Day camp offers virtual program due to COVID-19, but no refunds
KITCHENER -- Some parents are upset they won’t be getting a refund from one day camp this summer.
STEM Camp announced this week that, due to COVID-19 restrictions, they will be offering camp virtually instead of in-person this year.
“We can’t guarantee that they will be safe at summer camps,” said Kevin Cougler, founder of STEM Camp.
Laurie Lama says she spent $600 in January to sign up her son for STEM Camp in July.
“We use summer camp because we have jobs that we have to go to and we need care for our children,” she said.
According to the camp’s refund policy in January, Lama would have received a 90 per cent refund at most.
She discovered the policy changed when she requested a refund on Wednesday.
“When I went and checked the website, it said that they were offering either virtual camp or the donation of the funds,” said Lama.
Cougler says the policy changed towards the end of February based on factors from the previous year. He adds that the new policy was posted as soon as they made the change.
“I had been on their website the previous day and the information was not there about refunds or the cancellation of refunds,” said Lama.
Cougler adds that the money is spent as it comes in.
“We start preparing for the summer in January,” he said. “That’s where those dollars go.
“We spend at least a quarter of a million dollars in supplies every year. We have at least $50,000-$100,000 in supplies every year that we use to get word out into the schools.”
Cougler says enrollment is down even though they are offering the camp virtually at reduced costs and are paying staff partially through the Canada emergency wage subsidy.
“Registration and enrollments went to zero as of the middle of March and have continued being zero since then,” he said. “I’d love to be able to give everybody a refund, but we don’t have any money.”
Lama says neither of the current options offer what she needs in terms of childcare relief and activity for her son.
She hopes that a third option, specifically her 90 per cent refund, is offered soon.