STRAIT AREA: As the COVID-19 pandemic has imposed serious health and safety guidelines that have resulted in competitive sport being placed on hold, local municipalities are picking up the ball.

Locally, the Town of Port Hawkesbury, and the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) have both launched an equipment loan program, giving families access to recreational equipment; inviting them to stay active and have fun at home.

The loan is for one week at a time and the equipment includes items like roller blades and helmets, tennis rackets and balls, soccer balls, basketballs, volleyballs, football, hula hoops, washer toss, ground hockey sticks, and weighted body bars.

In the Town of Antigonish, their recreation department came to the difficult decision to cancel all summer camps.

“This decision was made with careful consideration and the thoughtful review of the current advice from public health officials on managing the spread of COVID-19,” they said. “While we know this is disappointing to many, the health of our community’s children, their families, as well as our camp leaders remains our top priority.”

Through the Antigonish Town and County recreation departments, they have partnered to provide families up to three free summer activity kits – providing awesome ideas on ways to keep recreation happening. Kit contents include a booklet with ideas for outdoor adventures, ways to keep moving, arts and crafts, word puzzles and more.

As of June 19, the fencing around the playground equipment at Columbus Field and Arbour Drive will be taken down once the town is able to get it professionally cleaned – and once the fencing is down, it will be open for use. However, the splash pad and washrooms will remain closed for the time being.

The recreation department in MODG has also made the difficult decision to keep both Chedabucto and Canso swimming pools closed for the summer due to concerns of COVID-19. Also the recreation summer programs, including the traditional mobile day camp and Guysborough County’s 55-plus games, are also cancelled.

They will host half day camps – camps will have a morning and afternoon session each day and run Monday to Thursday in two different locations each week. There will be an eight camper maximum with two leaders.

Camps will be for ages four to 12; campers can register for on week only with possible additional weeks later in the summer. All camps will be based outside and locations will be determined. Leaders will plan activities that take into account the six-foot of physical distancing.

All campers ar expected to be self sufficient in all aspects of personal care routines, and sunscreen must be applied before coming to camp.

These programs launched in Antigonish, Guysborough, and Port Hawkesbury serve as just a few examples as how the recreation community is continuing to excel during the pandemic; and continuing to deliver its important services in unique ways in hopes that families will stay active and live healthy lifestyles throughout the summer months.