Mountain Lakes Day Camp releases plans for summer 2021

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Image courtesy of North Salem Recreation Department

The North Salem Recreation Department today announced detailed plans for the return of its Day Camp at Mountain Lakes this summer. Campers may choose from three two-week sessions, which will run from June 28 through August 6. Children in grades 8 – 10 who want to participate in the Counselor-in-Training (CIT) program will only be able to register for one two-week session.

“Our main goal is safety and making sure every child has the opportunity for some time at camp,” said Lauren Rosasco, North Salem Recreation Leader.

While Rosasco acknowledged that the available options are not ideal—in a typical year, families can register for five consecutive weeks—she said she felt confident in the options the Rec. Department has come up with, given the COVID restrictions they were required to accommodate.

Camp officials had to plan programming in accordance with current COVID guidelines and restrictions issued by New York State and the Westchester County Department of Health (DOH). Rosasco is hopeful that those guidelines will loosen between now and the start of camp, which would open up more slots for campers. The last meeting the Rec. Department had with the DOH was on March 5. Today, the CDC issued new guidance that recommended school students maintain 3 feet of distance in classroom settings, an update from its previous mandate of 6 feet.

The Rec. Department has established a number of precautions to help minimize the risk of COVID. Campers and CITs will be grouped into ‘pods’ of no more than 15 campers from their grade. Each pod will have their own set of supplies to use exclusively. Staff will be required to wear masks at all times.

The CIT program will also look very different this year, compared to years past. CITs will have very limited hands-on experience as junior counselors, in order to allow more space for campers within grade-level pods. Instead, the CIT program will “focus more heavily on training, leadership, and teamwork to prepare for future summers,” according to a posting on the Rec. Department website.

Busing will be mandatory for all campers this year, which the Rec. Department said was necessary to minimize the number of visitors, parents and other non-campers on the campgrounds. A central location within North Salem will be designated for busing, though the location has not yet been announced. Rosasco anticipates it to be one of the North Salem schools, pending permission.

Tuition rates are $575 per two-week session for North Salem residents, defined as individuals who pay all taxes to the Town of North Salem. Non-residents, which may include families who reside within the North Salem Central School District, will pay $675 per two-week session. All fees include mandatory transportation to and from camp.

Rosasco acknowledged that tuition rates are higher this year than usual, though “right now, even with those costs, the resident rate is under $10 per hour, including transportation.” She explained that the costs to run the camp ‘skyrocketed’ this year due to COVID restrictions and guidelines.

Registration will open up at 9 AM on April 1 for North Salem residents and families who reside within the North Salem Central School District. Non-residents can register beginning at 9 AM on April 2. Any remaining slots will open up beginning on April 6.

Rosasco encouraged anyone with questions to email lrosasco@northsalemny.org.

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