Family Focus: Summer camps follow new CDC guidelines, filling up fast

JACKSONVILLE — Summer camps are booking up fast this year after many programs were forced to stop or switch to virtual under the COVID-19 pandemic.

First Coast YMCA said its summer camp registration is almost that of a pre-COVID year. They did not cancel summer camp last year, but made some changes for this year’s program following CDC guidelines.

The CDC recently changes its summer camp guidance.

“This guidance describes physical distancing recommendations for day camps that align with current evidence for physical distancing in schools, including at least 3 feet physical distance between campers in the same cohort, except when eating and drinking (at least 6 feet).”

The CDC recommended the windows remain open for indoor activities. It also suggests staff get vaccinated. But since children are not eligible for a shot, masks and social distancing should still be followed.

At the YMCA and MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation, masks will be required indoors. However, both programs said they will have most activities outside.

MaliVai Washington’s program is already booked with about 150 kids K-12th grade. Last year, its mixed virtual program only enrolled about 60. They will have field trips this summer, but will limit the number of kids going. The Y said it is canceling field trips and will instead have the trips come to them.

“It’s been a long, tough year with them doing stuff virtually like we are today. That human interaction is just so powerful,” Candace Burrows, the day camp executive for First Coast YMCA, said.

You can register for the YMCA summer programs at

JaxParks also hosts a summer camp. Registration opens up later in May.