The Winthrop Parks and Recreation Summer Program will begin on July 6 at four local parks.
“We’re going to have two programs, our full-day summer program that’s going to be based at Ingleside Park, and our park program that will be based at four parks,” said Parks and Recreation Director Sean Driscoll.
The full-day program will run at Ingleside Park from Monday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., while the park program will run at Ingleside Park, Coughlin Playground, Pond Street Park, and Pico Park, Monday to Thursday, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
“We’re getting a steady response in the signups (ages 6-12) for the programs, which is a good sign,” said Driscoll.
The openings of the playgrounds will be geared by the interest shown by the registrants.
“We could be shifting some of the park locations depending on the numbers,” said Driscoll. “By state guidelines, we can only have ten kids to a group with two counselors per group, and they have to stay together as a whole group for each day. Hopefully, the regulations will loosen up a little bit by July 6, but it doesn’t appear that it well.”
The popular program has drawn as many as 180 youths during the summer. In past summers, the entire group could participate in activities at one location.
“The reason we’re opening up the different parks is we want to spread out the groups,” said Driscoll.
He anticipates a turnout of 60 youths at Ingleside, 50 youths at Coughlin, and lower numbers at the neighborhood parks, Pico and Pond Street.
“We have also set up a partnership with 21st Century Learning and Kathy DelVento,” said Driscoll. “The two programs will participate in activities together at the parks where kids will visit different stations for arts and craft, yoga, and robotics.”
Massport will again furnish workers to assist the Winthrop staff in the Parks and Recreation Summer Program.
Driscoll understands that it’s been a difficult stretch for Winthrop parents and children who have been limited in their outdoor recreational opportunities due to the social distancing guidelines and governmental advisories to remain at home as much as possible.
“We believe we can have a summer program and do it safely and manage any obstacles that come along,” said Driscoll.
The parks leader thanked Director of Public Health Meredith Hurley for her assistance during the health crisis.
“We’ve been working closely with the Winthrop Health Department, especially Meredith Hurley, who has been a huge help to us – putting guidelines and rules together for parents and children,” said Driscoll.
The Summer Programs will be held for seven weeks. Fridays will be off days as crews deep-clean the parks.
“Our offices will be open on Friday, but there will be no organized activities inside or outside,” said Driscoll.
Driscoll expressed gratitude to his staff of Assistant Director Jill Caputo and Program Coordinator James Carroll.
“We’ve been working together since the beginning of April to put a plan together and my staff coming in here during these times of uncertainty and showing their dedication has been a huge help to me,” lauded Driscoll. “Obviously I couldn’t do this alone.”