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\u201312 years, ranging from arts to science to nature. While prioritizing the safety of its staff and campers, CCPR\u2019s summer camp series has been approved by the Hamilton County Health Department and CCPR\u2019s board of directors. Within the CCPR\u2019s 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. \u201cRewinding back to May of 2020, we knew that there was a demand within our community for our programs\u2014which are essential\u2014and we knew that we had to figure out what we were going to do so that we could serve that demand,\u201d Brown shared. \u201cWe immersed ourselves in learning what the best practices are, and the CDC\u2019s website became one of my most visited pages.\u201d 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\u2019s summer camps to the efforts of a unified staff and engaged parents. \u201cWe 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,\u201d Brown said. \u201cWe 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.\u201d Taylor shared that CCPR engaged three medical professionals to assist with its 2021 reopening plan. \u201cThe Parks Department engaged an ER doctor, an infectious disease doctor and Dr. Tim Hannon, who is also a City Council member,\u201d Taylor said. \u201cMultiple 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\u2014the CCPR staff deserves all the credit\u2014they have come up with a great plan.\u201d Plug Back in and Have Fun This Summer\u2014Safely It is important that our community\u2019s 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. \u201cI like to call what we have planned for 2021 \u2018Summer Camp Series\u2014Light\u2019 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,\u201d Brown said. \u201cWe\u2019re somewhere in between. We\u2019ve 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.\u201d Brown continued, \u201cWe 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\u2019 week.\u201d CCPR has three brand-new camps that it\u2019s 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\u2019s 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\u2019s comprehensive COVID-19 safety guidelines. Summer Camp Series Camp Dates: June 1\u2013July 30 Days: Monday\u2013Friday 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.\u20135:30 p.m. or 7:00 a.m.\u20136:00 p.m. (varies by camp) Registration begins March 1 at carmelclayparks.com.