff to do this summer and bring that to Litchfield,” Natasha Howard of the Edwardsville YMCA.
And there was plenty of fun stuff to go around. The camps were split into sports, art and theatre, with activities for 86 kids from kindergarten through eighth grade.
The Sports Frenzy was for kindergarten through second graders on July 13-16 and third through fifth graders on July 20-23. A soccer skills camp was also held for those age groups, with the younger group on July 20-23 and the older kids the week before.
“The various groups did dodgeball, wiffle ball, a soccer day, but they also had the parachute out and did capture the flag with the older kids,” It was really hilarious to watch the staff each captain a team and the kids going at it.”
The theatre camps were split into three groups, kindergarten through second, third through fifth and sixth through eighth, all on July 20-23. Each group worked on a mini-play, which was filmed, but the campers also learned about the behind the scenes aspect of the theatre.
“They also did things like mask making and talked about casting, sets and costumes and what that looks like.” Howard said. “It was sort of like a theatre sampler.”
The art camps were broken down similarly to the theatre camp and were held on July 13-16. Also, like the theatre camps, the kids were given the opportunity to experiment with different mediums, including painting, drawing and sculpting.
“The older kids did these really cool sculptures over a piece of wire and attached to a wood block. You were able to paint it and bend it into all of these really cool shapes,” Howard said.
And fortunately, they were able to do it all in person, with masks and social distancing taking a precedent.
“When the pandemic started, we had some back-up plans to go virtually if needed,” Howard said. “We kind of re-arranged several times, then pushed it back to July in hopes of having it in person. Luckily, it worked out that way.”
Howard said that the kids and staff also handled the changes well as they wore masks to reduce the risk of exposure and did extra cleaning before and after the camps.
With outside financial support, the camps were just $5 per person and more than 85 campers enjoyed the assorted activities. Hopes are high from both the YMCA and Litchfield Unlimited that this is just the start of things to come for the community.
“We are in the process of working on a survey and circulating that through the community,” Howard said. “It will give us an idea of what people want to see next in terms of programing next year. We want to get out to as many people as we can to see what they want in Litchfield.”
“The verbal feedback has been great,” said Marci Johnson of Litchfield Unlimited. “I believe that our relationship with the Edwardsville YMCA is really good and I think that’s another reason why the camps were a success.”