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Beach Parks celebrate designated month

July 18, 2012
By BOB PETCHER,rpetcher@breezenewspapers.com , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

July is National Parks and Recreation Month. It has been proclaimed both on the national level and here on Fort Myers Beach with a reading of a Town proclamation last month.

The local parks and recreation department recently honored the designation with a Fourth of July celebration that featured an all-day schedule of events, capped off by an extraordinary fireworks display put on by Garden State Fireworks.

"When we took it on as a Town, we knew we wanted it to be spectacular," said Town Parks & Recreation Director Patti Evans. "(The Semmer Team) did a tremendous volunteer effort, but I wanted it to be just a tad better. I think we were able to kick it off well with simulcast music at the Square. Next year, we'll work to have a radio station pick that up."

Evans applauded the team effort including Beach Fire, deputy sheriffs, town staff, parks staff and others in putting on such a daylong event and show. She is looking forward to being the project coordinator for the fireworks display on New Year's Eve.

"We've already started to plan," she said.

The theme for the 2012 National Parks and Recreation Month is "Get Wild," where families are encouraged to play outside and enjoy many of the benefits and perks those local parks and recreation facilities offer, including Town-owned Bay Oaks Recreational Campus with the community pool, historic Mound House and Gulf side Newton Park. County-owned Bowditch Point Park, Crescent Beach Family Park and Matanzas Pass Preserve are other healthy Beach recreation spots to refresh the mind, body and spirit.

There are various activities to enjoy at all of the Beach parks facilities.

Focusing on the Town-owned locations, Bay Oaks campus has nine fitness classes during July and throughout the summer and hosts favorites such as little league, pickle ball, aerobics, basketball, swim lessons and summer camp. Newton Park features set programs with yoga each Tuesday at 5:45 p.m., guided beach walks each Wednesday morning and summer sunset beach walks at low tide on select Tuesday evenings. Mound House offers regular guided tours each Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday morning.

"We hope that people think that we are an integral part of the community," said Evans. "We have the facilities that the community has asked for, so if there is a program or an opportunity that we can create for them, we want to do that. We are really trying to be something for everyone."

Governor Scott proclaimed July as Park and Recreation Month. Since 1985, state, national and local recreation areas throughout America have celebrated July with this designation.

"Florida's state parks have something for everyone and are an ideal place to have fun with family and friends," said Florida Park Service Director Donald Forgione. "Florida is home to an abundance of wildlife, natural communities and cultural heritage, and our state parks and trails highlight the best recreational experiences Florida has to offer."

Back on the Beach, Town Recreation Coordinator Randy Norton said his staff is working on adding a mural at the Seafarer's site. County has supplied all the materials, but an artist is being sought to volunteer his or her services and expertise.

"I just have to secure an artist," he said.

Park officials are also looking to make a little known kayak launch at Bay Oaks more open to the public.

"We are actually talking about commercializing that kayak launch, which is currently only used for our summer programs," said Norton. "There is no public kayak launch on the island, so we would like to develop that into a public one for launching into the Back Bay."

According to the Trust for Public Land, public playground and park use by families with children has increased 30 percent nationally during the current period of economic difficulty, while 71 percent of citizens in the nation use local parks, says The ETC Institute's Leisure Vision website.

Park usage is also good for health reasons and keeping children out of serious trouble. According to www.healthyAmricans.org, the obesity rate in Florida has risen 80 percent in the past 15 years. The www.fightcrime.org website reports 3 to 6 p.m. is the peak time for juvenile crime in America, while www.nrpa.org states students that take part in at least one hour of extracurricular activities per week are 49 percent less likely to use drugs and 37 percent less likely to become teen parents.

To help the statistics favorably, community members must get into the act. Evans admitted that offering a cast of activities is difficult to do unless there is participation from the community.

"We want to be a vital part of the community. We know that parks and recreation does all kids of things economically by bringing in tourism and improving property values," she said. 'We want people to think of that connection and us. We want to be familiar."

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Here is a listing of some of the programs offered at Town-owned Beach parks:

Newton Park:

n Tuesday evening Yoga: Every Tuesday evening at 5:45pm, $10 per person, no reservations needed.

n Wednesday Morning Guided Beach walks: Every Wednesday morning at 9am for about an hour, free, no reservations needed.

n Summer Sunset Beach walks: At low tide on select Tuesday evenings, 7pm, free, no reservations needed. Next one is July 31.

Mound House:

n Regular Guided Tours:

Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday 9am 12pm with the last tour leaving at 11:30am. (NOTE: No guided tours the week of July 23 due to the staining of the concrete floors in the underground exhibit.)

Bay Oaks fitness:

n Senior Cycle/Flexibility/Toning Class

Designed for seniors, participants will warm up with a 15-minute cycle ride to music, followed by flexibility, coordination and toning segments; Wednesdays at 10 a.m. Cost: $6 for members and $8 for nonmembers.

n RPM Fitness Spin

Ride a bike to tunes that will get your pulse racing. Each class offers a 45-minute ride. Wednesdays at 8:30 a.m.; Saturdays at 10 a.m.; and Thursdays at 6 p.m. Cost: $6 for members and $8 for nonmembers.

n Beginners Senior Fitness

Seniors can learn basic stretching and resistance exercises are used to improving muscle tone, range of motion, and balance. The 30-minute session includes using a chair for all exercises. Jack Barone will instruct the class. All levels of physical fitness welcome to participate; Thursdays at 10 a.m. Cost: $6 for members and $8 for nonmembers.

n Yoga Summer Fitness Camp

This class includes a blend of Yoga postures and Pilates exercises, with cardio intervals. Focused breathing and relaxation techniques are also part of the session. The session began July 5, and will last until Aug. 30; eight weeks; 17 classes. Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9 a.m. Cost: (Session) $120 for members and $165 for nonmembers; drop-in fee of $10 for members or $12 for non-members.

n Free Weight Room Orientation

Free weight room orientation to all members; how to properly use all of the equipment in the weight room. Jack Barone, a certified personal trainer, instructs the class.

n Teen Weightlifting

For ages of 13 and 17; proper weightlifting techniques; Tuesday and Thursday from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Cost is free for members or $4 for nonmembers.

Other Bay Oaks events in July

n Tie Dye Extravaganza

Saturday, July 21: bring in a shirt to gymnasium to tie dye; Bay Oaks shirt can be supplied; 7 p.m.

n Summer Camp: Wacky Week

July 23-27: open to ages 6-13; supervision begins at 7:30am and ends at 6pm; Cost is $65, includes lunch, snack, field trip; also daily rate of $13, additional cost for field trips.

n Teen Miami Marlins Baseball Game Trip

Wednesday, July 25: Departure at 10 am; cost is $25; deadline is July 20; Miami Marlins vs. Atlanta Braves; first 10 people; return around 7pm.

n Movie Night at Beach Theater

Saturday, July 28: Departure at 5:15pm; cost is $15, includes soda and popcorn; deadline is July 26; Dark Knight Rises; signed parental/guardian slip is needed.

SUSAN IF ABOVE CAN'T FIT, TRY TO USE SHORTENED VERSION

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Bat Oaks special events

n Tie Dye Extravaganza

Saturday, July 21: bring in a shirt to gymnasium to tie dye; Bay Oaks shirt can be supplied; 7 p.m.

n Summer Camp: Wacky Week

July 23-27: open to ages 6-13; supervision begins at 7:30am and ends at 6pm; Cost is $65, includes lunch, snack, field trip; also daily rate of $13, additional cost for field trips.

n Teen Miami Marlins Baseball Game Trip

Wednesday, July 25: Departure at 10 am; cost is $25; deadline is July 20; Miami Marlins vs. Atlanta Braves; first 10 people; return around 7pm.

n Movie Night at Beach Theater

Saturday, July 28: Departure at 5:15pm; cost is $15, includes soda and popcorn; deadline is July 26; Dark Knight Rises; signed parental/guardian slip is needed.

 
 

 

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