Kids take part in Boys & Girls Club summer activities in this undated photo. (Photo courtesy Boys & Girls Clubs of the Kenai Peninsula)

Grants issued for youth summer camps

Many summer camps on the central Kenai Peninsula were either scaled back or canceled altogether because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Youth summer camps across the state are set to receive CARES Act funding from the federal government, according to a press release from the Alaska State Department of Health and Social Services.

The state will be receiving $1 million from the DHSS, Alaska Community Foundation and the Rasmuson Foundation.

“Following a year of tremendous change, Alaska’s children are in need of fun opportunities to stay engaged with their peers,” Gov. Mike Dunleavy said in the release. “By utilizing this CARES funding to assist with scholarships, staffing, and additional expenses, Alaskan families can look forward to an active summer.”

Many summer camps on the central Kenai Peninsula, including ones at the public libraries and the National Wildlife Refuge, were either scaled back or canceled altogether because of the coronavirus pandemic.

This year, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Kenai Peninsula and Hope Community Resources Inc. in Soldotna are set to receive part of the CARES grant.

The release stated the federal funding is meant to enable the hiring and training of staff so camps can reopen at almost or completely full capacity this summer.

“This project will serve as an economic stimulus for organizations that run summer camps and help provide opportunities for youth to stay active and engaged this summer, to address both the physical and social needs of our youth,” DHSS Commissioner Adam Crum said in the release. “This also allows working parents to safely transition back into the workplace if that is what is needed.”

Additionally, the grant support will provide scholarships to kids and families who need help with the cost of summer camps, special expenses like transportation and increased expenses due to COVID-19.

Reach reporter Camille Botello at camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

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