New York State’s 120 YMCAs want you to know that their buildings may be closed, but they are still providing critical services.
“We run a lot of community health programs. We have a lot of social services programs. We deliver hundreds of meals to families every week. We offer our facilities as a place where our partner, the American Red Cross, can do blood drives and other things that we have been a part of the community,” Kyle Stewart, executive director of the Alliance for NYS YMCAs, told Spectrum News.
Besides providing emergency child care to essential workers, during the shutdown, many Ys have been offering virtual wellness checks for seniors, exercise classes via Facebook live, and online programs for cancer survivors. As for summer camps, Stewart says the Ys are ready to open when the state says it’s safe.
“I would say that summer camp, that the YMCA is ready to provide care, whether it looks like summer camp or whether it looks like an extended version of emergency child care that we’re providing it right now to kids up to 12 years old,” he said.
If summer camps are allowed to open, they may look different than they have in the past.
“I would say that care will be provided; now, are there going to be guidelines? Yes. Are there going to be restrictions and other requirements that we have to abide by, absolutely there are. But as the largest provider of child care of school age care, we’re ready to do that,” said Stewart.
On Sunday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said guidelines for summer camps are still being discussed, in part because of fears around the Kawasaki-like disease linked to COVID-19 that has begun to strike young children in 16 states, including New York.