Update: Day camp programs cancelled

Category : Recreation
June 10, 2020

The Town of Montreal West has made the difficult decision to cancel its popular day camp and Summer Adventures programs this summer. This decision was not made lightly as over 400 children and dedicated employees look forward to these programs every summer.

Our Recreation team worked incredibly hard developing various scenarios to determine if it was possible to run the camp while respecting public health directives. Ultimately, however, the required physical distancing measures, limited public space, and staffing challenges made it impossible to offer a safe camp experience to the children and camp staff. 

We are aware that this news will likely come as a disappointment to parents and children alike, and appreciate your understanding. The decision was made to ensure the health and safety of our campers, their families, our staff and all MoWest residents. Those who have already registered for camp will receive a full refund by cheque in the next few weeks.

In lieu of our traditional programming, we are working on some unique and creative ideas to keep residents active and engaged this summer. All these activities will be designed in accordance with public health guidelines. Stay tuned for more information! 

Details concerning cancellation of day camps

You may have heard that the Quebec government has increased the allowable councillor/camper ratios to make it more financially feasible to operate day camps this summer. However, this announcement has not changed Montreal West’s decision to cancel its own programming. This is because, unlike private camps, ours is not profit driven. Our goal is to provide a safe, healthy and fun summer experience for local children, and offer some respite to their parents. So while loosening these ratios can help private camps economically, it does nothing to assuage our concerns about running a day camp during this pandemic. In fact, increasing the ratios (i.e. allowing more campers per councillor) would likely make it less safe for the campers, their families, our staff, and the wider community.

Despite our attempts to develop programming , so many of the government’s day camp directives run counter to providing a healthy and enjoyable experience that we could not see a way to offer any safe and sensible activities. For instance, campers would have to remain 2 metres apart at all times (negating nearly all traditional camp games). Our available indoor locations are not air-conditioned, yet on rainy days, campers would be required to remain at the same location for the entire day, regardless of the heat. All areas used by the camp (many of our parks and playgrounds) would have to be fenced off and made inaccessible to the general public. Most alarming, treatment of any injury would be delayed by the wait time for a properly protected individual to assist.

We know the decision to cancel the camp will be hard on young families. But, as we would be bound by such extreme directives, the programming we could offer would bear little resemblance to a “camp”, and possibly cause harm to the larger community.

In lieu of the camp experience, the recreation department is currently developing a number of tailor-made summer activities to keep kids engaged and healthy. We will also be opening the pool on June 28, which will provide welcome heat relief and summer fun.

Elizabeth Ulin
Councillor for Recreation, Culture and Communications