In accordance with the Province of Ontario state of emergency guidelines and to do its part to combat the current pandemic, Act One suspended all programs, effective March 18th. Recently, as the province has begun to reopen, the provincial government announced its approval for summer day camps to reopen, effective July 1st, subject to published guidelines for their operation this summer. Act One sought and received confirmation that its Theatre Summer Camp program did qualify as a "day camp" under the announcement parameters. Originally, Act One had planned to offer all four planned camp sessions for this summer. Last minute circumstances outside of our control made it impossible for us to run our two July sessions (Session I and II). We have however been able to adapt our camp format and plans to address these remaining challenges and are happy to announce that our two August sessions (Session III and IV) can proceed as planned.
This announcement outlines the key changes we have had to make to ensure compliance with Durham Region Health guidelines and other factors that have been impacted by the pandemic.
Camp Format Changes
After a thorough review of the day camp guidelines published by the Ontario Ministry of Health, we have had to make a number of modifications to the camp format. While this does allow us to offer a theatre camp experience this summer, it does have some unfortunate implications.
The key changes are as follows:
- Session Capacity: Camp Sessions will be limited to a maximum of 16 individual campers.
- Age Range Change: The age range for this year’s camp has been changed to ages 8-14 only. We apologize to families with younger children. This decision was not taken lightly. Based on the provincial guidelines, we could not figure out any workable structure to accommodate the younger ages, in a safe and reasonable manner, without a significant increase in camp cost (basically under the guidelines, one almost has to provide one-on-one supervision of younger children).
- Group Size Limits: Due to restrictions on in session camper group sizes, we also have implemented a maximum limit of eight campers per session in each of the two age group ranges: 11-14, 8-10.
- Camp Location: Due to Greenwood being closed for the summer due to the pandemic, the camp will be taking place entirely at the Act One school location for the full two weeks.
- Camp Games and Activities: We have removed a number of camp games and activities that could not be adapted to social distancing. We have replaced these with a more comprehensive series of focused workshops in various dramatic areas (such as audition technique, monologues, musical Theatre, etc). We are still able to offer the play and short film creation and other key camper activities.
- Camp Session Show: Due to continuing concerns over group gatherings, We will not be presenting end of session camper shows for "live" audiences. Instead, we will be recorfing the camper's end of session show performances, then uploading the show to the school's Vimeo account. A link will then be sent to the families of all the campers. This will allow them share the link with anyone they wish and let all stream the show at their own convenience. For those who would still like a more permenant momento, we will still be producing show discs for each session and providing a free copy to each camper family so they can watch at home.
Camp Session Status Confirmation
At the start of July, the City of Pickering made the announcement they were cancelling all user permits for all their facilities until at least Sept 1/20. This meant that Greenwood (Act One's normal camp location) would no longer be available for use during 2020. This announcement came too late for us to be able to react in time for Sessions I and II (in July), but we were able to adapt things to permit Sessions III and IV (in August) to continue.We were not able to fully confirm August sessions until later, due to us having to address a number of other issues that also arose early in July.
To address all this uncertainty, Act One implemented the following process:
- Payment: Act One is not requiring any advance payment for any registration. A camper can register for a session, we will hold a spot and they will only have to pay on the first day of camp, if the session runs.
- Session Status: These are as follows:.
- Session I: (July 6th to 17th) Cancelled.
- Session II: (July 20th to 31st) Cancelled.
- Session III: (August 4th to 14th) Proceeding as scheduled.
- Session IV: (August 17th to 28th) Proceeding as scheduled.
- Session Cancellation: If a session is cancelled, all campers will be given the following opportunities:
- Act One will immediately freeze registrations for the remaining sessions for 48 hours. During this period, all impacted campers will be given the option to transfer their registration to a later session (assuming there is still space). After 48 hours all remaining sessions will be opened up to new registrations again.
- If a camper has prepaid for a cancelled session, they can choose between a refund or having the fees transferred to another session (if they moved their registration).
Act One hopes this information proves helpful for many. We look forward to being able to provide more information and certainty in the near future.