Reef Club Kids Open For Fun
By Gertrude Mann
After months of careful planning and experiencing a truly unique year, Reef Club Kids is open for a spring season of safety and fun. I recently talked to two self-described “Big Kids,” Assistant Director of Recreation Chris Nelson and Recreation Manager Kyle Lynch, to learn more about their efforts. This dynamic duo so impressed me with their enthusiastic approach to working with children, I asked them to explain the Reef Club Kids program to the Ocean Reef community.
Preparing the Program
Chris said, “We want Members and their guests to trust us with their kids. We are flexible and our program is constantly evolving. We have very high standards, and we are pleased that our camps and programs have been able to operate safely since last summer under these new guidelines.”
Both managers spoke about anticipating increased numbers of Members and their families during the spring holiday weeks. “There has been an exponential growth in our Club activities because people want a safe environment,” said Chris. “There is a large demand for programming because parents want their children to be outside having fun, especially after all the online schooling.” Kyle added, “I handle the back of the house management for the program, and I explain to parents exactly what we do to keep our kids active and happy. I am ready to discuss the Club’s protocols and how we apply them to our programming.”
Playing it Safe
Chris outlined a typical day. He said, “We expect prior registration so when the kids arrive in the morning, we are ready for them. The program is for 5-10 year olds, 9 am – 1 pm daily, operating 7 days a week. We also offer two night sessions on Fridays and Saturdays from 6:00-10:00 pm. We have a seven to one ratio of kids to counselors. Personal attention is essential for the kids to bond with the enthusiastic staff and enjoy all the day’s activities. When they arrive, the first thing we do is take their temperatures. And of course, make sure they all are wearing their masks. We are inside for arts and crafts, and we have already prepared individually wrapped kits for each child so there isn’t any communal use of materials. We stress social distancing by putting fewer kids in larger spaces.”
“After indoor activities, we move outside and use the different venues around the Reef: the Field at Four Corners, Buccaneer Island, the Nature Center, the basketball court, the Tennis Center and the golf course. We consistently change activities every twenty minutes. No one gets bored! When we go to either tennis or golf, the kids are led by one of the sports professionals.”
“Around lunchtime, we return to our home base, wash up and relax. Earlier, the kids chose from our daily lunch options. Counselors pick up the food at Reef Hut, distribute it with gloved hands and we all enjoy lunch as a group. After more handwashing, we head out for our final games before pick up.
“We have no problem with our campers following the rules. They respond to our fun loving staff and want to model our behavior,” Chris explains. Kyle added, “We always surprise them with special events. Coming up, there will be special activities for Easter, and we always offer two theme days a week.”
I asked the passionate duo about questions the kids pose about this strange new reality. “Our kids follow us,” they said. “We don’t focus on the outside world. We’re here to have fun while keeping everyone safe.”
To register for Reef Club Kids, please call the Ocean Reef Concierge at 305-367-7385, or email KLynch@OceanReef.com.