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Keeping our Community in Mind and our Y Open

Updated: Aug 7

At the Waldo County YMCA, the safety, wellbeing, and positive growth of the children in our care has always been and will always be a top priority. Our summer camps provide a fun way for us to do that.

As the community transmission levels of COVID in the county have increased, individuals associated with two camps have tested positive. As a result, we have closed two camps and asked all close contacts to quarantine based on Maine CDC guidance. Campers and staff who were close contacts were sent home as soon as we heard the bad news.

Fortunately for our other camps and our members, our YMCA is still open because we prepared for such an eventuality by keeping different camps separated throughout the day and by maintaining mask discipline indoors. Though we received some pushback about those protocols, in hindsight, they look prescient and provide a blueprint we can follow as we move forward. No members were close contacts due to the planning and separation of campers.

On a personal note, I am disappointed that we had to send kids home. For six weeks, I saw how much fun they were having. I saw how much more comfortable they became talking to me as I walked them down the hall in the morning. I saw a huge improvement in the number of “please” and “thank-yous” I heard in the cook out line each Friday. And then, today, I saw deflation. Kids were sad and counselors were even more upset. “I didn’t realize how quickly I would get attached to my campers,” one told me.

I am trying to be thankful for the positives in my life rather than being weighed down by the negatives. It is ironic that one reason I am so disappointed is because camp was so great!

As we move forward, we will continue to keep our mission of physical, mental, spiritual, and social health of the county in mind.

I am grateful for a community that values what we do.

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