After false start, Cranston football camp kicks off summer season

West Bay
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CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) —Rhode Island summer camps were allowed to reopen Monday under new guidelines, and the director of a local football camp tells Eyewitness News that while they still need to adjust to the safety measures, they’re thankful to finally be doing something normal.

The Rhode Island Football Academy in Cranston opened its doors Monday morning, according to Director and Founder Paul Sylvia.

He said he’s happy to see the kids participating in his summer program outside having fun.

“It’s great to be doing something normal,” Sylvia said. “Outside with your friends, doing something athletic.”

Sylvia said his summer camp runs from 8:30 a.m. to noon on weekdays and kids ages 6-18 can participate.

To comply with the new state health guidelines, Sylvia said he and his staff have arranged a thorough check-in system and screening process.

“They’re all assigned a station, which is a tent. That tent is the locker room. The only people in that locker room are the people in your group,” Sylvia said.

RIFA Coach and Coventry High School Football Coach Stanley Dunbar said the kids are separated into cohorts and, “the 14 kids you come in with, you stay with them the entire camp.”

Upon arrival, staff members record kids’ temperatures and chart the results. Entrance and exit gates are designated by age group, and athletes are not allowed to wear helmets or pads.

“Being outside with football, it’s the best of both worlds,” participant Geoffrey Mackie said. “I definitely felt safe, took necessary precautions. We all kept our distance from groups we weren’t in.”

It only took a matter of weeks for RIFA to sell out, with all 140 spots taken for the camp at Cranston Stadium.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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