EAST LONGMEADOW – The Recreation Department has added several new activates such as drama and music to its list of youth summer programs this year and the department also has plans to start a community youth theater this September.
Director of Recreation Colin Drury told Reminder Publications said the new summer programs would be included at the Pine Knoll Recreation Area’s activity center.
“I feel bad that we haven’t been offering more than sports,” he added. “We’re trying to be a little ambitious and I think at this point with the staff we have, we can’t add any more than we have right now because we’re already bursting at the seams.
“We don’t have the amount of staff that we need to run our current programs, but we’re trying to be a little ambitious to show the town that we’re a really good return on investment for them,” he continued.
Drury said the community youth theater is set to begin on Sept. 10 and end with a musical production of “Into the Woods” in January 2016. The course will be run by Amy Kimball Theater, which specializes in youth productions.
Tim Larocca, Recreation Department program coordinator, said last year’s program offerings will continue at Pine Knoll, including sports, arts and crafts, dancing, games, and nature learning activities for K-8 youth.
“To keep our ambition going we’re actually going to be bringing swimming lessons back to town too,” Drury said.
He added that swimming lessons haven’t been offered in the town for close to a decade. This is the second year the recreation department will utilize the new approximately $687,000 Pine Knoll pool.
The first Pine Knoll session will begin the week of June 22 and the last session will start on August 10. A total of eight sessions will take place during the summer months.
Registration for any activity is open until the Friday prior to it beginning, he noted.
The Recreation Department is also adding new sports programs such as NFL flag football for first and second graders his fall, Drury said.
“We will have the mini Patriots here in town playing football,” he added. “It kind of coincides with our current youth football program, but gives first and second graders the opportunity to play. It’s just really cool to have the NFL back the town of East Longmeadow to back a flag football program.”
The department is also bringing new soccer coaches on board for its program, including the challenger course that will feature instruction from professional coaches hailing from the United Kingdom, Drury said.
“It’s a different style of soccer,” he added. “You get a chance to kind of see what type of soccer their playing across the pond, which is nice.”
“He’s going to be bringing himself and his assistant coach to come into East Longmeadow and really run a fantastic college-level camp for our kids, which is really amazing,” he added. “It’s not something that we’ve really had in East Longmeadow – that caliber of teaching from England as well as from local colleges.”
Drury said he and Larocca have also coordinated to a pilot a youth track and field series this summer.
“We’re looking to see if those track and field kids are out there and if they are, we’re hoping we can turn it into a full fledged in-season program,” he added. “If, this summer, we see 30 or 30 kids or even 15 then we’re going to go for it.”
For more information regarding the Recreation Department’s catalogue of summer course and program offerings visit http://ma-eastlongmeadow.civicplus.com/DocumentCenter/View/2419. To register, visit http://elrec.recdesk.com.