REGINA -- Overnight summer camps in Saskatchewan will be allowed to resume operations in June as part of Step Two of the province’s Reopening Roadmap.

The government announced updates to Step Two on Thursday, adding overnight camps to the list of restrictions loosening on June 20.

In a statement, the government said kids have been greatly affected by the public health measures over the past year.

“As conditions improve in Saskatchewan, we are happy to be able to provide opportunities such as youth camps that are so important for their mental and physical well-being,” it read.

A number of rules and recommendations are in place for camps this summer.

Katepwa Lake Camp is one of many across the province eager to open its cabins once again. Cameron Mohan, the camp’s summer director, spent his time leading up to this announcement working with the health authority, health inspectors and lobbying MLAs.

"It's a good feeling to know that that democratic process works and was helpful in getting us where we are now," said Mohan.

Cohorting campers and staff in groups of eight or less is encouraged. The current guidelines limit interaction between cohorts.

Mask use and physical distancing rules are still in place in some situations.

COVID-19 testing is also recommended for all participants at the start of camp.

Tera Howitt will be sending two of her teenagers to Katepwa Lake Camp this summer and feels no apprehension in doing so.

"We've been praying for this to happen ever since we found out we could do the day camps. I really feel overnight is actually the safer option compared to the day camps," said Howitt.

Katepwa Lake Camp had originally adjusted its programming to be a day camp, but are excited to be able to open the doors of their cabins to give kids the full experience.

"Helping kids gain some of that independence and having a lot of positive momentum towards relationship building and mentorship is a really big part of what we do as well so the overnight is really a lot more ideal," explained Mohan.

Howitt’s daughter Hannah, 15, is going to camp as a Leader-In-Training this year and is excited to be there alongside the younger campers.

"It's something I look forward to the whole year and so I’m just super glad that even with COVID still around that we're able to go back and I think that we'll be able to do it safely," she said.

The government also said the province’s rates of vaccination and the availability of vaccines for residents aged 12 and up has been important to be able to allow this activity, adding “parents are encouraged to get their children who are eligible vaccinated prior to attending camp.” 

The full list of rules for overnight camps can be found on the Government of Saskatchewan website.

The province reached its second vaccination target of 70 per cent of people 30 years and older having received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine on May 24, triggering Step Two.