Honolulu keiki summer programs in demand

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — There are still limited spots open at certain summer camps and programs, but those are likely to get filled fast.

There is still a chance for those on a waitlist, however.

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Keiki summer activities and programs are more essential than ever as many parents return to work.

The YMCA of Honolulu vice president of Marketing and Mission Advancement Lisa Ontai said spots filled up faster in 2021. The sites are also operating at limited capacity due to the pandemic.

Ontai said, “I would say even in a regular summer, our advice is always to parents to register early if you want the spot a certain branch, a certain program, those spots do fill up quickly.” 

Many of the YMCA’s summer day and specialty camps are full. Although spots for middle school students are open at Summer Day Camp at the Leeward, Mililani, Nuuanu and Windward branches.

Ontai says they may be able to increase capacity if the City relaxes restrictions on social distancing.

“If it’s full, get on our waiting list because as we mentioned, we do follow State and City guidelines very carefully,” Ontai said. “If any of these rules or social distancing or things get lifted, we will immediately respond and will increase our capacity.”

The Hawaii Kids Can executive director David Miyashiro said he is not surprised spots at summer programs quickly filled up. The education advocacy group has been keeping track of the impacts the pandemic has had on students.

“This summer is so important because it’s an opportunity for kids not only to get caught up academically if they are falling behind but also re-socialize,” Miyashiro said. “And just get used to the rhythms of school and seeing other children again.”

Meanwhile the City’s Summer Fun Program begins Monday, June 7.

The Parks and Recreation spokesperson Nathan Serota said more than 4,800 keiki enrolled in the program.

The City hoped to provide 6,000 spots, but it too was limited.

“It comes down to staffing, 6,000 is the number that we came up with, with the facilities that we had, the sites that we had and with the spacing that was available to us,” Serota said. “That was really that max if we had full staffing, we’d be able to get about 6,000 kids.”

The YMCA and the City said they were able to increase staffing levels in the last couple of weeks. The “Y” is already looking to bring in a couple of hundred employees for the upcoming school year.

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