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YMCA to open summer camps to increase child care opportunities


Read the full article by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña in the San Diego Union-Tribune here.

The YMCA of San Diego County announced on Saturday plans to open summer camps for children from low-income families to give parents more child care options during the coronavirus pandemic.

Details about the locations and opening dates will be announced soon, organization leaders said.

The opening of the summer camps is in partnership with San Diego County and the San Diego Foundation’s COVID-19 Community Response Fund, which is providing $1 million in funding to start up the camps. The funding will also be used to award scholarships to youth in low-income communities.

The grant awarded to the local YMCA is the largest amount given to an organization from the response fund to date, said Mark Stuart, president and CEO of the San Diego Foundation.

The response fund has raised more than $11 million, he said.

Baron Herdelin-Doherty, president and CEO of YMCA of San Diego County, said the camps will likely be smaller groups and there will be enhanced cleaning and health protocols.

He said the camp sites will be placed across the county.

“Our YMCA has seen challenges through our century-plus service in San Diego, but this pandemic crisis is certainly like none other that we’ve experienced,” Herdelin-Doherty said.

County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said as the county begins the process of opening up the economy, child care will become a challenge for parents, especially essential workers.

“The inequities in our society were not created by coronavirus, but they are exasperated by coronavirus,” Fletcher said. “As we move through the response through this ... that we are mindful and keep in mind those inequities and do everything we can to ensure a smooth recovery for all.”

The YMCA of San Diego County has 18 locations from Oceanside to San Ysidro. Its summer camps prior to COVID-19 saw an attendance of about 50,000 kids, according to a spokeswoman.