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Summer Day Camp at Camp Verde Parks & Recreation is planned to return June 8 for its third year. Guidance and modifications required by the COVID-19 restrictions have resulted in camp opening a week late this year as new procedures are developed and staff trained. Increased cleaning and disinfecting as well as social distancing and face coverings for campers and staff are some of the challenges to be overcome in planning for reopening. New CDC and State standards and best practices are now available to help staff prepare for camp.
Accredited by the American Camp Association, this camp has shown major growth and lots of happy campers in its first two years and we plan to continue that this summer. Some changes in camp routine will include at least initial restrictions on field trips but visits to the Town pool are still planned. The ACA is the only national organization offering accreditation for all types of camps. Their nearly 300 comprehensive standards covering all aspects of camp operation ensure a fun and safe camp experience. Standards include site and program safety, staff screening and training, operational management as well as programming evaluation. Our summer day camp is the only accredited municipal camp in Arizona.
“We know that a lot of parents need this camp as people return to work and the kids are surely looking forward to some fun” said Michael Marshall, Camp Verde Parks & Recreation Manager. “Youth activities are a priority for us so getting day camp and the pool up and running has been a staff focus” according to Marshall. “Most of the camp staff is returning so that helps with the modification and training processes as well as providing a familiar face to returning campers” said Parks & Recreation Coordinator Shawna Figy.
Camp will run Monday – Friday from 8 am to 4pm until July 25 except for July 4 and is open for youth who attended kindergarten-6th grade during the 2019- 2020 school year. Registration is available for weekly or day spots and remains $90 per week or $20 per day. Campers bring their own lunch and snacks and staff brings the fun.
Campers will enjoy outdoor fun and sports on the field as well as indoor sports opportunities in the air-conditioned Gym, arts and crafts projects and guest speakers. The Summer Reading Program through the Camp Verde Community Library is also part of the planned activities, although campers will not be transported to the library this year because of limiting exposure concerns for staff and campers.
There is a link for registration on our Parks & Recreation home page at campverde.az.gov or our Facebook page – Town of Camp Verde Parks & Recreation, just click the blue “Book Now” button. Additional paper forms to collect detailed camper information will be completed prior to campers starting their first day. Registration opens May 28th and is limited to 30 kids per day so don’t miss out.
More information is available by calling Parks & Recreation at (928)554-0828.
Camp Verde Parks & Recreation is working to reopen the Heritage Pool for the summer season in compliance with all the requirements related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The shutdown of most businesses and the resulting needed modifications to the pool’s operation related to the public health needs have made the traditional Memorial Day weekend opening impossible. The new target date is June 13 depending on the status of State requirements. While a disappointment to staff and the public, Parks & Recreation remains committed to creating a fun and safe pool experience this summer.
According to Michael Marshall, Camp Verde Parks & Recreation Manager, “the single biggest obstacle has been training for our lifeguards. When the health restrictions hit, that stopped all planned lifeguard training across the state leaving everyone wondering what the next steps would be.” Now that guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Arizona State Department of Health Services (DHS) have been published and the Governor’s Office has allowed lifeguard training and pools to begin to reopen progress is being made. Camp Verde has entered an alliance with Star Guard Elite, a national life guard training organization which certifies life guards for pools as different as Sedona and Phoenix which has 29 outdoor pools. “We trained our Life guards in cooperation with Sedona last year using Star Guard and were very impressed” said Marshall. This more formal alliance with Star Guard will allow Camp Verde to have its own lifeguard trainer to increase training options and control.
On a positive note, Camp Verde has hired a very experienced aquatics professional to supervise the pool this season. “Jato brings years of experience as a competitive swimmer, life guard, swim lesson instructor and swim coach to our staff and we are very excited” according to Shawna Figy, Camp Verde Parks & Recreation Coordinator. “Her experience, passion for aquatics and youth, and her skills will allow us to maximize our success during this difficult time” said Figy. Jato said “I’m very excited to be working with Parks & Rec to benefit the aquatic community here in Camp Verde and look forward to working together on long term goals”. In addition several maintenance upgrades to the mechanical systems have been made with support from the Town Council who authorized the funding to fix some long standing concerns. The pool deck is also getting a new surface coating which should improve the aquatic experience for all.
The new health requirements and the uncertainty will result in several other changes at the pool. Social distancing, face mask requirements and the reduced number of pool occupants allowed means that swim lessons are on hold for the moment and the swim day will be broken up into some sort of block scheduling to allow cleaning in between swim sessions. Details about these and other changes will be announced as plans are finalized and the pool opening is closer. “We are monitoring requirements as they are updated as well as actions of other pools across the region and State as they reopen and learn the best practices to make this work” said Figy. Marshall said “the advantage we have is to be able to learn from other pools and be ready when and if any additional guidance is received”. Parks & Recreation asks for the patience and cooperation of all the pool visitors as the details in this ever changing environment are worked out. Our number one priority remains, as always, the safety of our staff and visitors.
More information is available by calling Parks & Recreation at (928)554-0828 or following our Facebook page “Town of Camp Verde Parks & Recreation” for updates.