HARDYSTON, NJ – Following Governor Murphy’s announcement that New Jersey could begin reopening summer day camp on July 6, the Sussex County YMCA is set to safely welcome children back for the 2020 camp season.

For several weeks, the YMCA has been preparing to safely offer camp in light of COVID-19. Many new protocols and procedures have been implemented in accordance with the latest directives from the State of New Jersey, CDC and American Camping Association, and staff members are undergoing extensive training to prepare. The Y has already reached out to its camp families to introduce these guidelines and engage them in the planning process through virtual webinars and email correspondence. 

“We are eager to begin safely welcoming children back to the Y for learning, friendships, and fun this summer,” said Richard K. Gorab, President and CEO of Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges. “Our successful experience in providing Emergency Child Care these last few months has prepared us to provide a safe and healthy environment for children of all ages under new guidelines."

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Some of the changes participants can expect at the YMCA include:

Extensive Staff Training –  Y staff members are undergoing training in the latest cleaning and disinfection protocols provided by the CDC, as well as in social distancing, stable groups and virus spread reduction. In addition, all Y staff members receive training annually in child abuse prevention, first aid, CPR and workplace safety. Children will be taught about personal space, hand washing and other best practices to protect their own health and safety.

Hand Washing - More frequent hand-washing breaks and enhanced disinfecting procedures are being implemented including the addition of more sinks and hand sanitizing stations.

Health Screenings - All children and staff will be screened daily. Anyone with a temperature over 100.4 and/or exhibiting other symptoms of illness will not be permitted to attend. Visitors will not be allowed on site without special approval.

Enhanced Drop Off and Pick Up Procedures - To limit adult entry, parents and guardians will drop off and pick up their children outside the facility in designated areas.

Smaller Groups - Camp groups will be smaller than in previous years, and limited to 20 children to allow for social distancing and reduce virus transmission. 

PPE - Staff will be required to wear cloth masks and children will be encouraged to do so as well. Additional PPE will be available for staff stationed at check-in and isolation areas including disposable gloves, KN95 masks, face shields and protective gowns. 

Weekly camp activities, depending on type of program, include arts and crafts, nature and STEAM, drama, field games, sports and movement, water activities, and theme-related activities. The Sussex County Y offers extended hours for camp, and financial assistance is also available to eligible families. 

Visit metroymcas.org for more information about camps and how to register.

Virtual Camp

The Y now offers a Virtual Camp option for youth ages 6-15, beginning July 13. Operated by Fairview Lake YMCA Camps, the camp includes interactive activities such as hiking, horseback riding, arts and crafts, and games led by the Y’s caring and well-trained staff. The camp runs from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. each day, and families can register for one week at a time. 

Other Facilities Remain Closed

The State of New Jersey has not yet announced a reopening date for gyms and health clubs. Thus, while the Metro YMCA branches are offering camp, child care, and outdoor fitness classes, fitness facilities remain closed at this time. 


Established in 1885, the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges invests in its diverse communities to promote wellness, safety and quality of life for children, adults and seniors. Its seven branches in East Orange, Livingston, Maplewood, Hackensack, Hardyston, Stillwater and Wayne are committed to nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility through an array of programs. Some 35,000 people belong to the Metro Y, which awards more than $2.8 million annually in direct and indirect financial assistance.