Although it doesn’t feel like it, summer is around the corner, which means it's time to start signing up for summer camps.

There are lots of options out there, and the Ithaca Youth Bureau annually offers day camp, among other activities. Within hours almost all their slots filled up for day camp at the beginning of April, which is the fastest that's happened in the current director's memory.

“It's basically the day camps that have really filled and I think that’s because parents are looking for active things for their kids to do in the summertime while they’re at work," said Liz Klohmann, director of the Ithaca Youth Bureau.

Two years ago they couldn’t hold summer programming at all for the first time in 70 years. Last year, pandemic concerns put them at reduced camper capacity.

“We know the value of the programming, but I think the community, and the families and the kids really saw how much summer camp means to them after not having it for a year and being isolated," said Klohmann.

But now, they’re offering fewer spots off the bat; 50% of their potential capacity, as they’re dealing with a staffing shortage. This shortage is being felt by employers across the country, but they’re hoping to hire a variety of positions like life guards, swim instructors and counselors as soon as they can for both the Cass Park and Stewart Park locations.

If they get more staff on board, they can open more slots for kids to join in this summer. They offer additional half day programs like sailing, art and tennis camps for kids ages 5 through 14. Right now, the day program has a waitlist for campers but Liz tells parents not to be discouraged and sign up for the list anyways.

To apply for a job, or a spot on their waitlist, click here. To explore other programs this summer throughout Tompkins County for kids, click here.