FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Despite most restrictions being lifted, the coronavirus is still impacting Franke Park’s popular day camps this year.
This includes reducing capacities and removing the Wednesday night skits, Friday afternoon Pow Wows and the Big Pow Wow at the end of the season.
“We just had to do major modifications this year,” said Steve McDaniel, the Director at Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department. “Kids that are in camp are not vaccinated yet since vaccines are only for ages 12 and over so we have to take other precautions because of that. Even though sometimes the camps are outside, when weather hits, we have to go inside.”
The camps have been running for 74 years. McDaniel said the Pow Wow tradition started sometime early on in the camp’s creation.
While McDaniel said the pandemic forced the cancelation of the Pow Wows, McDaniel acknowledged the Parks and Recreation Department has received complaints about it being culturally offensive in the past. The gatherings honor Native American traditions and feature headdresses and other regalia like that “worn by Woodland Native Americans of this area,” according to day camp brochures of the past.
“So every time we have a comment or question we always evaluate it and review it and act appropriately,” said McDaniel. “We’re always looking at making sure that whatever programming we do, is respectful of all cultures.”
He said the department is just trying to make it through this summer, before making a decision about any future adjustments.
It’s not too late to sign your child up for summer camps. You can do so here or by calling (260) 270-6000.