Dunrobin’s Camp Otonabee cancels overnight, equestrian, sailing programs due to COVID-19

By Jake Davies - West Carleton Online

DUNROBIN – The popular YMCAYWCA Camp Otonabee on the shores of the Ottawa River near Dunrobin has suspended registration and cancelled some programming as it waits to hear word from the province on what summer camp will look like in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Camp Otonabee, part of the Y Camps program, provides an opportunity for children and youth to engage in outdoor activities, discover nature and enjoy the natural environment, build self-confidence and establish lasting friendships. Campers aged four to 16 can experience canoeing, rock climbing, kayaking, swimming, horseback-riding and more.

A week earlier the provincial government cancelled provincial camps’ abilities to host overnight camps this summer – part of the emergency orders enacted as the world deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ontario camps are awaiting word on whether they will be able to host day camps this season. Premier Doug Ford, at the time of his announcement regarding overnight camps, said his team is exploring all avenues in regards to the possibility of allowing day camps to operate this summer.

Because of this, Camp Otonabee has closed registration to their popular camps that offer a variety of programming throughout the summer.

“We hope you have all been doing well and keeping healthy over the past few months,” general manager of camping and outdoor education Vanessa Spratt released in a statement. “We wanted to reach out today to provide you with a brief update for Neighbourhood and Otonabee Day Camp programs this summer. We are waiting on announcements from local and provincial authorities to make final decisions regarding our 2020 day camp programs. The specific details surrounding our summer day camps remain uncertain at this time, but what we do know for certain is that things at camp will look a lot different this summer.

Due to additional transportation requirements and the inability to maintain social distancing, all equestrian programs will be cancelled for 2020. Due to a large reduction in contracted instructor programs, Camp Otonabee will no longer be able to offer sailing programs in 2020.

The camp will no longer be offering out-trips this summer.

“Our themed weeks will still focus on skills highlighted in our guide, but will not include out trips or have guest performers/visitors in order to maintain safety standards,” Spratt said.

If your child’s programs have been cancelled, or if you are planning to withdraw your registration for the summer of 2020, please contact the YMCAYWCA at day.camps@ymcaywca.ca.

“We would be happy to issue a credit note that can be used for any other Y program, or full refunds are also available,” Spratt said. “If you wish to donate all or part of your camp fees, you can do so by donating online. A tax receipt for your contribution will be issued immediately. We are beyond grateful – thank you.”

Regardless, Spratt and camp staff continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as spring progresses.

“Thank you for your ongoing support and understanding while we adapt to the evolving landscape of COVID-19,” Spratt said. “We expect to have more information to share in the first week of June. Please know that all decisions will be made with guidance from public health authorities with the safety and well-being of our camp community in mind. We are looking forward to finding innovative ways to serve our community this summer and will keep you informed every step of the way.”

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