The Wellesley Recreation Commission met remotely via web conferencing on April 21, to discuss in part Summer Camp programming registration, which has been paused, and Morses Pond. The Rec. Commission was unable to hold its meeting in the Warren Building as usual in accordance with State social distancing recommendations that include keeping six feet apart from others in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Attendees at the pubic meeting were Chair Paul Cramer and Rec. Commissioners Nicole Bernier, Jim Rodrigue, Laurance Stuntz; as well as Rec. Director Matt Chin and Rec. Program Coordinator Director Jenn Lawlor.
Matt Chin let the Commission know that the summer camp program program, which currently has about 80 registrations between Camp Joey and Camp Q, is no longer accepting new registrations. The camp program typically draws 60 – 70 campers per week, for a total of 500+.
“The only thing we’re currently registering for is Morses Pond, meaning Rec is selling season tickets.”
The big discussion among recreation departments and camps, both private and public, all over the state is what to expect in the coming months. That’s a question nobody can answer right now.
“If social distancing is still in place over the summer, I don’t see how we can have camp,” Chin says.
Still, Rec. has hired its summertime staff and is putting together plans for all case scenarios. “If schools aren’t available to us and we have to have camp at the Warren building, it would be a tight fit but it could work,” Chin said.
Jim Rodrigue asked what the Health Department was advising at this point, to which Chin said, “They’re waiting as well for state guidance.”
Some families have already requested refunds, which Rec. is providing given the uncertainty of the months ahead and the inability to make projections.
The town’s summer camp programs, which are scheduled to start in late June, serve kids ages 3- 15. In addition, Rec. employs 50 – 75 seasonal staff employed as lifeguards, camp counselors, Morses Pond front desk staff, and more.
Opening up Morses Pond for swimming, beach volleyball, and playground fun also brings challenges. “Same thing,” said Chin. “Large groups of people in a location, social distancing is in place, how do you do it? I don’t know how you do it.”
Paul Cramer said, “I think if we’re going to assume anything, we should assume it’s not going to happen and be pleasantly surprised if it does.”
At this time, Rec. is concentrating on its efforts to ramp up virtual offerings. Rec. also is looking at the idea of gradually opening up its real-time offerings of spring programming, summer camp, and Morses Pond, and what that would look like.