Summer fun is on the way as the town and city of Lockport prepares activities for children and families after school is over.
LaShonda McKenzie, one of the organizers of the city’s youth recreation program, said the main goal of the program offered at Altro (Willow) Park, Dolan Park and Outwater Park this summer is to get kids out in front of computer screens and back outside doing things they used to do.
From June 27, each child is invited to show up between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday to Friday, in one of the three parks all summer long until August 8.
McKenzie said there will be arts and crafts, games like softball, basketball, field games and board games. Field trips will include bowling and movies, as well as use of the community pool.
“We’re trying to recover things – post Covid – and understand the new normal,” McKenzie said.
For McKenzie, a special education teacher at Cheektowaga Schools, being able to continue her work over the summer is something she looks forward to. She’s been on the program for 10 years, she said, and is surprised at how quickly time has passed.
McKenzie also noted that there will be free breakfast and lunch for children at the parks, regardless of age or attendance. Benjamin Bunker, director of the Niagara County Youth Board, confirmed that the meals will be crushed in coolers by his team and then distributed to children in parks.
“We have more help from the county for young summer seasonal workers, which is good,” said Luke Kantor, president of the city’s youth council. “It will help prepare staff, and we are looking at supplies. We are reaching out to all local groups to see if they can donate equipment or supplies or monetary donations.
Kristina Tracz, secretary of the City of Lockport Recreation Committee, said that although there is no summer program in the city, due to staffing shortages, Day Road Park is still open and there will be recreation days, including community day on July 17. from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the town hall.
“There will be hot dogs, fries, soft drinks and ice cream,” Tracz said. “A bounce house. The volunteer fire company will be there, and the K-9 unit will be demonstrating. All of this is free.
A movie night will also be held at Day Road Park on June 24 where children of all ages can watch “Clifford the Big Red Dog” at 7 p.m. on an inflatable screen set up near the Day Road Park gazebo. Lawn chairs and blankets are suggested and complimentary refreshments will be available. The second movie won’t be until August 12 when “Boss Baby: Family Business” premieres.
Tracz also noted that the YMCA Fitness in the Parks Day Park program will be offered Tuesday for a family walk at 5:30 p.m. followed by family yoga at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday will offer Zumba classes at 10 a.m. and again at 6 p.m. and Thursday. Yoga (mat mandatory) at 6:30 p.m.
For those looking forward to getting together this summer, on June 13 at Day Road Park, between 6 and 8 p.m., the Barge Canal Optimist Club will be hosting a Bike Safety Rodeo. The fun event will include an obstacle course for young cyclists.