MATTHEWS – Matthews Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources has reopened registration for July and August camps, but missing from the list is the basketball camp by Charlotte Hornets legend Muggsy Bogues.
The camp was canceled due to safety concerns surrounding COVID-19.
The June session, which focuses on fundamentals, was scheduled to run June 15 to 19 at Crews Recreation Center. The August session, also known as back-to-school camp, was supposed to be Aug. 10 to 14.
Charles Smith, Matthews recreation program manager, said both Muggsy camps are popular (the August session draws 100 kids), which makes social distancing difficult. Also, the entire camp takes place indoors.
One idea was to have fewer campers, but Smith said staff ultimately decided to pull the plug.
“Having to reduce and turn away kids just wasn’t ideal for this year,” Smith said. “We wouldn’t be able to freely run the camp like we typically do, so if we weren’t going to be able to do it the right way, more or less, then let’s not do it all.”
Aside from the Muggsy camp, Matthews has the most extensive summer camp offerings of all the towns in southern Mecklenburg and western Union counties thanks to its partnerships with Abrakadoodle, Arts Delivered and other purveyors of fun. Activities include arts, dance, LEGOs, science, sports, swimming and the outdoors.
Camps have been canceled for June, but many are still on for July and August at Crews Recreation Center, McDowell Arts Center and the Matthews Community Center. Space is limited due to reduced capacity. Campers do not need to be Matthews residents.
Melissa Johnson, Matthews cultural recreation manager, said ceramics, mixed media and Discovery Place camps are among the most popular arts and science camps. There are also ukulele, printmaking, yoga and puppeteering camps.
New this year is a ballet camp for ages 4 to 8 inspired by Disney’s “Frozen 2.” Campers will do a week of ballet along with Frozen-themed crafts and activities. They can come dressed as Anna and Elsa each day, too.
Johnson said summer camps are important because they give parents childcare options and keep kids engaged. After months of isolation, she said kids need the social, emotional, physical and creative outlet of camp now more than ever.
Since reopening registration, Johnson has heard nothing but positive feedback from parents. They’re just happy the town has something to offer, she said.
“I hope people know that we are doing everything in our power to have a fun and safe environment for our campers and hope that people who do still come to camp enjoy it and have a great summer,” Johnson said.
Smith said the recreation department is following CDC guidelines and has created a number of new procedures to minimize the exposure and keep campers safe. In addition, staff will be encouraging hand washing and social distancing, and there will be hourly cleaning at all the facilities.
“As long as it was safe and deemed appropriate by the professionals, then we felt comfortable moving forward,” Smith said. “We’re just trying to do what we can to minimize as much risk as possible while delivering quality camps for kids.”
Want to register?
Visit www.apm.activecommunities.com/matthewsfun for a full list of available summer camps and programs.