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A sigh of relief for moms and dads: some North Texas YMCA’s will offer summer camps for kids

The YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas and the YMCA of Metropolitan Fort Worth will provide some summer programming for children.

North Texas families might not have to spend all summer searching for something to do with their kids.

YMCAs across North Texas confirmed to WFAA on Friday they plan to offer summer camps for children.

“Summers at the Y are what kids do,” said Curt Hazelbaker, president and CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas. “We are looking forward to getting kids back as quick as we can.”

The YMCA expects Gov. Greg Abbott to unveil summer camp guidelines within the next few days. Once those are released, a more specific plan about YMCA programming will follow.

“We are likely going to have some of our camps on site in our facilities,” said Teri McGuill, senior vice president and chief development officer of the YMCA of Metropolitan Fort Worth. “We want to be able to have camp and we will have it according to the governor and local authorities’ regulations.”

McGuill said she does expect Camp Carter, a 300-acre site outside of Fort Worth, to open for programming.  

Calling it a “very fluid situation,” Hazelbaker said the Dallas Y expects to open 13 of the 22 day camps it normally offers and most will be held in alternate sites.

“If we have camp at the Y, that limits the people we have in our facilities,” he said, “so we’re working with churches and other sites.”

YMCA branches across the metroplex will be reopening in phases starting May 22. 

They have been closed since March because of the COVID-19 crisis.

Phase I begins Friday, May 22 when the Hood County YMCA will be the first location to reopen.

On Monday, June 1, Phase II begins with these branches opening in the Fort Worth area:

  • Airport Area YMCA
  • Amon G. Carter, Jr. Downtown YMCA
  • Benbrook Community YMCA
  • Joshua YMCA
  • Northpark YMCA
  • Northwest YMCA
  • Ryan Family YMCA
  • William M. McDoald YMCA

These Dallas YMCA branches will also reopen on June 1:

  • Frisco Family YMCA
  • J.E.R. Chilton YMCA at Rockwall
  • Moody Family YMCA
  • Park South Family YMCA
  • Plano Family YMCA
  • Semones Family YMCA
  • White Rock YMCA

Each facility will be open to only 25% capacity, including staff who will be monitoring the number of members who enter.

To allow time for cleaning, facilities will have limited hours. Locker rooms will remain closed.

Branches will spread out equipment and have various signs with social distancing guidelines.

Group classes, when they resume, will be capped at smaller numbers and will require a reservation.

Staff will receive temperature checks before being allowed to start their work shift. 

Staff will also be required to wear masks, and guests are being encouraged to wear masks as well.

“I feel good about our plan that we’re putting members and staff into a safe environment,” Hazelbaker said. “We considered everything we could to make sure they have a safe environment to come back to.”

He said YMCAs across Fort Worth, Dallas and Arlington have coordinated their reopening plans.

“We are a social place where people come to see friends and to exercise. We want to make sure we balance safety with not losing what makes the Y an experience.”

McGuill said one of the most difficult experiences has been furloughing a large percentage of staff members.

“That was traumatic for many of us. They’d been with us for a long time,” she said.

Those furloughed staff members are beginning to be called back to work as branches open. More are expected to return as summer programming begins. But, it will be a methodical process.

“From our peers around country we’ve heard it comes back slow,” Hazelbaker said.

“We’ve been here in Dallas for 135 years and we’re going to be here 135 more at least. We want to make sure the Y is positioned to be here when people need us.”

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