The staff is trained, school is out and it's time again for the City of Warren's summer playground program.
This year's program kicks off on Monday, June 17 and will run for eight weeks, until Friday, Aug. 9, weekdays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Eight individuals completed training June 7 to staff three city parks: Lacy, Crescent and Beaty.
Times Observer photo by Rob Andersen
In full swing
Andy Blair of Sugar Grove helps his daughter Kamaya on the swing set at Beaty Playground. The three city playgrounds that have a summer program – Beaty, Lacy and Crescent Park – are in full swing now that school has recessed for the summer.
DeFrees and Mulberry parks, which were included in last year's program, will still be open, but will not be supervised due to city budget cuts.
The program is free daily except for pool days, on Mondays starting June 24, and three scheduled field trip dates.
Activities are geared toward children between the ages of seven and 14. Children under seven must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or older sibling.
"We stressed with the personnel that this is not a day care or day camp situation," Mary Ann Nau, city parks and recreation director, said. "The parents should be involved."
She said personnel has been instructed to stay at parks until all program participants leave, but they are not permitted to transport participants.
Each week will feature different planned activities with shirt tie-dying planned for the first week.
Participants at each park will dye shirts in a different color representing their park.
The shirts are more than just a program activity. They also serve as a means of identification for program staff at field trips throughout the summer and different park colors will identify which group of participants a child belongs to.
"It's very important," Cindy Strandburg, with city parks and recreation, said. "It's important to get the shirts done in time for the Darien Lake trip."
This year's field trips include a June 27 trip to Darien Lake at a cost of $30, a July 17 canoe trip at a cost of $20 and a July 24 mini-golf trip at a cost of $8. The Darien Lake and mini-golf trip costs include cost of transportation and admission while the canoe trip cost includes a lunch.
To register for field trips, visit www.cityofwarrenpa.gov or send a letter to or visit the City of Warren Department of Recreation at 318 W. Third Ave. Costs for trips must be paid in advance.
There are changes to pool days this year. Participants will take TAWC fixed-route buses to the pool at a cost of 25 cents each way, which must be provided by the participant. Program personnel will accompany children on the buses.
"This is the first time that the kids will have to bring (bus fare) along with their admission to get into the pool," Strandburg said. "Park personnel go with them (on buses) so that they're not unescorted."
Additionally, participants will be required to pay the cost of admission to the pool and for any refreshments.
Participants will be returned to the parks at 3 p.m.
Any child wishing to be transported to and from the pool must have a completed program/activity participation form returned to program staff prior to a pool day.
This year's program costs are being paid in part through city funding and in part by donations from Kersey and Associates, Hill Engineering, the Community Foundation of Warren County, United Refining, Eagle Systems, the Warren Lions Club and Pleasant Township.
Additional weekly activities will be planned by program staff, but what those activities include is still undetermined.
"The first week's kind of difficult because you don't know the kids that are going to be there," Strandburg said in regards to planning. "The first week's more of an acclimation week."
According to a letter sent to families in Warren, who had children registered for last year's program, the city and staff "accept no responsibility for a child who leaves the park or playground during the supervised hours; nor, with regard to any emergencies that require medical attention beyond basic first aid. City staff has been instructed to call 911 for EMS services to respond."
For further information, contact the City of Warren at 723-6300 ext. 116, or online at www.cityofwarrenpa.gov.