Clarity is needed around indoor summer camps, swimming lessons and youth clubs for the upcoming summer holidays, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Senator Emer Currie has raised the matter in the Seanad this week and called for clarity on the guidelines to ensure that businesses, youth workers and parents can get organised to ensure there’s a plan in place for young people this summer.
Senator Currie said: “The summer holidays are in sight. We need a plan for kids’ camps and youth activities. Children and teenagers have been mainly cooped up at home for over a year and they deserve a proper summer experience. It’s not enough to simple promote an outdoor summer; teenagers need more options than hanging around street corners.
“Some working parents rely on camps for childcare in summertime. The direction is to work from home until September, but everyone has had enough of keeping the children entertained while working from home.
“Youth bodies like Foróige have been supporting our teenagers through the pandemic online, but at the moment they are restricted to meeting in groups of 15 outside, sometimes in unsuitable locations like car parks.
“The 7th June will see gyms, pools and leisure centres open for individual training. As we head into the summer and schools close, a controlled environment can be replicated for summer camps, swimming lessons and youth clubs.
“500,000 children have lost out on swimming lessons during the pandemic. 5,000 new parents, babies and toddlers a week have lost out on swim classes like Water Babies. Swimming is a life-skill, it’s the second most popular sport after personal exercise in Ireland and is recognised in our national physical activity plan. We have seen more and more young people try out sea, river and freshwater swimming and so it is vital young people have the proper lessons and lifesaving skills, but pools have been closed for swimming lessons since March 2020. Many swimming schools and clubs have been left in financial difficulty, and teachers and coaches have all been out of work.
“Research from Swim Ireland shows the risk of transmission of Covid 19 is incredibly low in aquatic environments with proper ventilation.
“Parents and children want to plan for the summer. This is the time to do it”, concluded Senator Currie.