Parks And Rec Kicks Off Training For Summer Volunteens
Lifeguard Mike Meek leads teen volunteers on a tour of the Aquatics and Recreation Center’s swimming pool on Wednesday.
Bryce Lowery, 15, gets lunch at Relics and Rods Hall on Wednesday, at Lake Havasu City’s Aquatics and Recreation Center. Lowery is a teen volunteer who will be working with parks and rec staff this summer.
Summer is here for many Lake Havasu City youths, and the city’s parks and recreation department is preparing for the hundreds who will attend summer camp programs this year.
Hundreds of area teenagers gathered at the Aquatic and Recreation Center this week, where they began training to oversee the city’s youth this summer. The teens, most of whom are 14-15 years old, will work alongside parks and rec staff and returning volunteers to ensure that children have a safe summer.
The city’s “volunteens” are learning to handle a variety of situations that may arise, and are receiving first aid training.
The theme this year, reflected in the attire of many parks and rec staff and volunteers, is that of a traditional summer camp, with camp logos and images of cabins and campgrounds. While Havasu doesn’t have the cabins or woodland that many would associate with a traditional summer camp experience, Recreation Supervisor Donna Best-Carlton says that there will be more than enough entertainment this year.
“This year, we’re trying to make the camps have a ‘Let’s go camping’ feel,” she said. “Parents can work during the summer knowing their kids are safe, and that they’re having the summer of a lifetime.”
The youth summer programs will include Sunshine Kids Summer Camp, the Youth Adventure Camp and Camp Iwannago, all of which have reached full capacity. Wee Play, a similar program for preschoolers, has also reached full capacity.
The summer camp programs will include free lunch, sponsored by a USDA grant, free snacks, field trips, free showings at Movies Havasu, field days, inflatable water slides and trips to the Hualapai Mountains.
Parks and recreation will also offer a summer basketball clinic for 2nd-4th grade and 5th-8th grade, a Junior Lifeguard program, swimming lessons and cooking classes for children 3-10 years old.
The range of activities available for Havasu youths from the parks and recreation department is, Carlton says, thanks to the support of the Lake Havasu City Council.
“For 28 years, our city leaders have always wanted to put children first. It feels good to see our program this successful, but it feels even better knowing that we’re backed by our upper management and the city council.”
Bryce Lowery, 15, will be volunteering with the department’s summer programs for the second time this year. He attended those same programs for five years himself.
“I enjoy working with kids,” Lowery said. “I like hanging out and helping here. I think they’ve done a really good job with this program, and I’m very excited.”
Aquatic Recreation Supervisor Swan Cooke has seen the city’s children arrive for summer camp, year after year, since 1994.
“We’ve watched kids start in these camps, then work there, and then when they’re older, they bring their own kids to these camps,” she said. “It’s nice, seeing these generations stay in Havasu, taking the same programs offered in 1994.”
The department’s “volunteen” program is often a segue between attending camp and joining Parks and Recreation’s staff, Cooke said.
“It’s nice,” Cooke said. “There are a bunch of new faces, and they seem excited. They’ve got their work cut out for them.”
The summer camp programs have 680 children registered, with 70 still on waiting lists.
Credit to: BRANDON MESSICK Today’s News-Herald