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Boca “Y” stays open for frontline workers’ kids only

What can first-responders, health care workers and others do with their kids while they’re working?

Boca’s Peter Blum Family YMCA stepped in with Camp Care, opened April 20 weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. “We have a core set of 25 to 35 kids that come daily and have children show up when the need is necessary,” Y executive director Bryan Hunt said. “We do a one counselor to nine children. We’re trying to make the cost very little to them since they’re out doing good work. We want to make sure we provide a place where kids can be safe.”

The children are ages 3 to 11. They spend the day doing online schooling, homework and activities where they can safely social distance. “We try to keep them 6 feet apart from each other but fun…arts and crafts, relay races, without touching one another. The younger kids get to use the outside playground and we sanitize before and after. There’s different challenges in the field, so all their activities are inside and outdoors.”

Kids have to bring their own food and beverages. “It’s safer that way. We do a check in the morning to make sure they have everything they need. We check temperatures and there’s hand-sanitizing stations,” Hunt said.

How long with this go on? As long as necessary, Hunt said. “As long as we have the funding and space available. As the weeks go on, the needs will be greater based on staffing and we can only take a certain number of children.”!/donation/checkout

Boynton Beach’s DeVos Family YMCA also has a Camp Care.

Meanwhile, staff is preparing to reopen the Y in phases, complying with CDC and Florida Health Department rules. “If they say we can open our pool or wellness center. So we’re on hold.

“The YMCA is here for the community. As soon as we’re able to open our doors, we’ll welcome everyone back. The Y is not a gym or swim. It’s really a community and a family.”

By Marci Shatzman


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