Registration opens for Chicago Park District summer camp programs

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Chicago Park District will host registration Thursday and Friday for city-run summer camps which run July 6 through mid August.

The shortened season will have a smaller number of campers due to added safety measures that the Park District is taking.

"There are some modified sports activities that you can do. The example you are seeing right now is fielding a baseball. It's a way of social distancing. Everyone has their own baseball and they are going thru the steps of how you field a baseball correctly and how you throw that baseball correctly," said Alonzo Williams, Chief Program Officer at the Chicago Park District

Campers can also play kickball safely and join indoor exercising.

"There is going to have to be two boxes in between each child just so they can practice social distancing and to make sure they have enough room to move and they don't have to bump into any other kids," Brazhal Brewer a Physical Instructor at the Chicago Park District explained.

Kids are asked to bring their own masks but the parks have back-up PPE.

"Anyone coming into a park facility to wear a mask but this is in case some kids forget their masks or break or tear it. (butt to59:32) We've got the gloves that are here and our own park district made hand sanitizer as well as disinfectant," said Williams.

For safety, the water fountains are off. Campers will need to bring their own water bottles.

"Normally our ratio is 20 to one, now we are 9 to 1 and those different groups will be isolated to themselves," explained Williams.

This drastic reduction in campers means spots are going fast. Children won't be turned away due to the inability to pay.

Williams added, "We know its hard times and people are losing jobs and filing for unemployment is at an all-time high so we have reduced our rates by 50% from the previous summer. Traditionally we do $3 million worth of scholarships for people who can't afford it and we will offer that again this year."

Officials also said there will be no swimming or field trips this summer.

RELATED: Coronavirus Chicago: See what summer camp could look like amid COVID-19 pandemic

Online registration began Thursday at 9 a.m. for all parks west of California Avenue.

Registration will begin Friday at 9 a.m. for parks east of California Avenue and McFetridge & Morgan Park Sports Center registration will begin Friday at noon.
In-person registration will begin at select parks on Saturday.

For more information on summer camps and how to register visit, www.chicagoparkdistrict.com.
Copyright © 2020 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.