County Comment/Current Happenings in the Recreation Department

by Norman Bassett
Washington County
Public Information Officer

In its July 16th meeting, the Washington County Board of County Commissioners heard about current happenings in the Recreation Department this summer from Director Jaime Dick.

Three hundred and sixty five children are participating in summer camps this year, Dick said. Numbers for some camps have decreased due to changes in ages accepted or hour of operation policy, while attendance in some of the camps has increased.

Camps take place both in County parks and at Board of Education facilities. Dick told the Board that negotiations with the BOE were tough this year due to the Schools being closed on Fridays of each week.

Parents want stability in locations and camp hours, Dick said. Camps in the parks are open from 7-5 daily and 8-4 daily at school locations.

Fees account for about 37% of the camps’ operating costs. Camps located in parks cost $65 for two weeks, while those located on school grounds cost $55 for the same period. Children can take advantage of tennis lessons, health and safety awareness programs, tours of fire companies, storytelling activities and magic shows as camp activities. Dick told the Board that the County programs are a bargain in that other day camps in the area charge as much as $95 per week.

Summer sports leagues continue to be popular with adults as well as children, with 943 participants in nine programs. Other recreation programs at the ARCC and many locations across Washington County have 438 participants this summer while 201 county residents have taken advantage of swimming lessons at Snook Park Pool this season, Dick reported.

Special events hosted by Recreation include Miniature Golf, Hagerstown Suns Baseball, and activities at the Hagerstown Ice and Sports Complex.

The Sunday concerts at Pen-Mar Park are popular during warm weather, with performances running from May until the first week in October. Cost of that program is $12,000, but a portion is offset by donations. So far this year, just over $4,000 has been donated, Dick said.

Everybody’s Day is a popular annual event at PenMar, and this year’s program, on August 25th, marks the 25th anniversary of the reopening of the park. Dick told the Board that a train trip to PenMar Park is being planned, in conjunction with the Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum.

In the future, the Recreation Department will investigate reestablishing the Summer Play Camp at Smithsburg, offering a “movies in the Park” event, offering programs at Memorial Recreation Center, and looking into a new recreation facility for the county.

Following the presentation, the Commissioners toured play-camps at Fountaindale Elementary School and Marty Snook Park.