That would be the way I would have started off this article welcoming all the wonderful things Parks and Recreation had planned throughout the summer months. However, a global pandemic has had everyone re-evaluate how to safely find ways to stay physically fit, and entertain ourselves during the COVID-19 quarantine. It has been a tragic time in so many ways for families in and around Suffield. As we appear to be optimistically turning the corner, I wanted to update you on some of the ways the Parks and Recreation Staff and community have been engaging with Suffield and the residents since the wheels fell off in mid-March. As a precaution, we suspended all of our in-person programs, sports, and events. This was done out of an abundance of caution for public safety. After a few weeks, we began offering free online content to keep kids and families busy with daily virtual field trips, fun facts, and even exercise classes. This content was well received via our social media pages, and even evolved to a more interactive “game night” with live versions of BINGO, and Scatergories. Our staff has been working hard to help you through this pandemic, while planning several different versions of summer programming.
Now, moving on to what is in store for this summer.
These camps will be held at various locations in town, including Spaulding School, Sunrise Park, Suffield Middle School, and McAlister School.
As you can imagine, planning for a safe environment for children and staff has been a challenge, as knowledge of the virus and what government safety standards are implemented, change often. The short version for camp descriptions is, we are open to Suffield residents. Parents/caregivers who must be called back to work, we are your primary source for child care. Everyone must wear face coverings at the younger camps (including staff). Staff must wear face coverings at the older camps with campers wearing when social distancing is not possible. Temperatures will be taken daily at camp prior to admission by a healthcare professional. No more than ten children are allowed in a group, and two staff are assigned to each group. Groups are not allowed to intermingle, facilities and equipment are sanitized daily. We have taken these steps to be in compliance with Connecticut’s Office of Early Childhood (OEC), who oversee camp regulations in the State, as well as working with Suffield’s Superintendent of Schools and the Board of Education on our summer camp plans.
Other things that are happening this summer to keep you and your family busy are listed on our website, www.suffieldrec.com. We will be having a virtual speaker and presentation series via Zoom, sport clinics (one or two day programs that last for less than three hours a day), virtual enrichment programs, and physical programs for kids and adults as well. Be sure to check out all we have to offer online.
Two words that are synonymous with summer are Babb’s Beach.
We will be instituting a reservation system to control the number of people to safely use the facility and still be socially distant. Families can register up to 24 hours in advance of the day they would like to go to Babb’s on our website. Once registered, you just need to check in with the gate attendant as you enter the facility. They will have a list of those that have registered for a particular day. If you did not pre-register for the day, we will take “walk-ins” on a first come/first served basis until we reach the capacity number. The hours for Babb’s Beach are 10 a.m – 7 p.m., weather depending, and the same fee structure applies for this summer – Free to Suffield residents, and $20/car (group of 5) for non-residents.
We hope you are staying safe, and are able to enjoy the outdoors, and some of our summer programs. I would like to thank all of our hard working staff, and all those that have been helping out these past few months! Hopefully, I will see you around town soon!