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More space sought as demand for summer camps grow in Palm Beach County

Coronavirus pandemic leaves YMCA searching for more space
Posted at 10:08 PM, May 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-27 10:21:12-04

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis has given the green light for youth activities to reopen, including summer camps. But the coronavirus pandemic is posing a space and logistics nightmare for groups like the YMCA.

"Historically, we've had three locations -- one in Boynton Beach, one in Boca Raton and one in west Boca," YMCA CEO Jason Hagensick said.

Hagensick said this summer they cut one program because of social distancing needs, staff to camper ratios and their overall commitment to safety.

"Last year we would have served almost 300 kids every single day in a large indoor facility, as well as plenty of outdoor space," he said. "This summer that very same location is going to be less than a hundred kids."

RELATED: Summer camp, day care options in Palm Beach County, Treasure Coast

Hagensick said there is a greater demand after other organizations like the School District of Palm Beach County and city of Boca Raton cut summer camps. He said they're full at the moment, unless they find and ready another location. So his organization is working with the Chamber of Commerce and Boca Raton Councilman Andy Thomson.

"So what I've been doing is trying to get these camps in touch with private office space, private property owners who have just so happens a lot of additional space due to the business they're facing right now," Thomson said.

The councilman said he's had some success getting private property owners to help. Hagensick said his staff is working on added space now.

"My operations team are actually talking to a former Office Depot location," he added.