The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, August 14, 2009

 

Carlisle Recreation wraps up another Summer Fun Program

Summer in Carlisle means ice cream, the Farmers Market and for 70 children, it meant the Recreation Department’s Summer Fun Program. The six-week program offered camp-type activities for children entering kindergarten through fourth grade.

Summer Fun counselors pose as Disney characters and super heros. Left to right are Andrew Guild, Kate Ostrowski, Brenna Morrison, Jen Philippou, Steph Philippou, Zander Ansara, Dan Gentile and Jamie Burgess (Courtesy Photo)


Completing its 19th year, Summer Fun offered a variety of classes from swimming to theater to arts and crafts. Most of the activities took place in the gym and exercise room at the Carlisle Public School, while tennis lessons were held at the courts adjacent to the school. Children were transported in the Recreation Department van to three pools donated by Carlisle citizens for swimming lessons.( In previous years, a bus was hired for transportation but it was more cost effective to use the van.)

The program was supervised by the Summer Fun Director Marcy Guttaduaro. She and the Recreation Director, Holly Hamilton, hired six counselors and two Water Safety Instructors. This year, as in past years, there were more applicants than positions and they had to turn job seekers away. “We have an excellent staff this year; most are returning counselors,” reported Hamilton.

One change to the program this year was to eliminate options for older children. In the past, children in grades 4 – 8 could participate in specialized activities such as bike rides, archery or kayaking. However enrollment was too low to continue providing activities cost effectively.

According to Hamilton, the Recreation Department strives to have the summer program break even or make a profit, while pursuing the goal of providing safe programs for children at a reasonable cost to families. Consequently, the number of paid positions available to local teens is down. According to the August 3, 2002 issue of the Mosquito, 40 teens were hired to staff the summer program that year; this summer there were eight paid positions. In 2002 there were four volunteers, this summer there were six. Enrollment is down as well as paid staff. There were 195 children in the program in 2002 compared to 70 children this year. In comparison, during this time the Carlisle School population dropped by about 140 students to 735.

Stephanie Philippou, who has been with the Summer Fun Program for nine years, first as a counselor-in-training, then as a counselor, and now as assistant director, felt the program this summer was excellent. She said that the camp was well organized and the staff was outstanding.

According to Philippou, the hardest part in running the camp was dealing with last minute changes that happen on the first day of each session. Every session, families would show up on the first day without pre-registering. While it was great to have the attendance up, it made planning hard. Each group could not have more than nine children because the group had to fit into the van to drive to swim lessons. When one extra child showed up, all the numbers could be off. However, one of the benefits of the Summer Fun Program is its flexibility and all the last minute additions and changes were accommodated.

Next year, Philippou would like to see more children participate (hopefully registering in advance). She stressed the excellent staff, both paid and volunteer. Guttaduaro also praised the staff, wishing more people in Carlisle experienced the benefits of the outstanding swim staff and counselors.

Parent Pam Ely complimented the staff saying “all the camp counselors are wonderful, they are so good with the kids. They make the kids feel very welcome and special.” Ely, who had two children participate this summer, appreciates the camp’s convenience and flexibility. When asked how they would make camp better, Ely’s children Nick and Emma both claimed “Camp is great just the way it is!” ∆


© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito