ASUS Camps offers virtual programming

University cancels all in-person camps for the summer

Programming includes two remote components: craft kits and Zoom sessions.
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Though Queen’s cancelled several of its summer camps, some will continue to offer virtual programming. 

The University announced on May 19 it won’t be running in-person camps due to the ongoing pandemic and the expectation that physical distancing requirements will remain in place throughout the summer. 

The camps that transitioned their programming to remote delivery include ASUS Camps, Eco-Adventure Camp, the Enrichment Studies Unit Online Camp, the Agnes Art Camp at Home, the Queen’s Summer Engineering Academy, Science Quest, and the McDonald Institute’s Summer of Science.

“Our goal was to be prepared for all contingencies, ensuring that there would be programming available this summer no matter what the public health situation looked like,” David Niddam-Dent, ASUS president, told The Journal

Niddam-Dent said Programming Director Alexa Irvine and Business Director Amanda Rankin ensured ASUS would be able to deliver effective programming “no matter the scenario.” 

READ MORE: Team David & Matt want to “bring ASUS to you.”

Irvine and Rankin were already in the process of completing a Virtual Programming Proposal when ASUS found out camps would be running virtually on May 15.

For ASUS Camps this year, we are still sticking to eight differently themed weeks, but the programming now consists of two remote components: craft kits and educational Zoom programming,” Irvine wrote in a statement to The Journal

The craft kits, according to Irvine, include all the materials required for 10 theme-related and age-appropriate crafts, a list of summer challenges, custom ASUS Camps colouring sheets, and uncoloured “co-camper” and bingo sheets. 

“Due to the 4 [to] 8 year-old targeted demographic, we understand that the campers will likely be unable to sit at a device for 8 hours,” Irvine wrote. “That is why we have decided to do thirty-minute increments of Zoom activities dispersed throughout each day, such as camps songs, story time, themed yoga, bingo, [and] science demonstrations.”

Each week is scheduled to end with a “Show and Tell” activity, during which campers will have the opportunity to reflect on the highlights of the week and show off some of the crafts they created outside the Zoom sessions.

“Our schedule provides flexibility and changes each week to accommodate other daily family plans that may be happening outside of camp,” Irvine wrote. “Attending each Zoom session is completely optional.”

The Society is prepared to accommodate a maximum of 40 campers per week, with two counsellors leading activities.

READ MORE: ASUS hires first equity & sustainability director.

ASUS is also offering sessions for campers with exceptionalities who require additional care. Rankin acknowledged, however, that the counsellor’s ability to supervise children directly is “quite minimal” because of remote delivery.

“[P]artial parent supervision is required and all parents must be within reach,” Rankin wrote in a statement to The Journal. “Safety is an utmost concern for running virtual camps, and while our kits are marked with appropriate choking hazards, suggestions for use, etc., the components of our camp program which require materials should be fully supervised by an adult.”

Despite remote delivery, ASUS aims to create smooth transitions for new and returning campers. 

“We also acknowledge that quarantine has not been easy, especially for families with small children,” Matt D’Alessandro, ASUS vice-president, told The Journal. “Parents are out of ideas to keep their children occupied, and it is our hope that in providing weekly kits and Zoom programming, parents will have the opportunity to provide their children with fun, engaging, and educational activities.”

ASUS camps are running from July 6 to August 28.

The Society is offering programs at an affordable rate with multiple package options and add-ons because its camp operating costs have significantly decreased this year. The Society is also offering a discount to any Queen’s employee or healthcare worker interested in registering a child in camp.

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