OCEAN CITY – Summer is quickly coming to an end and families across the country are starting to hang up their beach towels and put away their bathing suits, as they trade in their beach bag for their school books.
With the end of the summer blues hanging over the heads of the children and parents in Worcester County, it is almost possible to forget the fun that is about to begin at Northside Park. While the weather might began to change Ocean City Recreation and Parks promises to increase excitement this fall as participants “discover an ocean of fun” this season at Northside Park.
September is a busy month for even the smallest member of the family, as Ocean City Recreation and Parks offers three programs for toddlers under the age of 6.
The Start Smart Basketball and Soccer programs are both developmentally designed by the National Alliance for Youth Sports to help children prepare to enter the world of organized sports. These programs not only teach children fundamental motor skills such as throwing, catching, kicking and batting, but also provide age appropriate equipment to conduct fun exercise to help the children learn basic skills that will help them to exceed and excel once they enter youth sports.
Along with Start Smart Sports, Ocean City Recreation and Parks offers a fun and exciting playgroup for children from 18-months-old to 3-years-old. This program gives children and their parents the opportunity to interact with others while participating in a variety of activities including arts and crafts, singing, music, story time and active games.
For the elementary school children in the house, Ocean City offers numerous activities for both boys and girls. Beginning in early September, kids throughout the Eastern Shore have the opportunity to participate in soccer, basketball, lacrosse, skateboarding, swimming, flag football, cheerleading and fitness challenge. Also new to the fall line up is Hershey’s Track & Field Fun Day, where children will meet at Stephen Decatur High School and participate in activities involving running, throwing, jumping and relays. Each program for elementary children offers boys and girls the chance to make new friends while improving their athletic abilities.
Along with the sports offered for the elementary school children are a few additional programs organized for the teenagers in town. Starting off the fall fun is the brand new high school lazer tag club.
“This is a really cool program,” said Ron Strickler, Recreation Supervisor, “I am 25-years-old and I am just as excited about it as the kids. We are thankful to Planet Maze/Lazer Storm for providing us with the chance to offer something different to the children. Not every kid likes to play with a stick and a ball so this is something that will definitely attract boys and girls with interests outside of soccer, basketball and lacrosse.”
Not only does Ocean City Recreation and Parks offer Lazer Tag Club for the adolescence out there, but also provides a Gladiator Dodgeball night for children in fifth through eighth grades. The special event, offered only four nights this season, allows kids the opportunity to come out on a Friday night and enjoy pizza, ice cream and the incorporation of dodgeball, flag football and capture the flag.
“Gladiator Dodgeball has been a huge hit for both the staff and the kids,” said Kim Kinsey, Recreation Supervisor. “The staff loves it because it is something totally different then what we are used to and it also is a fun, safe and supervised activity for pre-teens and teenaged children. It is something different for them to do besides go to the mall or hang out at the movie theater and that is what the kids love about it. Plus, its free ice cream and pizza and what kid doesn’t love that.”
With all of the kids keeping busy, Ocean City Recreation and Parks has also come up with a few programs that will keep the parents having fun this fall as well. Not only can you enroll in “low impact” aerobics class, a “step it up” aerobics class, adult line dancing and couples line dancing, but Ocean City Recreation and Parks also offers four competitive sports leagues for those die-hard athletic adults.
Starting off the season is the return of Men’s Fall Double Header League Softball and the anticipated return of the adult Flag Football League as well as the Co-Rec Adult Fall Volleyball. Starting later this fall is also the return of the Indoor Adult Soccer League, which draws teams from Russia, Romania and several participants from South America.
For the senior citizens of the family, Ocean City Recreation and Parks offers Senior Aerobics, Bingo, Senior Bowling League, Ceramic Classes, Oil Painting, Senior Shuffleboard League, Senior Water Aerobics and a Senior Computer Class.
“It is unbelievable how popular some of our senior programs have become,” said Ann Brent, Senior Program Supervisor. “Most of our participants are retired and some are living alone. These programs are a great way to give them a little bit of activity during the week and it is also a great place for them to make lasting friends”
While the majority of the family will have probably found something fun to participate in at Northside Park, Ocean City Recreation and Parks is also offering a program to include the furriest family member this fall. Two obedience courses are offered for your family dog, with both a puppy training course and an obedience course for dogs that trains both advanced and beginner canines.
Not only do the programs at Northside Park promise some physical exercise but they also are a great way for parents and children to socialize outside of the school scene.
“Fall programs are probably one of my favorites of the year,” Strickler said. “Its is great because the kids have just started school and we provide them with something to look forward to at the end of the day.”
For more information about any of the programs offered at Ocean City Recreation and Parks, call 410-250-0125 or visit www.ococean.com/recprograms.html.