Both in-person and online recreation camps will be offered as the program adapts to COVID-19 restrictions
The City of Davis Parks and Community Services Department has released a recreation guide for summer 2021. There are camps available for children and youths from ages 2 to 17. Registration will take place on April 13 for programs from June 14 to July 18, and registration will take place May 18 for programs from July 19 to August 31.
Tamiko Kwak, the senior community services supervisor for the City of Davis, explained that the summer recreation programs have been modified due to the pandemic.
“We are building upon what we have been able to offer throughout the pandemic,” Kwak said via email. “We have adapted our recreation programs by offering online and in-person activities. It is important for us to continue to offer both options as not everyone is able to join in person.”
Christine Helweg, the parks and community services assistant director for the City of Davis, explained that recreation programs were put on hold early on in the pandemic.
“Initially, when the pandemic first hit, all of our recreation programming was canceled,” Helweg said. “We were not able to provide the level of programming within the safety guidelines that the county and state had.”
Kwak added further commentary on the recreation programs prior to the pandemic.
“Pre-pandemic, our recreation programs were interactive, in-person and offered a wide variety of recreational gathering opportunities,” Kwak said via email.
Erica Walters, a seventh-grade teacher and Sacramento County resident, explained the importance of recreation for youths.
“I would say that [recreation] is significantly important in their lives,” Walters said. “It contributes to their social and emotional growth and teaches them not only a healthy lifestyle and sense of community, but also life skills.”
Kwak commented on the department’s goal of offering different types of services during the pandemic.
“Throughout the pandemic, we were reminded that our mission is to create and enhance the quality of life for our Davis residents and visitors by providing a diverse array of programs and services,” Kwak said via email.
Walters further commented on how she believes art and recreation can benefit youths, especially during times of stress and uncertainty.
“Secondary to the arts, recreation should be a priority in young people’s lives—particularly during this time with so many young people experiencing a sense of loss and collective grief and trauma that it seems as if recreation would have some healing properties,” Walters said. “It would make a positive impact in young people’s lives and the community.”
Kwak described the innovative ways they were able to modify recreational programs. They had to pull staff together, review restrictions and health guidelines, submit revised recreation proposals for review and determine which programs could be adapted while keeping participants and staff safe.
“We had to get creative; we had to create new recreation programs that could be done at home, online and socially-distanced,” Kwak said via email. “Although our programs looked different, we found ways to keep connected.”
Helweg encouraged community members to participate in summer recreation classes, whether they are in-person or online.
“I just encourage the residents to take advantage of them where they can,” Helweg said. “If they’re not comfortable with in-person programming, [they can] take advantage of a lot of the virtual programming we have available as well.”
Kwak added that this summer could be an opportunity for people to gather and spend time together again.
“This summer we are focusing on reconnecting,” Kwak said via email. “We are looking forward to spending time outdoors and being together again.”
Written By: Jelena Lapuz — [email protected]