Park system receives grant for mobile recreation program
HARPERS FERRY — Jefferson County Parks and Recreation was one of 13 recipients of the B.R.I.D.G.E. grant awarded through the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs was presented on Saturday at a ceremony attended by Gov. Jim Justice and HHOMA Director Jill Upson.
The $17,000 award will allow the Parks and Recreation to expand their mobile recreation program.
Begun as a pilot program in 2018, Let’s Play! Mobile Recreation makes it possible for recreation and art activities to areas throughout Jefferson County where programming is not currently offered.
According to Jennifer Myers, director of the parks department, the program expanded in 2019 to include more stops and supplies.
“By taking recreation into the community and connecting children and adults through play, a greater sense of community is achieved through learning opportunities, play opportunities, health and wellness opportunities,” Myers said.
With the grant, the Let’s Play! Mobile Recreation unit will enhance a STEAMER Program to further reduce the socioeconomic and geographic obstacles that stand in the way of opportunities to participate in programming, Myers said.
“The STEAMER program, standing for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math, Entertainment and Recreation, will be created to add to the current program,” Myers said. “The broad offerings will give participants the ability to try new activities, think in new ways, communicate, create and play together.”
Currently the Let’s Play Mobile Recreation program includes archery, soccer, hula hoops, jump ropes, lawn games such as checkers, Connect Four and Jenga, as well as other seasonal activities.
In 2020, the grant will help the program to add activities such as Gaga ball and mini golf, as well as STEM activities such as Ozobots, Build challenges with Keva Blocks and Legos, Snap Circuits and individual and team challenge activities.
“Art activities will include stringing beads, painting, mixing colors, chalk, art and more,” Myers added. Music, life-size games, domino stacking challenges, bubbles and other things will round out the traveling ventures.
Another addition to the mobile unit, thanks to the B.R.I.D.G.E. grant is the coming addition of solar panels to the van.
“Let’s Play! will be seen throughout the community promoting active play and healthy eating, establishing new places to play and enriching current play locations,” Myers said. “Our goal is that it will continue to increase the number of people leading more active lives in our county.”