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Summer camps on tap at Parks and Rec

By Toni Milbourne - For the Chronicle | May 21, 2021

Children play in the inflatable gaga pit at the Jefferson County Parks and Recreation open house event. Toni Milbourne

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION — As more and more events are returning to some semblance of normalcy, Jefferson County Parks and Recreation is planning a plethora of summer camps for local youth. To kick off the season, park staff hosted an open house last Friday evening to encourage registrations and to provide a little fun for attendees.

“After the year we’ve had with all of the COVID-19 cancellations, we wanted to get the word out that we are open and excited to welcome people back,” said Jennifer Myers, parks director.

Visitors to the open house were able to enjoy multiple activities from the Let’s Play Mobile Recreation vehicle. Set up on the lawn were mini golf, an inflatable gaga pit, archery, lawn games and oversized board games that children and adults took turns trying out.

Many of the components of the Let’s Play resource were secured through grant funding from the BRIDGE program through the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs in Charleston.

As visitors arrived at Jefferson County Community Center Friday, they were able to spin the prize wheel to take a chance at winning a T-shirt or coupons for $5 or $10 off program registrations that were completed that evening.

“Our programs are back to a pretty normal schedule,” Myers said. “We have limited enrollment somewhat to ensure we maintain some social distancing.”

In addition, Myers said every program that can be held out-of-doors will, so there will be limited gatherings in indoor spaces.

“We have also added some new camps this year,” she said, stating that summer camps open immediately after school closes.

“We encourage people to register, and if there is a wait list, get on it,” Myers said. “We are finding that we are able to open additional camps so those who are on a wait list get first priority when that new section is opened.”

Many community members took advantage of signing up for multiple programs at the open house, especially those who were fortunate enough to win the coupons on the prize wheel as the coupon entitled the registrant to receive the discount on each program or camp, not just on the overall total of the entire registration.

“We just thought this would be a good way to welcome summer by offering a fun night of activities,” Myers said. “There are not many places a family can go to enjoy a free fun night.”

For those who missed the opportunity to register at the open house, the catalog of programs and camps is available at www.jcprc.org.