County Comment: Summer recreation activities a big hit

County Comment
Summer recreation activities a big hit
Fall registration ahead
by Norman Bassett
Washington County Public Information Officer

Washington County Recreation Department programs for children and adults have packed County parks, school yards and other recreational sites this summer.
Recreation Program Manager Jaime Brooks said that his department, this season, served over 4,000 citizens.
Summer Play Camps, held at 8 sites around the County, will come to a close on August 11. Largest of the locations is Marty Snook Park, in Halfway, which serves 221 children per day. Town sites in Clear Spring, Williamsport, Boonsboro, and Smithsburg serve 30 to 40 campers per day. In total 424 children were served each week by the camps.
Swimming lessons are another large draw, Dick said, with 254 children taking part in the program, held at Snook Park pool.
The Co-Rec. Softball program held at Pinesburg Park was started 4 years ago with 4 teams. This summer there were ten teams competing in the league. In addition there are a wide variety of adult and children's programs offered at the Hagerstown Community College Athletic, Recreation, and Community Center (ARCC) offered year-round.
Registration for all programs is limited, especially in the day camps, where state criteria require a 10-1 camper to counselor ratio, and in the softball programs due to the number of available facilities and playing time.
Sixty-five people took advantage of Boating Safety courses this summer, sponsored by the Department. A free Family Movie Night, held in cooperation with HCC's Student Government at the College's amphitheater, drew a crowd of 500.
Summer in Washington County means traditional concerts at Pen-Mar Park, in Cascade. Every Sunday afternoon bands provide dance music at the Park's main pavilion. The season hits its high note with Everybody's Day, featuring music, entertainment and activities for young and old alike. This year Everybody's Day is set for August 27 from Noon until 5 p.m. and all activities are free.
Registration for fall programs will get underway in mid-August, and residents should watch the mail for the fall program brochure. The brochure will also be available on the County website at
Recreation programs are growing, with incoming residents from counties to the East asking for additional programs and services. Dick said that the Recreation Department in Montgomery County has 100 employees, and that department in Frederick County has 50 staff. Dick's Office has four full-time employees.
The Board of County Commissioners has taken steps to increase program offerings, by allocating State Program Open Space funds to expand space at gymnasiums proposed for three new elementary schools. The Recreation and Parks Board proposed that funds be allocated to increase gym size to 9,000 square feet at the schools to be built at Westfields, Pangborn and Maugansville. Elementary school gym facilities are usually much smaller, and the additional funds would allow the gym size to be comparable to those built at High Schools.
The Recreation Department goal is working with the Washington County Public School System to fashion a joint use agreement that would allow public access to the facilities when school is not in session, between the hours of 3:30 and 9:30pm. Monday through Friday, with the department running recreational programs for citizens in those areas.
The idea would increase the ability to offer courses while saving the cost of building a facility dedicated to recreation, Dick said. Frederick County uses a similar program, and Washington County assisted the Town of Hancock with its recreational needs several years ago with such a program.
For more information on coming recreation programs call 240-313-2805, or visit the Washington County website at