The Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center and the Chandler-Newberger Center both dealt with difficult times during the darkest days of last year’s pandemic. Now, they are rebounding and hoping to get back to normal.

Fleetwood-Jourdain had to shut down last year when the pandemic hit, which meant people couldn’t come in to play basketball, soccer and karate. At Chandler-Newberger, the summer camps were delayed for a month from early June to July. Chandler had to drastically reduce their numbers so there could be social distancing. In a normal year, one camp session accommodated 60 kids, but last year the camp was only able to take 20 kids. There were also some camps that Chandler couldn’t offer including aquatics and field trip. The aquatics camp isn’t running this year as well. 

There are many activities for people to sign up for at Fleetwood including basketball clinics, karate lessons and summer camps. Briana Jenkins, the assistant program coordinator for the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, said, “Fleetwood gives these families, whether they’re senior citizens or toddlers, the opportunity to explore things that they may have not before.” 

The Chandler-Newberger Sports Camp enables kids to play a variety of different sports and allows many high schoolers from the Evanston community to have paid job experience. The camp isn’t focused as much on the competitive aspect of sports. Michelle Tompkins, program coordinator for Chandler-Newberger, said, “I think one of the biggest ways [it helps the community] is that it offers parents a safe place to send their kids…It’s a safe space for the campers. They get exercise, they get to run, they get to play. We take grouping requests, so they can hang out with their friends.”

This year, Fleetwood is offering their summer discovery camp. Kids, ages 4-12, can explore many activities and sign up for either a two-week session or the entire eight-week session. Fleetwood is offering a soccer program for kids from five to nine and also offers basketball clinics for elementary and middle school kids. Fleetwood is sticking with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines from last year. People have to wear masks and practice social distancing inside and outside the building. Fleetwood is sanitizing equipment and surfaces.

Fleetwood’s 10-to-12 year-old age group, the Trailblazers, enjoy dodgeball at The Quad in Evanston. (Photo courtesy of Brianna Jenkins)

Chandler is offering their main sports camp this year. The camp is split up into age groups: 6 to 8, 8 to 10 and 10 to 12. There is also a girls only group for ages 6 to 12. The camp is still not at their normal numbers but has many more campers than last year. Chandler offers its camp from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., which covers the work day for parents. Chandler’s staff are taking similar precautions as last year. Everyone has to wear a mask inside and outside no matter their vaccination status. Custodians are available all day to wipe down highly touched surfaces. Chandler is running three sections of three-week camps this year as opposed to the two sections of four-week camps that the center ran in previous years. This gives more kids an opportunity to go to the camp because there is an additional week. 

Campers at the Chandler-Newberger Sports Camp put a twist on America’s pastime as they play Tennis Baseball. (Photo Courtesy of Michelle Tompkins)

Both centers have made great efforts to make their camps as good as they can even in this tough time. Fleetwood-Jourdain and Chandler-Newberger are working to help the community in many ways as Evanston continues to get back to life as usual.