The Woolwich Summer Playground is going green.
Those are the words of Adrienne Schmidt, supervisor of this year’s summer playground. Along with having fun and keep them busy, the leaders will be trying to raise a little environmental awareness in the children.
“It just seems so common around our society these days, trying to better our environment, and what better way to do that than try and encourage the young children of our future?” Schmidt said. “I’m a farmer at heart – I understand how precious our land is.”
She and the playground leaders plan to have the kids outside as much as possible every day, and they’ll be doing a lot of walking. They’ll also be watching what the kids eat – or more precisely, how their food comes packed.
The leaders will be collecting and weighing the children’s garbage every day, with an eye to reducing how much littler they produce.
“Those kids are going to go home and tell their parents, ‘we can’t take this much garbage to the playground this year,’” Schmidt said. “The ultimate goal is litterless lunches.”
Schmidt has been working closely with Ann Roberts, trails coordinator for the township, and they’re hoping to send the older day-campers “Down the yellow fish road.” The plan is to have them paint yellow fish on storm drains around the town, reminding people that what goes down the through the grates ends up back in streams, creeks and rivers.
The summer playground is for children ages four to 12, divided into three age groups: sunshine club for ages four to six; summer fun for ages seven to nine; and sports and leisure for ages 10 to 12.
The leaders are students ranging from Grade 12 to college and university students. Another 10 high school students will be volunteering as leaders-in-training.
Schmidt encountered the summer playground in her capacity as supervisor at the Elmira pool during the swim that wraps up each day of the playground. She saw how the leaders interacted with the campers and how much fun they were having and was interested in being involved.
“I really enjoy helping teenagers and young children learn how to be leaders. I like to empower the leaders to try new ideas,” she said.
To find activities the children would enjoy most, Schmidt reviewed programs from previous years, talked to previous supervisors and staff and researched day trips they could take.
The weekly themes for the summer playground are fairy tales; water safety; world of science; transportation around the world; animals gone wild; international Olympics and Earth Week.
To go along with those themes, the kids will be going on trips to destinations like Storybook Gardens, the African Lion Safari, Bingemans and Yee Haw Adventure Farm, among others. Schmidt heard from several people how much the children enjoyed competitions, so they’ll have a water day, their own version of Fear Factor and a mini Olympics with events like bowling, triathlon and mini putt.
The playground starts the week of July 6 and runs through to August 21. New this year is the possibility of a week-long program in Breslau. The township is looking at the feasibility of starting a summer playground in the growing community, and this year will be a trial run. If registration numbers warrant, the Breslau program will run Aug. 24 to 28.
Registration is open all summer. Cost is $155 per child per week.