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Summer camp amid COVID-19: Youth at Fontenelle Forest wear face masks, social distance

Published: Jul. 9, 2020 at 1:43 PM CDT
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BELLEVUE, Neb. (WOWT) - For many kids, summertime means summer camp.

With directed health measures easing, Fontenelle Forest opened for kids to come enjoy the outdoors, but they need to pack masks.

“It’s sort of just like camp, but we just have to wear masks and socially distance. It’s still fun,” one camper said.

Most of the 13 kids 6 News spoke with at the Camp Wakonda site have been there before, but there are some newcomers.

But new for everyone this year is face masks.

Pattarawan Watcharaanantapong, the director of education with Fontenelle Forest, said the decision to welcome back kids in person was one taken with a lot of care and consideration.

“All of the kids they already wear the masks all of the time,” Watcharaanantapong said. “We give them some break time, but we tell them to keep 6 feet distancing.”

The campers don’t seem to mind.

“I see people wear masks everywhere, like in stores,” one said.

On top of the new facial accessory, common areas like bathrooms are being cleaned more often. Camp directors also bought additional equipment for their activities.

“All the supply that they have, they have their own. So you see each bow belongs to each person and we put their name on it,” she said. “So we make sure that the same person uses the same bow all of the time.”

There’s another campsite for younger kids, more counselors were hired to man both camps without any crossover.

“We have two back up plan to make sure if some staff gets sick or like they cannot come to work, we have another backup plan,” Watcharaanantapong said.

But not everyone is ready to come back.

Jessica Brummer, the director of communications at The Durham Museum, says summer camp at the museum is going to stay online.

“We only have about 4 weeks left and we already have registration for those,” Brummer said. “So those will remain virtual for the time being in the first phase of the museum opening.”

Whether it’s camp online or in person, camp directors have one common goal.

“Make the kids very safe. For the parents, make sure they send to the right place,” Watcharaanantapong said.

Both The Durham Museum and Fontenelle Forest are looking towards the Fall and what additional activities can be held then.

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