The 2018 Cazenovia Joint Youth Recreation Program will see changes this year in enrollment ages, meeting location and daily programming this year. (submitted photo)
The 2018 Cazenovia Joint Youth Recreation Program will see changes this year in enrollment ages, meeting location and daily programming, some due to planned construction in Lakeland Park and some just to improve administration, according to program Director Elizabeth Digiacomo.
The Cazenovia Joint Youth Recreation consists of the Village of Cazenovia and the towns of Cazenovia, Fenner and Nelson and is open to all families who reside within these communities and the Cazenovia Central School District. The camp offers weekday activities and programs, swimming and swim lessons and a weekly field trip for elementary and middle school-aged children.
This year’s program, which will run from July 9 to August 17, will have some changes from previous years’ programs, Digiacomo said.
One of the major changes will be the age range of campers. While previously there was no real cutoff age for participants — open to kids age 5 and older — starting this year, no child older than 12 (must be 12 as of July 1, 2018) can participate in the program. Campers must have completed Kindergarten to enroll.
This change was made because of the power of peer influence and the decision that counselors should be a minimum of five years older than the children whom they supervise, Digiacomo said. “Teens are not equipped to supervise other teens,” she said. “The staff needs to protect the safety of the kids, not mediate issues between peers.”
Another major change will impact program location, Digiacomo said. Due to planned construction work in Lakeland Park, specifically to the Chittenango Creek canal wall, the daily starting and ending location for Youth Rec campers will be in the Cazenovia High School upper lot by the outdoor track. Daily announcement and some programs will occur at the high school, while the waterfront area will open for swimming, swim lessons and swim tests starting at 10 a.m.
Swim tests are required for all campers and available to all community members, Digiacomo said. Swim lessons are provided as part of the youth rec program and are also offered free to community members.
All counselor positions for the 2018 year are filled, but applications for lifeguards are being accepted, Digiacomo said. Applicants must be age 16 or older and must have completed open water certification, she said.
“Also, please remember that no lifeguards on duty means no swimming is allowed in the park,” to campers and community members alike,” she said.
Lifeguards reserve the right to refuse use of the waterfront to anyone that does not follow the waterfront rules, she said.
This year’s camp will feature field days every Wednesday at Lakeside Park (down the street from Lakeland Park) and optional field trips every Friday at a cost of $20. There will be no supervision in the park on Fridays.
Digiacomo said she is currently looking for local organizations or community members interested in volunteering and providing programs and opportunities to teach campers new skills. She said she welcomes local artisans and skilled professionals to teach kids activities such as how to fix a bicycle, build a birdhouse or create different kinds of artwork.
Previous Youth Rec program collaborations have occurred with the Cazenovia Public Library, Stone Quarry Hill Art Park and CRIS (Community Resources for Independent Seniors).
Online registration for the 2018 Cazenovia Joint Youth Recreation Program will begin May 15 through the Cazenovia.recdesk.com/community website. You can also follow the program on Cazenovia Youth Recreation Facebook page.
For more information, contact Elizabeth Digiacomo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.