From The World Of Parks & Recreation
By Doug Comer
My shovel and back has been working overtime this past week. With the Mountain State being blasted by artic weather, I am at my boiling point, or should I say cooling point. In fact, if I could get all the snow off my truck, I would slowly trek my way north to Punxsutawney and see if I can get Phil the groundhog to change his story about seeing his shadow.
At least Bill Murray had decent weather when he re-lived one day for weeks on end in the mid-90s movie, Ground Hog Day. But he still had to wake up to Sonny and Cher, which equals the suffering we have gone through with the weather.
Unfortunately for Parks and Recreation, when the weather forces schools to close, it puts things at a standstill for our Enrichment Programs.
“The weather definitely has a detrimental factor to what we offer with all our programs,” related Mike Book, Director of the HCPR. “When there is no school, all our programs have to be cancelled. It’s the No-School, No-Play policy we implemented years ago, and it eliminates all the guess work concerning our scheduling.”
While the sole purpose of cancelling activities like basketball for Youth and High School is for the safety of the children, our field day enrichments takes the biggest hit as re-scheduling is almost impossible due to the full dates.
“This is a tough loss for the kids that have field days cancelled because of no school. Because of the demand of the dinosaur exhibit, we hardly have any days left on the calendar and a make-up date is virtually impossible. Kids love snow days, however, missing an opportunity to come and see dinosaurs on a school day can be equally as entertaining,” said Book.
Even with frigid and slick conditions, around 300 people visited last weekend during our Saturday and Sunday hours. On almost all Sundays, local Paleontologist Ray Garton and his intern Zack Heck are on hand to discuss about their careers and show the meticulous work involved once a fossil has been discovered. Book boasts about our guests, “We are very fortunate to have people like Ray (Garton) and Zack (Heck) here on Sundays. Guests are encouraged to come and ask questions about the exhibit as well as bring in fossils or stones they may have found and quiz the experts on what they have. We hope that some of the younger kids will take interest and possibly pursue a field like this.”
I know that it is months away, but do you have a young adult in your family looking for a summer position? The HCPR will be sending information to the schools and colleges about hiring for the Summer Parks Programs. With a start date in mid-to-late June (barring the school’s snow day policy), the program will cover eight recreation sites and consists of programs to help build character and to educate through team building activities.
“For years, the after school program has been the nucleus of what the Parks and Recreation represents,” said Book. “We are looking for employees that will take an honest interest in the kids and be a role model. This is just not a free baby-sitting service, but an opportunity for children to enjoy their summer vacation doing what kids do – play and have fun.”
If your child, or grandchild wishes to be a part of the program, please contact the HCPR for more information.