For 36 years, Quillian has offered summer camps, giving kids exceptional opportunities during the summer, while their parents go to work knowing their children are playing and having fun in a safe environment.
COVID-19 halted many things, but it couldn’t halt camp, not very long anyway. “We were forced to close our spring break camp after just one day,” said Quillian Center Director Tom Gaden. Quillian was closed all of April and most of May with staff working minimally to get the pools and facilities ready for an eventual opening. “We spent three months planning summer camp, then totally redesigned it in three days to accommodate all the new health guidelines,” said Gaden.
New protocols include twice-daily temperature checks on staff and campers, curbside drop-off and pick-up for parents, extra custodial staff to wipe down surfaces and sanitize, dividing the campers into smaller groups and keeping them within their age group. All counselors must wear masks as appropriate.
More campers coming each week
Gaden says the number of campers is smaller this year but growing each week. “With the smaller numbers, our counselors are able to engage more with the campers. They’re used to have 50 campers in their groups,” said Gaden. “Now they have 18-20 kids per group.”
Another change this year is how Quillian handles weekly specialty camps. In the past, each camper would choose an enrichment camp (basketball, rock climbin
g, arts and crafts, gymnastics, etc.) and campers from various age groups would be grouped together for that particular activity. This year, the age groups are kept separate.
“Each group will have two days of sports, an arts and crafts day and a science day. Then we do a field day every Friday,” said Gaden. “That keeps the age groups together all day so there is less mingling among the campers. The bonus is that they’re exposed to new things every day. We made this change to accommodate COVID-19, but it’s something we may bring back next year. It’s been very popular.”
Themed weeks are also popular with the summer campers who range in age from 5-12. Beach Week included a belly flop contest and fun on a slip-n-slide. Harry Potter Week included a game of Quidditch, a maze and a performance by a magician. Wild West Week included pony rides and Nerf gun shoot-outs.
Returning to normal
Slowly, but surely, Quillian Center is returning to a normal schedule. Both pools opened May 29 and youth basketball is returning this summer. “We’ll have fewer kids, but we’ll have enough kids to have a league,” said Gaden.
Quillian summer camps are $225 per week and half-day options are available. Register online at www.quilliancenter.org of call 713-781-9195 for more information.