Metro YMCAs Plan Safe Reopening of Child Care and Day Camp

By: Mollie Shauger | Thursday, July 2, 2020 | News

Campers attend East Orange summer camp in 2019.

LIVINGSTON, NJ – Following Governor Murphy’s announcement that New Jersey could begin reopening child care on June 15 and summer camp on July 6, the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges is set to reopen safely and welcome children back to our child care and summer day camp programs.  

For several weeks, the YMCA has been preparing to safely offer camp and child care in light of COVID-19. Many new protocols and procedures have been implemented in accordance with the latest directives from the CDC and American Camping Association, and staff members are undergoing extensive training to prepare. The Y has already reached out to its child care and camp families to introduce these guidelines and engage them in the planning process. 

“We are eager to begin safely welcoming children back to the Y for learning, friendships, and fun this summer,” said Richard K. Gorab, President and CEO of Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges. “Our successful experience in providing Emergency Child Care these last few months has prepared us to provide a safe and healthy environment for children of all ages under new guidelines."

Some of the changes participants can expect at the YMCA include:

Extensive Staff Training –  Y staff members are undergoing training in the latest cleaning and disinfection protocols provided by the CDC, as well as in social distancing, stable groups and virus spread reduction. In addition, all Y staff members receive training annually in child abuse prevention, first aid, CPR and workplace safety. Children will be taught about personal space, hand washing and other best practices to protect their own health and safety.

Hand Washing - More frequent hand-washing breaks and enhanced disinfecting procedures are being implemented including the addition of more sinks and hand sanitizing stations.

Health Screenings - All children and staff will be screened daily. Anyone with a temperature over 100.4 and/or exhibiting other symptoms of illness will not be permitted to attend. Visitors will not be allowed on site without special approval.

Enhanced Drop Off and Pick Up Procedures - To limit adult entry, parents and guardians will drop off and pick up their children outside the facility in designated areas.

Smaller Groups - Camp and childcare groups will be smaller than in previous years, and limited to 10 children to allow for social distancing and reduce virus transmission. 

PPE - Staff will be required to wear cloth masks and children will be encouraged to do so as well. Additional PPE will be available for staff stationed at check-in and isolation areas including disposable gloves, KN95 masks, face shields and protective gowns. 

Child Care

Child care will resume June 15, as space allows, at our branches offering this program including: East Orange, South Mountain, Greater Bergen, Wayne and West Essex YMCAs. The East Orange Y and West Essex YMCA’s Peanut Shell Early Childhood Learning Center continue to offer Emergency Child Care for essential workers through the end of June.

Summer Day Camp 

Summer camp is open to children and teens beginning July 6 with offerings that vary by location and include traditional day camp as well as specialty camps. Summer day camps will be held at our Y branches including:

  • East Orange YMCA
  • South Mountain YMCA
  • Fairview Lake YMCA Camps
  • Greater Bergen County YMCA
  • Sussex County YMCA
  • Wayne YMCA
  • West Essex YMCA

Weekly camp activities, depending on type of program, include arts and crafts, nature and STEAM, drama, field games, sports and movement, water play and theme-related activities. Before and after care is available at most camp programs, and financial assistance is also available to eligible families. 

Visit for more information about camps and how to register.

Virtual Camp

The Y now offers a Virtual Camp option for youth ages 6-15, beginning July 13. Operated by Fairview Lake YMCA Camps, the camp includes interactive activities such as hiking, horseback riding, arts and crafts, and games led by the Y’s caring and well-trained staff. The camp runs from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. each day, and families can register for one week at a time.

Other Facilities Remain Closed

The State of New Jersey has not yet announced a reopening date for gyms and health clubs. Thus, while the Metro YMCA branches are offering camp, child care, and outdoor fitness classes, fitness facilities remain closed at this time. 


Established in 1885, the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges invests in its diverse communities to promote wellness, safety and quality of life for children, adults and seniors. Its seven branches in East Orange, Livingston, Maplewood, Hackensack, Hardyston, Stillwater and Wayne are committed to nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility through an array of programs. Some 35,000 people belong to the Metro Y, which awards more than $2.8 million annually in direct and indirect financial assistance.



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