Summer camp begins at Jennersville YMCA in Chester County

WEST GROVE, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- The Jennersville YMCA in West Grove, Chester County welcomed campers Monday for the first time this summer. To call the kids excited is an understatement.

"They basically ran out of their cars, they saw their counselors from last year, and really it couldn't have gone any better this morning," said Marissa Stigler, the camp director.

Summer camps across Pennsylvania got the "OK" to open under the state's yellow phase, with a set of safety guidelines, including installing handwashing stations, requiring temperature checks when kids are dropped off and having the staff wear masks.

"We're following the CDC, the ACA, and the state of Pennsylvania and they've been great with giving us updates with what to wear, what to do, what to disinfect," said Aaron Karpas, the executive director of the Jennersville YMCA.

While admittedly difficult to have young children social distance, one of the ways the camp is working on it is by breaking the kids into small groups where they'll have the same counselor every day. For example, while one team is under the pavilion having lunch, another may be across the park playing a game.

"They're with their same kids and friends for the entire week and sometimes the whole summer," said Karpas.

The first day brought about 45 kids to camp, about half of a normal week in June. The staff does expect that number to go up.

"Parents are still at home, a lot of them aren't back to work yet but we do think the numbers are going to go up because we're going to have a safe and fun time this summer," said Karpas.

"I'm hoping that other people can see the importance of summer camp, in that if you can do it safely it's really beneficial for the kids. They need to get outside, they need to run around and have some sense of normalcy," said Stigler.
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