Friday, May 6, 2005

Parks Department launches summer sign-up

Express Staff Writer

Greta Magee and Pat Magee sign up for summer activities at Ketchum Parks & Recreation Department's open house Wednesday. Registration continues through May 27. Photo by David N. Seelig

Amid the cheerful clamor from dozens of schoolchildren at Atkinson Park Wednesday, youth recreation director John Kearney prepared to welcome 400 more.

The first day of the Ketchum Parks & Recreation Department's open house was "phenomenal, as usual," Kearney said.

"Parents drop their kids off here knowing they'll be in a safe program," he said.

Two summer sessions are scheduled, plus Friday adventures and a fall lineup.

Organizers expect hundreds of children to participate in the summer sessions.

"We pride ourselves on being an affordable recreational facility," Kearney said. "People are attracted to that because their kids can come home happy."

Afternoon clouds and rain perhaps served to increase Ketchum residents' interest in warm-weather fun.

The Admire family was making their usual appearance at Atkinson Park.

"I've been coming here for a long time," said Lisa Admire. "This has always been a really special place for us."

Her kids, Gavin, 13, and Caitlyn, 10, are signed up for a variety of activities.

"They're going to do a full schedule of as many as possible," Lisa Admire said.

"I'm a full-time working mom, so I have to fill their days with lots of interesting things to do," she said.

This year's schedule has more options than previous years', Admire said.

"In the past there have been some gaps," she said. "This year they're really dialed in."

"Golf, tennis, lacrosse, art in the park—that's always a fun one, for the girls, especially," she said, looking over the brochure.

Caitlyn, downstairs enjoying some after-school recreation time with friends, said she was most looking forward to tennis and volleyball—sports she admits she's pretty good at.

Lisa Admire's younger son won't be around this summer. Barrett died last year, but he'll be remembered at today's Arbor Day festivities at Atkinson Park when a tree will be planted in his honor.

Families who missed opening day sign-up at the parks department can register for activities through May 27.

"I find the more you keep the kids busy, the better off they are," Kearney said.

But sports aren't the only way to occupy young minds.

Council circle for communication skills, art in the park and cultural and educational offerings will challenge youngsters during this year's sessions.

"We want to teach them to be good kids, to get them away from the whole technology atmosphere and realize what we have here and enjoy where they're living," Kearney said.

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