YMCA Camp Reed prioritizing campers’ safety and mental health this summer

SPOKANE, Wash. — If your child gets signed up to go to YMCA Camp Reed this year, they can expect activities benefitting both their physical and mental health.

Thanks to a new partnership with Youth Family Adult Connections, or YFA Connections, campers will have the option to see an on-site therapist when they are away at camp.

Camp Reed has always been a place for kids to get outdoors and really experience summer.

But swimming, hiking, biking and arts and crafts took on a different form last year.

Because the camp couldn’t operate at normal capacity, cabins were rented out to families so they could have summer fun in socially-distanced pods.

And some of Camp Reed’s usual activities became available virtually.

Under Phase 3, Camp Reed is planning on welcoming campers back again, but this time, with therapists on-site.

Executive Director Phil Harrison says this was something they were interested in doing with or without the pandemic.

“Mental health has always been a stigma to talk about and I believe that when we can talk about it in a healthy way with young kids from a young point, we will erase that stigma more and more and more,” he said. “So when the opportunity presented itself, it fell right in line with what we wanted to achieve.”

YFA Connections is an organization that normally has therapists meeting with kids in an office or school setting.

Having them at Camp Reed will hopefully help kids who are struggling to get socially acclimated — especially in the middle of a pandemic.

After a difficult school year and because going to summer camp is a different social environment entirely, YFA Connections is hoping therapists can be there to help kids with social anxiety and help them build relationships during their time at camp.

“Kids separating from their families and going away to camp and being you know in a strange environment and with new people can be anxiety-producing for them,” said Director of Youth and Residential Services at YFA Connections Angela Getz. ” So providing support there. But also anticipating that this could be increased given that youth have been isolated and in their homes even more so.”

A therapist will be on-site at Camp Reed every Tuesday and Thursday for all eight weeks of camp.

But what camp activities will look like this year is still unknown.

The CDC has recommendations for what summer camp guidelines should look like, but since it’s not certain what phase of reopening Washington will be in by this summer, Harrison says nothing is set in stone yet.

Camp Reed registration is open for Summer 2021. Click here to sign your child up.

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