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Fate of Lafayette summer camps unknown

Posted at 9:29 PM, May 27, 2020

LAFAYETTE — Summer camps in Lafayette have been canceled for this year because of the pandemic, and now there are questions about their future. At a town hall meeting today, Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory suggested some of these programs won't return unless privately funded. One of the camps in question is Camp Can Do, a summer program for children and young adults with disabilities.

10-year-old Sofia has been attending the camp for the last three years. Now her mother worries she will no longer be able to.

"It gives the kids opportunity to socialize, because a lot of time, kids with special needs really need that, to be around other kids that understand them," Sofia's mother Simone McCrocklin said.

McCrocklin says this year's cancellation is a setback for her daughter.

"She's losing out on a lot of social activity, and I worry about that. She's an only child, and I worry about that when school starts up, how will she interact with other kids," McCrocklin said.

Guillory discussed the fate of Camp Can Do during a town hall meeting Wednesday, telling one grandmother it may never return unless privately funded, referring to the recent loss of sales tax as COVID-19 caused businesses to close their doors. That loss is projected to reach $10 million.

"We have to do things we haven't done in the past. Private funds are a great example of how we can do these things without putting a strain on our taxpayers and our budgets," Guillory said.

However, families still pay for the camp.

"It's not 100 percent funded by government money," explained McCrocklin.

She worries that if camps become 100% privately funded, families will have to pay even more.

"Cutting this for people like her just breaks my heart. I am a teacher, and seeing the light in their eyes when they walk up to camp, It just hurts."

The funds may be discussed in November when LCG creates their budget for the next fiscal year.

Lafayette Parks and Recreation director Gerald Boudreaux says if it comes to cuts in the department, there will be difficult decisions to make, but cuts to Camp Can Do isn't high of his list of things to cut.

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