New Britain Parks & Recreation Leads with Empower

“Spring is nature’s way of saying, Let’s Party!” – Robin Williams

The spring season is a sign of renewal and rejuvenation; and what better way to rejuvenate your spirit than adventure! Outdoor adventures take us back to the basic concept of enjoying, and reconnecting with, nature through play and recreation. Whether you are seeking “solo-time” to decompress and break free from the stressors of work, school, or life, or you desire to reconnect with friends and family through adventure play, there are plenty of recreation opportunities available in your communities!

We go “right to the source” in our second edition of the “Recreation-Themed” Lead with Empower Blog by connecting with Maggie Winiarski, Megan Dowling, Matt Scofield, Ashley Santana, and Lindsey Smida from New Britain Parks & Recreation. Visit the New Britain Parks & Recreation website and follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to learn more about their recreation offerings for adults, youths and families, and athletes

The past 12 months have been full of many challenges for many different people. Describe how the pandemic has impacted your ability to provide recreation and leisure services to the New Britain Community Members.

A lot of our programming was cancelled due to the pandemic, but we challenged ourselves to think outside of the box, pivot, and do things differently. Our department continued to think of ways to provide for our community. When schools closed in March of 2020, our after-school programs went virtual. Arts & craft kits were assembled and delivered to students, online activities were posted to Google Classroom, our entire staff held parades for students, and a supply drive-thru ended the school year where students picked up all kinds of games, sports equipment, and supplies for summer fun at one of our local parks.

How did the New Britain Parks & Recreation Team “adjust and adapt” to the challenges in providing recreation services to your community last year? What were some of the new/creative opportunities you offered? How were they received by your community members?

Based on the CDC and State guidelines, we adjusted our policies and procedures to allow community programming to happen. We continued to run our after-school programming in a virtual format and were able to open our summer camps, pools, and summer concerts during the summer. We had to modify our camps  (more locations and few campers per location), pool use procedures (reservations only, social distance guidelines in place), and our summer concert series (social distance guidelines).

Additionally, we had the opportunity to offer virtual piano and voice lessons as well as summer and fall all-star baseball teams . We were also able to hold a few exciting seasonal events, including The Great American Boom (4th of July Fireworks), The Beehive Bridge Festival (Fall music and food truck festival), and Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

All of our 2020 events took place under additional safety protocol and were very popular in our community – many selling out!

What are some of the recreation offerings you have planned for your community members in 2021. Share some examples for Adults, Youths and Families, and Athletes.

We are very excited for the 2021 rollout of our offerings for adults, youths and families, and athletes. Here are some examples:

For Adults:

  • Kickball League (April to June)
  • Yoga in the Park (April to May)
  • Rose Garden Festival (June)

For Youths and Families:

  • After School Programs (October through May)
  • Virtual Family Game Nights (March to April)
  • Fishing Derby, Family Scavenger Hunt Event, and Easter Egg Hunt (April)
  • The Great American Boom Fireworks (July)
  • Summer Camps/Pools and Concert Series (June through August)
  • Our Memorial Day Parade (May), Celebrate New Britain Street Festival (September), and our Farmer’s Markets

For Sports:

  • Tennis Lessons begin at the end of April
  • Spring Basketball Clinics for Middle School Students (May)

How do your recreation services impact your community members? What are you most excited about in 2021?

Our community is definitely looking forward to us coming back and providing programs on a larger scale in 2021! We are so excited to bring back Summer Camp on a bigger level. Although we will still have some modifications, we are able to open registrations to more families and are ready to provide some exciting summer fun to our campers!

We are also hosting virtual gaming leagues (E-Sports) in which participants will register and compete in various video games. Our E-Sports leagues will start at the beginning of May.

Lastly, we are very excited about the development of our new website which will give us the opportunity to provide more information and resources to our community members. Visit the New Britain Parks & Recreation website and follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to learn more about their recreation offerings for adults, youths and families, and athletes

Discover your Sense of Adventure with Empower Leadership

Thank you for checking out part 2 of our 3-part series highlighting local parks and recreation departments and their offerings for adults, youths, families, and athletes. Stay tuned for our next showcases with Logan Gauvin from Rocky Hill Parks and Recreation!

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