February 2021 Attention, parents and kids: Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation (CCPR) is excited to roll out its Summer Camp Series for 2021! The Summer Camp Series offers something for every interest and ability, with 12 camp options for ages 5–12 years, ranging from arts to science to nature. While prioritizing the safety of its staff and campers, CCPR’s summer camp series has been approved by the Hamilton County Health Department and CCPR’s board of directors. Within the CCPR’s Summer Camp Series guide, available on its website at carmelclayparks.com, parents/guardians can review its safety policies and measures. Additionally, when registration opens on March 1, they can use that guide to enroll for the camps. Prioritizing Safety for All I spoke with CCPR ESE/SCS director Jennifer Brown and CCPR board president Rich Taylor about their reopening plan and measures that they have taken to ensure a safe environment for campers and staff this summer. “Rewinding back to May of 2020, we knew that there was a demand within our community for our programs—which are essential—and we knew that we had to figure out what we were going to do so that we could serve that demand,” Brown shared. “We immersed ourselves in learning what the best practices are, and the CDC’s website became one of my most visited pages.” Brown proudly shared that CCPR was one of the first organizations to roll out its camp programs last year as a result of the diligence and determination of the staff. She attributes the success of last year’s summer camps to the efforts of a unified staff and engaged parents. “We have a lot of trust in one another, and we all have the same , which is to make sure that our kids are safe and engaged,” Brown said. “We really educated parents on what to look for as far as signs or symptoms of COVID-19 were concerned and to keep their child home if there was any question that he/she might be sick.” Taylor shared that CCPR engaged three medical professionals to assist with its 2021 reopening plan. “The Parks Department engaged an ER doctor, an infectious disease doctor and Dr. Tim Hannon, who is also a City Council member,” Taylor said. “Multiple people commented on how our plan was one of the best they had seen. Everything from spreading the equipment along the walking track to moving fitness programs into the gymnasium so everybody can spread out—the CCPR staff deserves all the credit—they have come up with a great plan.” Plug Back in and Have Fun This Summer—Safely It is important that our community’s kids continue to develop socially, emotionally and physically amid this pandemic. Brown shared what CCPR has planned to ensure the needs of our kids are met this summer. “I like to call what we have planned for 2021 ‘Summer Camp Series—Light’ because it is not quite to the level that we would offer during a typical summer but it is not quite the point that we were at last summer,” Brown said. “We’re somewhere in between. We’ve deliberately planned all of our field trips to be at outdoor venues or if it is something that's indoors, we will be the only group within that venue.” Brown continued, “We really feel like we have mitigated as many risks as we can by setting things up this way. Of course, the water park trip is always a highlight of the campers’ week.” CCPR has three brand-new camps that it’s rolling out: Camp Wayback, En Route and STEAM Team. Camp Wayback will take your kids back in time. They will experience world history, stepping into a new and immersive time period each week, with diversions ranging from active to artistic. En Route will offer its campers a trip around the globe without passports. Each week they will visit a different country to learn about different cultures, celebrate traditions and let their imaginations go on a journey! For the future scientists, engineers, inventors, artists, etc.: STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) is the new thing. Campers will develop a diverse skill set and a passion for exploration and growth as they think outside the box this summer. Registration for CCPR’s 2021 Summer Camp Series opens March 1 at noon. Visit carmelclayparks.com/summer-camps to view a complete list of camps, to register and to view CCPR’s comprehensive COVID-19 safety guidelines. Summer Camp Series Camp Dates: June 1–July 30 Days: Monday–Friday Locations: Monon Community Center, Jill Perelman Pavilion, Wilfong Pavilion, Carmel Middle School, Clay Middle School or Creekside Middle School (varies by camp) Times: 7:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. or 7:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. (varies by camp) Registration begins March 1 at carmelclayparks.com.