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Clinton Township parks and rec goes retro

Fireworks show set for July 11

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published May 15, 2018

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP — The Clinton Township Parks and Recreation Department is going retro this year.

With the township’s bicentennial, the department is giving residents a blast from the past, while also adhering to many of the programs and norms that have drawn vested interest for decades.

That includes the return of coed sand volleyball, taking place at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m., starting June 6 and concluding Aug. 15 at the Clinton Township Civic Center, 40700 Romeo Plank Road. Township Parks and Recreation Director Frank Pizzo said it’s the first time the program has been around in nearly two decades.

Summer day camps offer kids an opportunity to meet new friends, participate in games, contests and fitness-related activities, all while giving parents a break. 

Pizzo said this year’s camps, which run from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. between June 25 and Aug. 9, will take place at 11 different sites. One former site, Disney Elementary, is closed this year due to building construction. Last year, more than 850 children participated in a camp that strives for a 1-to-20 staff-child ratio.

“It’s a great opportunity for parents and children to have some constructive, creative, great role models in the program and have their kids surrounded with that the entire summer,” Pizzo said.

A new day camp supervisor this year, Jenny Perry, was a former participant, teen volunteer and has worked on block fund grants and the like.

“They know what we do, they get our culture and they pass it on,” he said. “It’s really rewarding to see that.”

The department created a new program called Leader in Training, which gives area teens the opportunity to earn community service hours, while also adding leadership skills. Pizzo said the skills applied will help department volunteers when they enter the real world. It will take place from 5-6:30 p.m. June 11 and 13.

“They’ll be able to gain some work ethic, they’ll get some skill development and they’ll be able to apply that wherever they go. … We’re not only putting them through the program, (but) we’re developing them to be productive residents of our community,” he said. “It’s exciting to see them go full circle.”

This year’s fireworks show will take place July 11. Collision Six will be the headlining band this year.

The movies and music series at the Civic Center gazebo has drawn large crowds in recent years. It’s back again, running every Wednesday from July 15 to Aug. 8. One of the bands this year is called Class of ’98, and is a 90’s cover band — further contributing to the township’s throwback theme.

Backyard rentals are back, too, with residents able to borrow cornhole, ladder golf and Wreck-Ball — which is the township’s version of the popular football-bowling hybrid Fowling game. All three items cost $55 for a weekend.

“When you’re (hosting) a graduation party, $50 is nothing when you’re looking at catering and looking at tent rentals,” he said. “For $55, to not have to worry about entertainment in your backyard, it’s a nice addition.”

Early childhood programs are also all the rage these days, which includes programs like Playground Playgroup for kids ages 1 to 5. Pizzo said that around 80 percent of the 500-plus kids who participated in programs like the trick-or-treat trail and Easter egg hunt were under 5 years old.

“That tells me we have a whole new generation coming through parks and rec. … You have to be trending and going with what’s popular,” he said. “The younger generation, these millennial parents — their kids are involved in everything. They want to know at 1 years old what kind of quality of life issues they have or programs they can do. So, we had to do that.”

The department is also getting more serious with its dog park, adding new park benches and garbage cans. Individuals must register to use the park, and over 500 dogs are currently enjoying the amenities.

“Dogs are family members now, no matter how you look at it,” Pizzo said. “We look at them as family members; we look at them as residents in our community. We have to provide what’s trending, and what’s trending are pets and the love of the pets. And our children, and our seniors.”

For more information on programs and costs, visit the department’s Facebook page for the most up-to-date news.

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