Elliott Warner, 10, of Clinton Township, throws a pitch on a diamond near the Clinton Township Civic Center.

Elliott Warner, 10, of Clinton Township, throws a pitch on a diamond near the Clinton Township Civic Center.

Photo by Donna Agusti


Summer recreation programs galore to keep Clinton Township residents busy

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published May 15, 2019

 Pam Haddad, of Clinton Township, plays pickleball on the courts located near the Parks and Recreation Department.

Pam Haddad, of Clinton Township, plays pickleball on the courts located near the Parks and Recreation Department.

Photo by Donna Agusti

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Staff at Clinton Township Parks and Recreation are chomping at the bit to deliver another summer of fun for children, and even adults, of all ages.

The department’s summer brochure officially went out to about 47,000 homes in every township ZIP code April 20. For the first time, a theme is emblazoned on the brochure cover: “Everybody In.”

“We have a wonderful, diverse community, and we want everyone to understand that this is a community,” Parks and Recreation Director Frank Pizzo said. “It’s ‘everybody in’ for recreation. We welcome everybody to our events. We have a diverse staff. Our full-time staff is top-notch.”

The department features four full-time staffers who figure out programming annually, with a slew of seasonal employees who provide additional aid in the busy spring and summer months.

Those seasonal employees especially come in handy for what is the department’s bread and butter: summer day camp programs. There will be 10 sites hosting day camp programs for kids between kindergarten and 14 years old. It begins Thursday, June 24, and concludes Aug. 8.

For the first time, and in an effort to increase field trip participation, parents can register online for such events. Also, the lunch program is coming back so that guardians don’t have to amend their schedules to feed their kids.

“It’ been a staple,” Pizzo said. “In the 30 years I’ve been here, it’s been (a staple) since I was a day camp counselor. … The kids that used to come to our day camp program, they’re not only parents, but their kids are now staff members. I’m seeing it full circle.”

The most popular sites are Erie and Ottawa elementary schools, where school-age child care — formerly known as latchkey — is available. Last year, about 860 kids participated in the day camp program.

The annual fireworks extravaganza will take place July 10. Sponsored by First State Bank, the fun-filled event will again feature pre-show activities, a 90-minute concert by Your Generation! and the fireworks grand finale.

“When we talk about quality of life in Clinton Township, our Parks and Recreation Department always tries to provide those things: concert series, fireworks, good day camps, trail systems, early childhood programming, leagues,” Pizzo said. “Our community does a lot of great programming with a smaller budget than most of our surrounding communities.

“It’s really cool when I can look on the hill, it’s getting dark, and I see grandmas and grandpas with their grandkids. I truly believe we make those memories that last a lifetime.”

Next year, the fireworks are expected to be rebid. Wolverine Fireworks currently runs the operation.

Clinton Township Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Brian Kay said local pickleball aficionados have asked for a pickleball league, and their wish has come true. Co-ed doubles are coming to the department’s six pickleball courts, located right off Romeo Plank Road,  outside the department’s headquarters.

On Mondays, beginner and intermediate players will convene, while advanced players will take to the courts on Wednesdays. About three courts will be utilized per session.

“Our goal is to still allow people to drop in and still play,” Kay said.

The annual fishing derby will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. June 8. The pond will be full of catfish, bass, bluegill, walleye, sunfish and more.

“Sporties for Shorties” is another popular program that is becoming even more important, as 80% of department registrations are for children 5 and younger.

Partnerships, such as those with Cutting Edge Gymnastics Center, Windermere Equestrian Center and Genbu-Kai Karate of Michigan, are vital to growing participants and offering more unique options.

And if you or your child doesn’t want to join a program, just walk or run around and enjoy the sights and sounds.

“The grounds are just filled every evening with people walking the trails, walking their dogs and just enjoying the fresh air,” Kay said.

For more program information or to register, visit clintontownship.com/recreation.html.

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