Frequently Asked Questions about 2020 Summer Camps

Camp is open at seven YMCA of Greater Brandywine branches! We can't wait to see you! 

View Camps or Register Now


Which locations are offering summer camp?

Summer camp is being offered at seven locations this summer:

  • Brandwyine - 295 Hurley Road Coatesville, PA 19320
  • Jennersville - 880 W. Baltimore PikeWest Grove, PA 19390
  • Kennettt Area - 101 Race Street, Kennett Square, PA 19348
  • Lionville - 100 Devon Drive, Exton, PA 19341
  • Oscar Lasko - 1 E. Chestnut Street, West Chester, PA 19380
  • Upper Main Line - 1416 Berwyn-Paoli Road, Berwyn, PA 19312
  • West Chester - 605 Airport Road, West Chester, PA 19380

As we take into account the many precautions that need to be implemented, capacity limits and staffing needs, it is unfortunately not possible to open our Octorara YMCA Program Center for camp and childcare this summer. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience we know this causes you. While the situation we are in due to COVID-19 continually changes, we anticipate reopening our childcare program at Octorara this fall.

For the summer, we can provide care for your child(ren) at our Jennersville YMCA or Brandywine YMCA—both of which are a short distance from the Octorara YMCA Program Center. Our staff will be happy to assist you in transferring your child’s registration if you would like. Simply contact us using the information below:

Jennersville YMCA

Aaron Karpas, Executive Director

610-869-9622, ext. 2532

Brandywine YMCA

LaKeisha Harris, Executive Director

610-380-9622, ext. 2417

Note that if you receive Child Care Works (CCW) funding, you will need to register for camp at our Brandywine YMCA. CCW funding is accepted for childcare (Infant to Pre-K) at both locations.

Can we get a refund if we need to cancel?

We understand that this situation is fluid and have adjusted our refund and cancellation policy as follows.

  • Canceling Your Camp Registration
    • Two Weeks Prior to the Start of Your Camp - If for any reason you need to cancel your camp registration, you will receive a full refund for any fees you have paid, including deposits, if you cancel at least two weeks prior to the first day of the camp session for which you are registered. Please contact our Summer Camp Team at if you need to cancel your camp registration.
    • Less than Two Weeks Prior to the Start of Your Camp - If for any reason, you need to cancel your camp registration within the two weeks immediately prior to the start of your child’s camp, refunds will not be given, per our current policy.
    • No Show - If you are registered for a camp session and do not attend for any reason and/or do not notify us that you will not be attending at least two weeks prior to the start of the session, refunds will not be issued.
  • Canceled Camps
    • If a camp scheduled to run must be cancelled because we cannot ensure the safety and health of the children and staff, you will be able to transfer your child to another camp if available or receive a full refund.

How do I make changes to my child's enrollment?

If you'd like to make changes to your child's enrollment, please contact our Summer Camp Team at

What health and safety protocols have been implemented as a result of COVID-19?

In planning for our summer camps, our highest priority is always protecting the health and safety of your children, our staff and our members. Due to COVID-19, we have implemented new procedures and protocols based on the latest directives and recommendations provided by the CDC, the American Camping Association and the State of Pennsylvania. We are also prepared to quickly evolve plans to align with any health agency updates.

In accordance with the Governor's phased-in reopening plan for summer programs in yellow or green phase counties, all are invited to view our Health and Safety Plan, which follows the CDC guidance for Youth and Summer Camps.

Our talented team continually creates a safe experience within the new health and safety parameters so that all children still safely enjoy exciting adventures, can begin new friendships and have a great summer.

Some of the new protocols include, but are not limited to:

  • All children and staff are screened prior to the start of each day to ensure they are healthy. Anyone exhibiting a temperature of 100.4 or higher or other symptoms of illness is not permitted to attend camp or childcare programs. Visitors need special approval to be onsite.
  • More frequent hand-washing breaks and enhanced disinfecting procedures have been implemented.
  • Parents and guardians remain in their cars during camp drop-off and pickup with a member of our staff accompanying each child to the camp site.
  • Camper groups are smaller than in previous years and activities where staff and children are spaced further apart are employed.
  • Social distancing is employed through the use of stable groups of nine children or less and at least one staff person. Every effort is made to keep siblings in the same group, as well as having the same staff member with each group. This group is autonomous, maintaining recommended social distancing from all other groups and in this way, the children are limited in their exposure to others.


Are children required to wear masks? (UPDATED JULY 8, 2020)

Updated as of July 8, 2020The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) provided additional direction on face coverings for children following the order Governor Wolf issued last week. All children over the age of two in YGBW camp and childcare programs will need to wear a face covering starting Thursday, July 9, unless one of the exceptions below applies:

  • If a child is outdoors and able to consistently maintain a social distance of at least six feet from individuals who are not a part of their household
  • If a parent or guardian has been unable to place a face covering safely on the child’s face
  • If a child is unable to remove a face mask without assistance

Face masks can be removed during mealtimes and napping, as the children will be socially distanced. Face masks will be removed when swimming.

We know it can be difficult for children, especially those who are younger, to understand why they need to wear a face covering and often to keep a face covering on. We will encourage children to keep masks on as much as possible. In our childcare and camp programs, we will be discussing the need to wear face coverings with all of the children.

Below are some suggestions for how to encourage your child to wear a face covering:

  • Give your children matching masks for their favorite doll or stuffed animal to wear
  • Have your children decorate their own masks so they are personalized and more fun
  • Make sure you model wearing a face mask so your children understand how important it is
  • Practice wearing a face covering at home with your children

How many kids will be at camp?

All branches have significantly reduced the number of camper spots each week. Numbers are based on the available indoor space in the event of bad weather.

Why were some camps canceled?

We offer many types of camps and some are better suited to running safely than others with the new procedures and protocols we are implementing due to COVID-19. We canceled the camps that we felt presented a significant health risk.

What is social distancing/stable groups?

Social distancing requires a combination of several protocols. 

  • Social distancing during drop-off & pick-up time is accomplished by physical demarcations among age groups within a space. 
  • Stable groups, throughout the day, function as a cohort of children and staff that stay together.
  • Staff maintain the 6 ft. recommended distancing from each other, whenever possible.

How will staff be trained and monitored?

All camp staff are trained on social distancing, stable groups, cleaning and disinfecting (according to CDC guidelines), virus spread reduction practices as well as required handwashing. Each branch has a designated staff member responsible for making sure that all program participants as well as staff, adhere to the requirements. 

Are children instructed on good hygiene practices?

All campers participate in an orientation that includes a discussion on the need to be attentive to personal space and avoid close contact, stable group management, handwashing techniques, mask management, keeping hands away from the face, sneezing and coughing etiquette and respecting others' belongings.

Is hand sanitizer be available?

Hand sanitizer is provided and used as needed when campers and staff are not near a sink. Campers are not permitted to carry hand sanitizer. Parents are invited to donate hand sanitizer to our camp program.  

Is there increased handwashing?

Yes! We have added multiple hand washing stations at each site. Campers and staff wash their hands upon arrival and multiple times during the day. Staff instruct children how to wash hands effectively, and we ask that you review the importance of handwashing at home. Hand sanitizer is available when sinks are not close by.  

My child has health issues. Is coming to camp is a good idea? 

We cannot offer an opinion on whether or not participating in YMCA programs is a good fit for your child. That decision is up to you. We can assure you that, following the guidelines we have been provided, we are doing everything we can to provide the safest environment possible for children and staff.

Will my children be sharing supplies and equipment with other children? 

The stable groups l share equipment as needed but every effort is made to provide individual supplies and equipment whenever possible. Items that will be used by another group are cleaned and disinfected between groups.

Are children be allowed on playgrounds? 

Yes, the playgrounds are available for campers. They are disinfected daily as part of our daily cleaning and disinfection process.

What do indoor classroom spaces look like? 

In all classrooms, we have removed any unnecessary items and reduced the amount of furniture. Seating around tables is limited and soft surfaces that are tougher to clean have been removed. Center areas are spaced further apart, and the number of children invited to play in these areas is reduced. 

What happens if a child tests positive for COVID-19?

If the YMCA identifies a child who tested positive for COVID-19 or we learn they are positive, we will take the following steps: 

  • The YMCA will immediately notify local health officials. 

  • The YMCA will notify the parents of those in the affected stable group. 

  • The Camp Director will inform those who have had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 to stay home and self-monitor for symptoms and to follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.
    • If a person does not have symptoms, CDC guidance for home isolation should be followed. 
  • Students in the stable camp group and staff who ere in close contact with the affected camper will be asked to stay home 14 days after the last know contacted of those affected.
    • This initial short-term dismissal allows time for the local health officials to gain a better understanding of the COVID-19 situation impacting the Y and for custodial staff to clean and disinfect the affected facilities.
    • The Y will work with the local health officials to determine appropriate next steps, including whether an extended dismissal duration is needed to stop or slow the further spread of COVID-19. 
  • The affected classroom will be closed for 24 hours, then thoroughly disinfected before using it again. 

In the case of a confirmed case, the CDC recommends the child not return until: 

  • Authorization by a medical professional OR at least 72 hours have passed since recovery, which is defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications

  • AND at least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared OR receipt of a negative COVID-19 test.   

What does the health screening look like?

Upon arrival, all children and staff are temperature-checked and asked the screening questions listed below.

If any individual has a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher they are not permitted to enter the YMCA/ or attend camp. If any individual answers YES to any of the symptoms below (or any 2 from question 3), they may not enter the YMCA/attend camp.

Question 1: Have you been in contact with anyone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days?

Question 2: In the past 24 hours, have you experienced a persistent cough or shortness of breath.

Question 3: In the past 24 hours, have you had any of the following symptoms (2 or more symptoms precludes entry to the YMCA):

  1. New loss of taste/smell
  2. Body aches
  3. Sore throat
  4. Fever
  5. Chills
  6. Diarrhea
  7. Repeated shaking with chills
  8. Muscle pain
  9. Headache

For everyone's health and safety, we cannot make exceptions, and we thank you in advance for not asking our staff to do so if your child is not permitted to enter the camp site. There is a short questionnaire regarding COVID exposure as well upon arrival.

Can I visit during the day?

The CDC recommends no visitors on site. So this summer, we are not inviting parents to visit. If you have specific concerns, please discuss them with the camp director. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Are there going to be field trips/bus rides?

No. All activities will occur on-site. 

Are the pools be open for swimming?

Yes! Campers will swim in our indoor pools at all branches, except the Oscar Lasko YMCA, where unfortunately there is not a pool.

What kinds of activities will be available at camp?

Weekly activities include arts and crafts, nature and STEM, drama, field games, sports and movement, water play, and theme-related activities. We are also intentional about incorporating language arts and math opportunities into our activities to support students academically during the summer months. 

What happens if the weather gets bad and you have to go inside? 

We used the available square footage in our indoor spaces to determine the number of children we can have at a site. The measurements used far exceeded the 6-foot social distancing recommendation (36 square feet) allowing for children to be able to move around even though they would still be staying in their stable groups. 

What does pick up and drop off look like?

Drop off and pick up are done curbside with parents and guardians remaining in their cars. When you arrive in the drop off lane, your child’s temperature is taken and you are asked a short series of health screening questions by a staff member who is wearing gloves, eye protection and a mask. Your child will then be escorted to the campsite by our staff.