Charlotte County summer camps return to full form

School is out, and camp is in. After a year of pandemic limitations and cancellations, parents are rushing to sign their kids up for full-capacity summer camps.

We learned how camps are preparing to be back and better than before.

“You’re out there on the water, which in the heat of the summer, of course,” said John Riehl, the president of Englewood Sailing Association and summer camp. “That’s the best place to be.”

The pandemic forced Riehl’s program to operate at half capacity in 2020. Luckily, he’s an optimist.

“With just one student per boat, they ended up having so much more one-on-one time,” Riehl said. “And they ended up being a little bit better sailors coming out of it.”

In summer 2021, the youth sailing camp is back in full swing.

“If they have fun, then, we’ve accomplished our goal,” Riehl said.

Military Heritage Museum in Punta Gorda is excited to debut its new summer program.

“It’s educational, but there’s no question it’s gonna be a lot of fun,” said Gary Butler, the executive director of Military Heritage Museum.

The pandemic forced Punta Gorda Military Heritage Museum to close for 12 weeks in spring 2020, but it gave Butler time to organize a summer camp program for kids. It will launch later in June.

“We looked at this as an opportunity to say, ‘Oh, we’re gonna open … but we’re gonna keep growing,” Butler said.

Both camps we spoke to will follow CDC guidelines.

They want to make sure kids have fun and stay safe.

“It’s just to be able to get out and enjoy the summer, enjoy the weather, enjoy the company,” Riehl said.

Charlotte County-run youth camps are back at full capacity this summer too.

The parks and recreation department paired students with the same counselor last summer to limit potential exposure. The county says it worked well, so it will do the same in 2021.

Reporter:Erika Jackson
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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