Scavenger hunt, dodgeball highlight parks and rec schedule

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published August 31, 2015


CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Each year presents the Clinton Township Parks and Recreation Department with an opportunity to look outside the box and engage residents in clever ways they have not yet experienced.

This year fits the bill once more, with the department boasting new programs while adjusting some community classics in the process.

Youth sports are a vital aspect of the department’s schedule, and this year is no exception.

Courtesy of Michigan Elite Volleyball Academy, youth volleyball for kids between third and seventh grades will take place from mid-September to the end of October. There are three different age-range classes that will learn the fundamentals of the sport for the first four weeks, with coach’s scrimmages taking place the final three weeks. Sessions will be held at Clintondale Middle School or Parker Elementary.

Youth basketball, courtesy of Greg Grant Basketball and Training Center, will allow kids between kindergarten and sixth grade to receive training. Like volleyball, the first four weeks will involve instruction while the next four weeks will involve scrimmages. It starts in January 2016 and lasts until March. It will be held at Parker Elementary or Clintondale Middle School.

On Sept. 19, from noon to 4 p.m., Vision Academy Lacrosse will offer a free camp for boys and girls from first through 12th grades. It is held on a first-come, first-served event.

A new program that the department is especially excited about is “The Case of the Dead Paparazzi” — an award-winning Michigan Parks and Recreation mystery scavenger hunt that will take place in Mount Clemens from 8 to 10:30 p.m. Oct. 10.

The fee is $80 per a team of four maximum participants. It is an 18-and-up event.

“Basically, we are assembling teams of CSI departments, and then they’re going to go watch a live game of Clue take place and look for clues inside local restaurants and establishments in downtown Mount Clemens,” said Assistant Director Brian Kay. “Then (they) kind of search for a clue here and there and piece it all together. The winner will get a prize.”

Recreation Programmer Emily Minna said actors and actresses will provide hints, and it’s up to each team to figure out the ‘whodunit’ scenario. It’s a cool program because not many non-sports programs exist for those 18 and older, Minna said.

Other programs include dodgeball for fourth and fifth graders, as well as middle school entrants. In the past, the age ranges had been different. It is one of the kids’ favorite sports to play during summer camp, and it takes place from October to November.

Punt, pass and kick is a traditional program held Sept. 13 that gives kids ages 6-15 the opportunity to advance and end up at Ford Field.

“It’s a unique opportunity; not that many people have that chance,” Kay said. “A couple people from our regional (in the past) have gone on and won.”

Other staples include the Trick or Treat Trail, Holiday Express and Christmas Aglow.

The trail will receive a bit of a face-lift this year, as the department aims to change things up a bit. Fliers and Facebook posts will provide information on the aforementioned changes.

“We reduced the price this year from last year (for the trail) to draw more people to the event,” Minna said. “We want to make it more affordable for families who have multiple kids and have to pay the fee multiple times.

“We also wanted to add a few new things for it, which are in the works but have not been finalized yet. So it will be different than in years past.”

The department is also looking for volunteers.

Volunteers have helped out in years past, and many are students who need to fulfill requirements for National Honor Society, student council or just to graduate. Some volunteer positions can turn into part-time opportunities in the summer.

“We’re just looking in the community and seeing where we would fit in and maybe fill in some voids and try to find some programming based on suggestions we get from residents and see that it would be a good fit for us,” Kay said. “You’ve just got to utilize your assets, being the green space of the township grounds and the local community and the downtown (Mount Clemens) area.”

The summer season was a big hit for the department, with approximately 900 kids participating in the traditional day camp program. One facet that made a difference was a tweak in the program that accommodated parents’ schedules.

“The new lunch pass program, it was the first time we did that, and that increased our numbers,” Minna said. “We had more kids signing up; we had multiple sites sell out.”

That’s why the department wants to get the word out and make sure parents register their children before time — or room — runs out.

“I would emphasize that the sooner the better for registrations,” Kay said. “We hate turning families away; it’s the worst thing that we have to experience when our programs sell out and we can’t add another session because we are either at capacity for the site, or a train fills up, or we don’t have the proper staffing ratios to offer more.”

The first day of registration was Aug. 24, and more than a couple dozen people were already registered.

People can register through the website at, by mailing, emailing and faxing forms, or nearly any other way besides over the phone. They can also visit the department’s Facebook page to stay up to date on program information.