Monday, April 21, 2014

Organizers drop Winter Adventures

By ABBY ECKEL, Herald Staff Writer | 12/4/2013

Parents of elementary-aged youths likely will have to find new ways to entertain students later this month during Ottawa’s holiday break.

Winter Adventures, previously organized by the Franklin County Children’s Coalition along with local businesses, no longer will be coordinated to provide daily activities for children during the post-Christmas break, Rebecca McFarland said.

Parents of elementary-aged youths likely will have to find new ways to entertain students later this month during Ottawa’s holiday break.

Winter Adventures, previously organized by the Franklin County Children’s Coalition along with local businesses, no longer will be coordinated to provide daily activities for children during the post-Christmas break, Rebecca McFarland said.

“In the past, we’ve had a committee made up of members of the Franklin County Children’s Coalition, and it’s difficult with people going out of town during that time to schedule events [during Christmas break] and also oversee them,” McFarland, family and consumer sciences extension agent for Frontier Extension District No. 11, which serves Franklin County, said. “I’m not aware of anyone else picking it up.”

In previous years, Winter Adventures provided activities throughout the break for kindergarten through sixth-grade students in Franklin County, McFarland said. Activities like a Christmas cookie workshop, Imagination Playground and a skate night at The Rink were part of the weekly adventures, according to The Herald’s archives.

“We had a couple of people step up that said they’d co-chair [the events], but wouldn’t be able to be there to oversee a lot of the activities,” she said. “It’s just a difficult time to try to be here with a lot of people traveling.”

The discontinued Winter Adventures program comes two years after Ottawa’s long-standing community Thanksgiving dinner tradition ended for similar reasons.

Those looking for exercise opportunities during the winter break still will have options, Matt Parenti said. The Ottawa Community Recreation Center/Goppert Building, 705 W. 15th St., still will play host to a few days of activities, he said.

“We have a Schools Out Camp on various days,” Parenti, recreation supervisor for the Ottawa Recreation Commission, which oversees the Goppert Building, said. “We have the one on Dec. 27 and it’s from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the kids will be doing lots of gym activities and games, some craft sessions and snacks and we treat them to a big screen movie and they’ll have some color time. It’s a pretty full day.”

Schools Out Camp previously was part of the Winter Adventures line-up of activities, and the ORC is happy to continue providing a place for kids to go, Parenti said.

“More than anything, it just gives the kids a place to be safely and remain active,” Parenti said. “Parents are working during that time, and we just offer our facility for the parents and the kids to have a good safe environment to be at and be active with crafts and physical activities and entertainment.”

The camp is offered three days during the break from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 27, Jan. 2 and Jan. 3 at the Goppert Building, Parenti said. Camp is $18 per day and parents can register kids in kindergarten through sixth grade online at www.orcottawaks.org

“We’ve had to raise our prices a bit and all, but it still beats the standard day care fee,” he said. “Hopefully people will see it that way and utilize it for that. It’s fun and a good time kids seem to enjoy.”

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