Summer recreation programs aim to create lifetime memories in Fraser

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published June 19, 2019

 One of the summer’s biggest programs will be a family campout at Steffens Park, near City Hall, on Aug. 17.

One of the summer’s biggest programs will be a family campout at Steffens Park, near City Hall, on Aug. 17.

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FRASER — Christina Woods, director of Fraser Parks and Recreation, said the focus of the program’s 2019 summer activities was inspired by connecting children and adults in a bountiful way — by fostering healthy social skills and encouraging parents to take the time to engage in their children’s activities, thereby making lifetime memories.

Woods said preparation for this summer’s programs began back in December. While attempting to determine the framework of the overall program package, she and her staffers thought about what the “core purpose” is in the community.

In essence, stronger bonds lead to happier and healthier lives. That includes training staff to be more attentive to kids and to comprehend when social interaction may not be at its peak.

“We’re seeing a big issue with that,” Woods said. “It used to be very natural to socialize, but with the onset of technology, it’s harder to encourage. We are humans and we are social. It’s a very important part of our being.”

She said the onus is also on parents, who have to think about how their own interactions have an impact on their children. That is why children will be provided with comment cards, which they can use to communicate with their parents about what they enjoy or dislike, and why.

It helps to derail the “I don’t know” aspect of a conversation.

“It’s a very important part of our childhood,” Woods said in a message to parents. “Don’t just gloss over it. This is very important for your kids and for you.”

She talked about some of the summer’s biggest programs, including a family campout at Steffens Park, near City Hall, that will start at 3 p.m. Aug. 17 and will conclude at 9 a.m. Aug. 18. The rainout date would be Aug. 24.

It’s the first time the department is trying this event, which is meant to create more memory-making moments in the form of what Woods called a “wholesome campout.” It will include dinner, games, crafts, a scavenger hunt and s’mores.

“Sometimes families are busy and don’t want to take the weekend to go up north,” she said. “So, we’re making it super easy.”

Another popular program is adult kickball, which begins July 24 and will take place on subsequent Wednesdays. The regular season is six weeks for single headers, with double elimination events to follow. It costs $400 per team, which includes umpire fees, and payment plans are available.

Other youth programs include the annual summer day camps that combine crafts, dodgeball, capture the flag, and Wednesday pool days at Somerset Swim Club. The camper-to-staff ratio is about 8-to-1. Kids will have to bring their own lunches. The day-camps begin June 24.

“I like going out there seeing the new groups that begin to form, and the friendships that are made,” she said. “It’s cool how they congregate. It’s like their summer family. It comes routine for them.”

The department is also trying to hit the teen demographic more.

On Friday, July 12, at either 11 a.m. or 6 p.m., it is offering a marshmallow shooter program at Steffens Park. Boys and girls in grades five through eighth are invited to decorate their shooters, win prizes and participate in a pizza party. That costs $16 for residents or $22 for nonresidents.

For more program information or to register, call (586) 296-8483 or visit www.ci.fraser.mi.us.