Opinion: Potsdam Recreation Department program boasts successful year, director says
Tuesday, September 5, 2017 - 6:43 am

To the Editor:

As the 2017 summer recreation program recently came to an end, the Potsdam Recreation Department was able to enjoy another year of programming thanks to the continued support of the Potsdam community. An array of businesses, organizations, and individuals were tremendous advocates for the program and we would like to take this opportunity to thank all of them.

The program was able to discover some of the activities Potsdam businesses have to offer and enjoyed local field trips to SwingTime Mini Golf, The Virtual Entertainment Lounge, Potsdam Public Library and The Roxy Theater. The big trip of the summer saw a number of children travel to Water Safari to partake in the rides and amusements.

The Potsdam Neighborhood Center (CDP) was very important to the program again this year and continued to educate children regarding the importance of nutrition and in conjunction with Canton-Potsdam Hospital provided healthy lunches daily for those participating in the program.

Dr. Stoian was once again very influential in teaching children and recreation staff through the Coaching Healthy Program. The program, in addition to teaching nutritional concepts, stresses the importance of self-efficiency, hydration, physical activity, limiting screen time and the importance of sleep. The program is very excited to continue this partnership in the years to come in efforts to educate and start a foundation for young children in the community to make healthy life choices, even at a young age.

In addition, Dr. Stoian introduced us to Jenny Morrill and the Mindfulness Program. This was a new experience for everyone and was very well received by the children.

Lauren Smith from Canton-Potsdam Hospital visited this summer to make a healthy treat with the kids. The kids got to try some new things and enjoyed the “cooking” activity.” We also had the opportunity to work with Sam, an intern at CPH from the SUNY Potsdam Community Health Program. Sam showed the kids some fun new way to get active.

We also had weekly visits from Cornell Cooperative Extension this summer. The kids did some educational activities pertaining to nutrition, and then played some games to reinforce the significance of daily exercise.

Claire Burkum paid us a visit this summer to introduce us to “upcycling.” The children cut up old t-shirts to make yarn. Once they made the yarn, they were able to use it to make all sorts of new things!

The Potsdam Police Department and specifically Officer Fink made a visit to the program as well to educate children on bicycle safety. The police department relies heavily on bicycle patrol during a majority of summer events that Potsdam has to offer and the children were certainly excited to see all the features on Officer Fink’s bicycle as he communicated the importance of bicycle maintenance, use of helmets, and awareness.

The summer program concluded its programs with our annual family fun night. Kids and families enjoyed activities such as carnival style games, arts and crafts, face painting, and some special guests that once again demonstrated the community support for Potsdam recreation.

Both the Potsdam Fire Department and rescue squad joined as and provided an exciting opportunity for the children. The Rescue Squad brought one of their ambulances and provided children the opportunity to sit inside the vehicle and check out a variety of equipment that rescue professionals use daily, like the automatic stretcher.

The fire department set up a course that saw participants race through a few obstacles before ending the event by using a charged fire nozzle to put out a mock set of windows that were on fire. An immense thank you is due to Danielle Rose from the fire department and to Chris Towler and all of the members from Potsdam Rescue that offered their time. The rescue squad also participated in a training scenario with our lifeguards at Postwood Park earlier this summer. For all the members and volunteers that attended, it was a tremendous training exercise.

But the conclusion of this year’s summer program is bittersweet. The recreation department is losing both Tim Carey and Jim Grant to retirement. Tim has served as recreation director for the past 30 years and will be greatly missed by the children and staff that he supervised and worked with during his tenure.

He will be joined by Jim Grant, who has safely transported children to and from the recreation program for many years on his various bus routes. His personality and interactions with the kids will surely be missed as well. The recreation department thanks you both for your years of service devoted to the Potsdam community.

Trey Smutz

Potsdam Recreation director