2021 Summer Recreation Program FAQs

The information below is compiled from some of the most commonly asked questions about our 2021 Summer Recreation Program. 

What health measures is Summer Programs taking to protect participants and staff?

The State of NM, NM Department of Health, Center for Disease Control (CDC) and City of Las Cruces have provided guidance and direction for programs to follow.

We will be following all recommended cleaning procedures, including cleaning of bathrooms, door handles, and any high touch surfaces throughout the day.

All staff will wear a mask when indoors and when within 6 feet of campers or staff when outdoors. Current health guidance allows for masks to be removed when outside and at least 6 feet from others, and for the safety of our staff working in the summer heat, we will be encouraging staff to take mask breaks outside, when they are at a safe distance from others.

Participants and staff will wash hands with soap and water frequently, and hand sanitizer will also be available in all activity areas.

We will have contact less drop off and pick up for participants. Parents will not be allowed to exit their car at drop off or pick up.

Participants and staff will be screened upon arrival and no one will be admitted with a temperature of 100.4F degrees or if they display symptoms of COVID-19.

The City of Las Cruces will recommend routine COVID-19 screening for staff who appear healthy. Staff who feel sick or who have a temperature will stay home (and will contact their doctor for guidance on testing), and we have plans for back-up staff.

Why are there different dates for Session 1? 

Due to COVID-19 restrictions we will not be able to begin Summer Recreation at certain locations until June 15. Only the Meerscheidt Recreation Center and the Frank O'Brien Papen Center will begin on June 1. However, participants at the Frank O'Brien Papen Center will move to Hermosa Heights Elementary on June 15.

Why are there different costs for the Sessions? 

For participants beginning Summer Recreation on Tuesday June 1 a charge of $200 dollars will be assessed for  Session I. Session II will cost $200 for the entire session. The sessions will not be prorated. Some Summer Recreation locations will begin on June 15 and go through July 2 for Session I. Participants who begin Summer Recreation on June 15 will be charged $100 for the remainder of Session I. 

I am allowed to select a site for Summer Recreation? 

To adhere to all State of NM Covid-19 Guidelines we will be limiting the number of participation spots. The lottery selection will provide you one opportunity to get selected at any of the three (3) available locations. We appreciate your interest in our program.

What time can I drop off/pick up my child?

7:45 is the earliest and 5:15 is the latest. 

We know things happen and encourage you to save the site phone number to communicate with staff in case an issue arises or if your child will be absent. Remember to allow time at drop off for the wellness check as your child must be cleared before being dropped off at the program. 

• Frank O'Brien Papen & Sierra Middle School Site Phone #: 575-339-5291 

• Meerscheidt Recreation Center Site Phone #: 575-339-5290 

• Hermosa Heights Site Phone #: 575-339-5294

When is breakfast and lunch served? 

9:00 AM until 11:30 AM; combination of breakfast & lunch 

The meals are provided by FYI, and they also provide meals for the community at large; at times, they may run out; so please have your child there during the serving times.

 My child is picky about eating, what can we do? 

We encourage our participants to eat the meals provided. At this time, we are not allowing outside food unless there is dietary reason (please speak to Program Supervisor if this is the case.). We do not allow unhealthy snacks (i.e.; Hot Cheetos, sugary items, sodas, candy, etc.) 

What is the cost of the field trips? 

Each field trip will vary in price. You will be notified of the cost of each field trip as soon as the logistics are confirmed. Please keep in mind your child may want spending money for souvenirs as well. 

What are the daily activities the kids will be doing? 

Following all COVID-19 policies and procedures our participants will be doing a variety of activities outside during the day (weather permitting), so please make sure your child has sunscreen and proper footwear. No flip-flops. Proper swim attire is required for field trips to the aquatic facilities. Our participants will  have down time after lunch. We will ask them to read for at least 30 minutes. Special programs will be provided during the afternoon from: guest speakers, art instruction, Life-Skills presentations, Fire & Police presentations, and Keep Las Cruces Beautiful information. 

What if my child misbehaves or is aggressive with another child? 

Our priority is to provide a safe environment for all of our participants. We will address and redirect any type of aggressive behavior or bullying. Parents will be notified. 

What are the qualifications or criteria for Summer Program staff?

Summer Program staff have been vetted by the City of Las Cruces, background checks, drug screening, and references are thoroughly checked. They are CPR/First Aid certified and have Defensive Driving training.

 What happens if there is a COVID positive case?

If a child presents with a fever, cough, or other COVID-19 symptoms, we will follow City of Las Cruces COVID-19 procedures and contact parents, and the Department of Health. There will be a lower threshold for sending a participant home for persistent coughing or sneezing. While these may be allergy induced, coughing and sneezing can be infectious and even mild illness or allergies may result in the need for a doctor’s note to return to the program. If a child, staff person, or household member of a program participant or staff person has a COVID-19 positive test, we will follow City of Las Cruces COVID-19 procedure, s notify the Department of Health and follow guidance for cleaning, closure of individual groups, and notification of families.

Families and staff are requested to notify the Summer Program staff immediately of any COVID-19 positive case in their household while program is open.

What will campers be able to do? 

Summer 2021 will be amazing and magical! For returning participants who know and love Summer Recreation, many favorite activities and experiences will be the same, and some things will look very different.

All participants will be able to build a fort, play kickball, enjoy making a piece of art, play outdoors in the sun, play silly games, interact with your friends and still have adventures this summer. Unlike other years, these activities will happen within a schedule that ensures that shared areas are either sanitized or sufficiently vacant between groups.

What happens on rainy days?

We will operate as usual in the rain, enjoying primarily indoor activities. During these storms, participants will be indoors in their assigned areas. Staff will always wear masks when indoors. Participants should be sent with a mask and will be required to wear. We will require participants to wear masks when indoors on inclement weather days and strictly enforce their proper wearing and use.

What we ask parents?

We are in this together! We are on your team, trying to give kids a healthy, fairly normal summer. We need all enrolled program families to be on board with the following:

The Summer Program will not monitor, judge, or act on each family’s level of social distancing from others outside of the program. However, we ask that as much as possible, if you choose to enroll in the program that you choose to make our program the primary exposure your family has to others (not including essential workers in their workplace). Families who plan to have regular playdates and other non-essential direct contact with others outside of our program are more likely to put a whole group at risk of exposure and possible closure. For us to stay open, we need families to limit exposures as much as possible.

We will all have new routines to learn. We will need parents to read the information we send and comply with all guidelines and directions. We cannot do this without all of us on board to participate in communication.

We have some small requests for supplies you will need to provide: a water bottle for your child with a covered mouthpiece, a face covering, no open-toe shoes, a hat, and a SMILE.

We are limited in who we can serve this summer

Out-of-School Time Programs believe all children and families participating is core to our mission and central to the identity of who we want to be in our community. Our reality this summer is that we cannot fully achieve all parts of this mission. We have chosen to offer Summer Recreation for the number of children that we can serve currently, believing that doing what we can for some is better than choosing to close and do nothing. This is what we can do now. We will continue problem-solving and working to do more for families and for future programs.

Children with medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and compromised immune systems are recommended by the CDC to take precautionary measures while participating in day camps. Please speak with your doctor about our program if your child or any household member has a chronic medical condition, or if you have a household member over 65 years old. 

Children (with or without diagnosed special needs) who are very sensitive to change, prone to inflexible thinking, or who routinely need individual support for social interactions, safe choices, and/or activity participation may not be best served in the program this summer. Of course, this will look different for each child, and some participants may enjoy and benefit from the changes to programming. Things to consider as you think about what does and does not work for your child:

Our routines will look very different from what your child may remember or be expecting.

We have limited flexibility with activity choices and schedules.

Participants will still enjoy almost all the usual recreational activities, but their choices between preferred activities and play areas throughout each day will be substantially limited.

Participants will need to stay with their group, and group activities and use of specific spaces are scheduled and not flexible due to the need for disinfection of spaces between groups, per CDC regulations.

Adults will be wearing masks, and we know that may make understanding and interpreting communication and social cues very difficult.

How to apply, and how we are determining acceptance                                                

To apply: Complete the online registration process or pick up a drive-thru application and return by the deadline date. Applications for children in the same household will be kept together in the lottery.

We will be offering enrollment to applicants by lottery:

On Thursday, May 20, we will notify families at 3:00 pm by email or text of the children selected in the lottery and what the next steps are to register and make payment.

Completion of the Family Orientation will need to be attended by the Parent/Guardian/Child for completion of enrollment. More information will come to those that have been selected.

Why are we doing enrollment by lottery?

We may have a high demand for available spots and need to provide every family a fair opportunity to get in.

We know that many families have complicated work and distance learning schedules right now, and do not feel that offering registration on a first-come basis gives equitable opportunity to register to all families.