By Conor McCue

DENVER (CBS4) – Summer day camps and youth sports camps will soon welcome kids again in Colorado. On Monday, Gov. Jared Polis announced they can open next week, but overnight and residential camps will remain closed for now.

The announcement came as good news to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, which offers a number of summer camps every year. Come June 15, the day camps will continue, offering kids hands-on scientific experiences, and their parents a possible sigh of relief.

(credit: CBS)

“We know that they’re scheduling for themselves and for their children for the full summer, so these camps become really important to allow them to work as well,” said Tina Martinez, director of experiences and partnerships with the museum.

Under new state guidelines, physical distancing and face covering requirements will be part of the new normal. Group size will be another challenge. From now on, groups are not to exceed a maximum of 25 kids outdoors and 10 kids indoors.

(credit: CBS)

“We’re looking at for June, being able to serve 60 students a week, so to do that we went through a lottery process by order number,” Martinez said. “It’s heartbreaking as well that we have to cut out many people who would have otherwise been coming to our camps.”

“The demand is huge,” said Paul Dreyer, CEO of Avid4 Adventure, a Boulder-based company that puts on camps in several states, including Colorado. “We’ve all been inside, as we know, and now more than ever child care is such a need and so many programs, so many camps, have already cancelled all of their programs, so there is such big demand and such little supply still left.”

At Avid4 Adventure, there’s currently a long waiting list for some camps and availability for others, Dreyer said. The plan is to start camps on the June 8 and limit groups to 4 or 5.

(credit: Avid4 Adventure)

“We’re able to run all of our alternative day camps,” Dreyer said. “One thing the governor’s office is still uncertain about, and we’re still searching for clarity around, are overnight programs and camping.”

For now, the governor says residential overnight camps will remain closed in June but a decision about allowing them to operate for July and August will come in mid-June.

At the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, overnight opportunities are typically reserved for during the school year. Still, Martinez and others will be awaiting further updates regarding capacity.

“We are hopeful that our situation will continue to improve and that those capacity limits may change as we get further into the summer,” Martinez said.

With his announcement, Gov. Polis released the following statement:

“I know this has been a very different school year than many students were expecting, and thanks to the success of our social distancing efforts so far, Colorado kids will be able to enjoy day camps and youth sports camps this summer in as safe a manner as possible. The risk, though less, is still very real, and it’s up to families to make the best decisions that work for them. We also appreciate the critical role that day camps, along with daycare which has already been operating in as safe a manner as reasonably possible, play in supporting working parents.”

Conor McCue

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