I have no doubt that Taylor Swift will solve the Ticketmaster debacle. Can she also fix the fiascos associated with summer camp online registration?

A couple of weeks ago, Sam Ives of Minneapolis was mired in website purgatory while trying to register his 6-year-old for a small neighborhood soccer program. Even though Ives had logged in at 8 a.m. when registration opened, it was not going to be a smooth morning. The system crashed, the page wouldn't load. A medical doctor, he asked a colleague at the hospital to cover for him as he would be arriving late for work, until he was forced to abandon hope altogether.

It occurred to Ives that this was the third time in recent months that he or his wife engaged in a Hunger Games-style battle of scrambling to find a coveted spot in kids' programming.

"I'm mindful of the fact that I really have first-world problems. I don't want to in any way frame it as, 'Woe is me, my kid didn't get to do their fancy horseback riding,' " said Ives, whose wife is an attorney. "We're definitely not the people who are disadvantaged in any way, shape or form."

But the Summer Camp Scramble, and all of its tech-related frustrations, led him to wonder: How does the system affect families who don't have these privileges? What happens to single parents or those who need to be at work on time, or parents who aren't fluent in English or who don't have high-speed internet? How are they navigating a process that requires setting an alarm and the flexibility to wait hours for the web page to load?

While day camp and school-based summer programs may seem like a luxury, they are a necessary form of child care for many working families. School is out, so parents must plan in January who will care for the littles each week of June, July and August. Minnesotans, in particular, may feel the pinch as the state consistently ranks in the Top 10 of states with women who participate in the workforce. If kids don't have caregivers who can sit caffeinated and ready at the keyboard in the wee hours to secure a camp slot, good luck. They very well might be left in the dust.

Competition for summer camps is fierce because there is so much demand for high-quality camps. (Don't get me started on the cutthroat enrollment process to uber-sought-after programs like Adventures in Cardboard.) After COVID-related disruptions, signups exploded as parents rushed to unplug their kids' tablets and get them back outside and socialized.

If you have youngsters in Minnesota, you may have felt the seismic reverberations on Jan. 17, when online registration for day camps through YMCA of the North, one of the more popular and relatively affordable summer camp providers, slowed to molasses. The floodgates opened at 6 a.m., but the system kept bucking parents off the site or flashed them with error messages.

April Bjorklund of Minnetonka clutched her laptop in one hand and her phone in the other, roaming her house to escape what she thought were Wi-Fi dead spots.

"I literally got the same error message the day I was trying to get Taylor Swift tickets," she said with a laugh. "I thought, 'This is insane. This is not Taylor Swift. This is YMCA Camp Christmas Tree.' "

I remember that day, too, because that was the morning my kids almost missed the bus, there was cursing in the mom group texts, and I was three hours late into the office.

In fairness to the Y, the nonprofit sent caregivers what I would call a pitch-perfect apology. "As we read through so many emails and social media posts, we recognize how frustrating and disappointing it was to try to register," the email read. Even after some of the problems were resolved, "there were issues with payment, waitlists and registration confirmation."

Sure, the glitches were an inconvenience to privileged parents like me. And it shut some kids out. But most important, "the system failures created inequities in access and opportunity," the note read.

Glen Gunderson, president of the YMCA of the North, said in a statement that the system was overwhelmed by unprecedented demand, which produced about three times the amount of traffic as the previous year.

Gunderson said the organization has enhanced its platform to make registration more stable and resilient. It's also considering a number of changes, such as moving to a lottery, staggering registrations by area or region, and prioritizing signups for families who rely on financial assistance.

Those all sound like positive steps. Parents like Ives, Bjorklund and me will be OK, and so will our children. But let's imagine summer camps that can offer magical experiences to every kid, no matter their family's internet connection or parents' work schedule. Organizations that value equity and inclusion should examine whether their archaic registration systems advance that cause or actively fight against it.