City officials announced today, June 16, 2020, that the Recreation and Parks Summer Play & Learn Camp would not be held in-person this year due to ongoing health and safety concerns related to COVID-19 coronavirus. The City is moving the camp experience online, and all classes and programs will be free to attend. Norwalk is the first City in Connecticut to announce a free virtual summer experience. The City will continue to explore the potential for in-person outdoor recreational and organized activities in late July and August if health conditions continue to improve.
Last month, the City issued refunds for the Summer Play & Learn Camp and had hoped to provide a scaled-down version of the in-person camp based on current state guidelines. Typically, the Recreation and Parks camp draws more than 800 participants, and under the current guidelines, capacity would be limited to 150 people, campers would have to be spaced at least six feet apart, could not share equipment or games, and would be required to wear a face covering the entire day.
“I am sad that we have to cancel our summer camp, but we are working hard to provide online alternative programs for not just young people, but the entire Norwalk community throughout the summer. These programs will be free to attend, will exercise the body and mind, and I think will be well received across the community,” said Norwalk Mayor Harry W. Rilling. “I was hopeful we could provide some form of in-person camp, but after consulting with the Norwalk Health Department and recreational camp experts, it just wasn’t feasible. I share the disappointment many parents may be feeling, and I ask them to consider joining one of the many programs we have lined up over the next several weeks. Please know this wasn’t an easy decision, but one I had to make as the health and safety of residents is my top priority. Again, we will continue to look for possible in-person experiences for young people later this summer.”
This summer, the City will be launching free online recreational sessions via the Zoom platform. The NORWALK ADVENTURE CLUBS will begin Monday, July 6, and run for eight weeks through Friday, August 28. The online classes, activities, and games will all be free, and no preregistration will be required. Programs will focus on different age groups, from preschoolers to seniors and everyone in between. Program examples include dance movement, bilingual story time, escape room challenges, Lego building, scavenger hunts, open mic performances, bingo, and more.
“Any camp the City holds must be enriching and safe for participants and staff, and that is not feasible given the current health situation and the restrictions and guidelines in place from the State of Connecticut,” said Norwalk Director of Recreation and Parks Nick Roberts. “Our team has been thinking outside of the box to develop programs and classes suitable for different ages and interests. I believe families and young people alike will find many different activities to enjoy this summer.”
A full calendar and schedule of classes will be released by Friday, June 19, 2020 at norwalkct.org.