As the summer officially kicked off last weekend, the opening of Harrison County’s Parks and Recreation Summer Program welcomed kids between the ages of 6-to-15 years of age on Wednesday, June 21st. With part-and-full day camps to choose from, the free program will offer families a chance to take children to a site during the work week which can save them in daycare costs as this program is offered free of charge.
Director Mike Book, who has been a part of the program since the beginning, has seen plenty of changes through the years. Those include the nutrition side of feeding the kids as well as the safety aspect of things. But overall, his goal to provide a safe and fun atmosphere for the kids in Harrison County has never strayed as he explains.
“It is such a great program simply because it helps the citizens in the county on both an economic and social level. Kids can maintain their friendships with fellow classmates and the parents do not have to worry about the cost, and safety, of kids who sign up for the program.”
Newly appointed Wilma Carder will spearhead the program this year as her promotion to full-time in March gave her this opportunity to be the Summer Parks Director. Her experience with the program alone made this a good fit for the department and the program. Personally, being one of my first hires, she has been the “go to” person and her work ethic moved her to our enrichment programs up to the current position she attains currently.
“We really hit a homerun with Wilma (Carder),” said Book. “She has been around the parks program for over a decade and has done everything we have asked. It is great to see her come out of her shell a bit and go from a little reserved to being in charge. It was a no-brainer decision putting her in this position. She has all the tools to be a success and will do great for us.”
While online registration has already begun, parents still have plenty of time to get their kids enrolled even if the program has already started. There is no required amount of days to stay but the sign-in / sign-out process is taken very seriously. Only those on the registration form will be allowed to do this and do not be surprised to show a form of picture ID if staff does not know you.
While some sites are full-day, those working with the Board of Education will be for just half the day. The summer program for the BOE requires education to be a part of the grant earned and parks and recreation will cover that. The BOE program lasts only four weeks and the park staff is responsible for kids after 12-noon. To add, the program is Monday through Thursday only.
You can find those sites located at Compton Park, Big Elm and Nutter Fort. Please contact the board office to see if registration is still available.
Full time sites include the Recreation Complex where the HCPR offices are located as well as West Milford at the elementary school. Full time hours for these two places are from 730-530.
North View, which is a host site for Energy Express, will play a dual role as the summer reading program at the school and a playground site at the North View Park located behind Saint James church.
For all sites, food is included as kids will get a breakfast and a lunch during the day. Kids will be familiar with the food as it is consistent with the school calendar food program. This is a federal grant through the board office and the same kitchen staff will provide the meals for the kids.
For more information, please contact the parks department.