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It is with much regret, that the Newington Parks and Recreation Department is announcing that there will be no pools including swim lessons, summer camps, Life. Be in It. Extravaganza, Motorcycle Madness, Touch-A-Truck, Water Lantern Festival, or special events this summer. The reason is simply public safety.
We have been in consultation with the National Recreation and Parks Association, the Connecticut Recreation and Parks Association, the Central Connecticut Health District, the Governor’s State Public Safety Committees, and our own administration. The result is that the virus is still too difficult to control. “This is as difficult for us to announce, as it is for the residents to hear,” said Bill DeMaio, Superintendent of Newington Parks and Recreation. “It is not a financial issue. The rules that were given to us from the State were very limiting to our normal protocols. Most of the standard operating procedures were enhanced and increased to a level of impossibility.”
However, the Department has brainstormed a multitude of programs that can be held safely for all ages this summer. “With all the health clubs shut down, it is important now more than ever, for Newington Parks and Recreation to provide a variety of exercise programs for our residents,” said Bill DeMaio. “We have developed a creative and imaginative Virtual Summer Camp program entitled Zoomrrific that will encourage children to get outside and be active, in lieu of an in-person summer camp program.” The Department staff has thought outside the box and developed a comprehensive camp program that can be held at home, but yet still facilitate the meeting of new friends. This program will be like no other and will be purely recreational with no tests or quizzes. There will be no online assignments or online work to be done. The only reason for the computer screen will be so your children can have social interactions with their new friends, fellow campers, and camp counselors. In addition, it will allow our staff to provide direction and supervision on the exciting activity or task at hand. The computer will essentially provide the stimulus for your child to get up and participate in planned outdoor activities. Your child will also have the chance to meet in small groups of five or less at your neighborhood park for one hour. We will also be making weekly contact-free deliveries to your home of prepackaged arts and crafts projects, simple juggling items, chalk, and nature projects for planned activities. Activities will range from fun exercise programs to science experiments, chalk competitions, story time, Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects, talent shows, building competitions, minute to win it games, planting seeds, virtual tours, and so much more! We will also have special guest entertainers doing live virtual shows such as clowns, magicians, jugglers, bands, singers, storytellers, chefs, and more. We will make surprise visits to drop off things like freeze pops and individually wrapped snacks as well!
We truly believe that we can still give your children an amazing summer that they will never forget. The best part is that you will only need to assist your child in getting onto Zoom for the day and we will take it from there. All of this will only cost you $75.00 per week. We will also offer a 10% discount if you register your child for all 6 weeks.
The Department is also excited to announce that many of the summer fitness, wellness, and cultural arts programs will be offered virtually for HALF THE ORIGINAL IN PERSON PRICE! Some of the discounted programs include: Zumba, Total Barre, Tighten and Tone, Core Strength Training, American Sign Language, Youth Karate, various Yoga classes, Ballroom Dancing, Line Dancing, Youth Gymnastics, Youth Art Classes, T’ai Chi for Older Adults, The Art of T’ai Chi, Music Together, Walk with Ease, and Tone Aerobics. You can participate in these classes from the comfort of your own home, where you can maintain social distancing, while still receiving all of the health and educational benefits of each program.
Other programs that we will still be able to provide safely include: 110 Community Garden Plots, comprehensive tennis programs, golf lessons held at Indian Hill Country Club, Virtual Bingo, Trivia Nights in the municipal parking lot, family walking programs, and hiking at Cedar Mountain and the Bob Stanley Nature Trail at Churchill Park. In addition, all of the Adult and Junior Golf Clinics at Indian Hill are still being held. The only change to the clinics is the Beginner Adult Co-Ed Golf Clinic that was originally scheduled to start in May has been rescheduled and will be held August 5 to September 2 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at Indian Hill Country Club located at 111 Golf Street in Newington. Tennis at Mill Pond Park is also underway! There are 8 beautiful clay and Har-Tru tennis courts at Mill Pond Park. Individual and group lessons are available daily and there are also singles competitions scheduled weekly. For information, please contact the Newington Parks and Recreation Tennis Coordinator, Bob Dean, at 860-667-5820.
Program information can be found in our Summer 2020 brochure, which can be accessed at https://www.newingtonct.gov/2429/Parks-Recreation. The pricing for each program will be HALF of what is listed in the brochure! It is our goal to help contribute to our residents’ physical and mental wellbeing during these difficult times. These programs should help keep everyone fit and healthy, while giving you the opportunity to stay busy in a productive manner. “This is exactly what our residents need during these trying times,” said Nick Pizzoferrato, Recreation Supervisor. “Most people are stuck in their homes most of the day, whether they are working from home or not. We want to encourage everyone to continue to practice social distancing and to stay safe. This is one way that we can help everyone do just that, by offering programs that they can experience right from the safety of their home.” The Department’s Summer Fun Runs program is also still taking place in person, as scheduled, with the requirement of running at a safe distance from each other.
Online registration is now open for these summer programs, most of which will begin in mid or late June. There is still plenty of time to register by visiting the Parks and Recreation website and following the steps to register online. If you need any assistance navigating the online registration process, please feel free to contact the Parks and Recreation office at 860-665-8666.
Times may be very different, but we are here, for you, the residents we serve to work towards our mission of “Building a Strong Community.” Thank you for your understanding and please know that we can’t wait to see all our Newington families again soon in person! Stay safe and stay healthy!