Indoor day camp confusion has parents crying foul

Sports camps are being scrubbed leaving children anxious for Step 3

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They feel unfairly sidelined at a time when their children just want to play sports they love.

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Officials with indoor sports camps say a mish-mash of rules prevents children from participating in sports, even as they’re allowed to attend indoor camps usually centred on those sports.

“It’s really splitting hairs,” said Lisa Alexander of Skate Ontario. “Sport camps are explicitly not allowed, but day camps explicitly are.”

Alexander said angry parents are calling.

Skate Ontario clubs are confused because they were allowed to run indoor sport camps last summer.

This year, they await Step 3.

Skate Ontario is not alone in its confusion.

Some hockey camps shut down suddenly this week.

And Badminton Ontario and Gymnastics Ontario have issued clarifications to members about what is allowed.

In a June 25 message, Jean Wong of Badminton Ontario spelled out the organization’s understanding of provincial rules.

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“It seems there was some confusion at the club level …,” Wong wrote — in part — on the Badminton Ontario website.

“Information we received from the York Region Public Health indicates that the Ontario Ministry of Health states that the facility itself technically can open for day camps, but participants cannot play badminton (or other sports/fitness) indoors.”

This distinction has clubs calling out a lack of consistency.

“The latest information we have received from the province is that indoor fitness in day camps would be permitted in Step 3,” Badminton Ontario’s message read. “However, we are still looking into this.”

Gymnastics Ontario is also twisting itself, trying to stick to the rules.

Some indoor day camps believed gymnastics was allowed in Step 1.

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“I want to advise clubs that I am now aware of two member clubs in two different public health regions who have been told they may not run indoor sport activities at their day camps,” wrote Dave Sandford of Gymnastics Ontario in its most recent COVID-19 update June 14.

“However, I have also been informed of a third public health region who said a member club is allowed to run indoor sport activities at their day camps. You can see the mixed messaging already.”

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That mixed messaging has parents seething.

“It’s such a shame, when you think of the health of our kids and the importance that sport can play,” said Alexander of Skate Ontario. “Because we’re the only province that’s not allowing any sport, our competitive kids are flying out of Ontario to train.”

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