Celebrating 'Park & Recreation Month' with the community
To commemorate Park and Recreation Month, families are being invited to participate in a variety of activities at the Falling Springs Arts and Recreation Center and other local park facilities in July. Active-duty military, police officers and firefighters are invited to “Real Life Super Hero Day” on Sunday, July 3. All superheroes (with a valid ID) and two guests will receive free admission to the Falling Springs Center with access to all of its recreation facilities for the day “to show our appreciation to those folks who are real-life superheroes,” said Chanté Bowman, assistant director of Versailles-Woodford County Parks and Recreation. “Super Hero Day” and many other special activities and events also follow the theme of this year’s Park and Recreation Month: To help you discover your super powers! A Dive-In Movie at Falling Springs Center on Friday night, July 22, will give families an opportunity to go for a swim in the outdoor pool at 8 and watch “The Incredibles” on a large theater screen and sound system beginning at 9 – all at no cost. Concessions will also be available. An annual favorite returns to the Woodford County Park on Friday, July 29. The Tiki Trot 5K at 8 p.m. and Fun Run (or Walk) at 7 p.m. will be followed by a Moonlight Swim in the outdoor pool at Falling Springs. Participants are welcome to wear their favorite Hawaiian Luau clothes, including grass skirts. Recurring weekly events during July include Manic Mondays – free Popsicles at the splash pool for kids up to 15 years old from noon to 4 p.m., and fun games on Wacky Wednesdays at the Falling Springs pool, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Also, Free Workout Saturdays at Big Spring Park in downtown Versailles begin at 9 on Saturday mornings. Participants are asked to bring a water bottle and towel for the workouts. “Our role in the community is to provide the community with fun, safe, recreational activities at as lowest cost as we can possibly do,” said Rich Pictor, executive director of Versailles-Woodford County Parks and Recreation. He said any fees associated with its programming are necessary to cover the costs of providing programs, which are inclusive to all ages. “So we try to create (programming) that is for kids as well as for adults to get them active, to get them doing things, to get them away from the video games,” explained Pictor, who has been parks and recreation director for nearly 14 years. In the outdoor pool at Falling Springs and on the playground at Big Spring Park, Pictor said his parks department staff wants to keep “people active – and that’s from youth all the way up through seniors. “…So we’re always looking at new and different things coming on the horizon,” including pickleball. The racket sport has become very popular among seniors in Florida and may be coming to the Falling Springs gymnasium this fall or winter. The disc golf course at the county park provides another opportunity to bring a different sport to the community at no cost, said Pictor. His 10 full-time staffers are typically involved in designing, organizing and running programs offered by the Versailles-Woodford County Parks and Recreation, and they appreciate being in that role. Through her involvement in youth basketball programs at Falling Springs, Bowman gets to see smiles on the faces of kids who are having fun playing a sport she loves. “It just warms my heart,” said Bowman, a former University of Kentucky basketball player. To get the entire family doing physical fitness activities and involved with programs offered by parks and recreation, Pictor said, anyone who purchases a gold or silver membership pass can bring their children (younger than 14) with them at no additional cost. “So while you exercise in the fitness room,” he said, “they can go swim in the pool or (play) basketball” in the gym. “I love seeing the families get healthier together,” said Heather Major, accounting manager for Versailles-Woodford County Parks and Recreation. She also loves seeing kids, who came to Sunshine Camp as 5-year-olds, return as camp counselors when they’re teenagers. “It’s really fun to see,” agreed Pictor. His teenage daughter was one of six counselors who participated in Sunshine Camp as a kid and returned to camp this summer – often because they remember having fun in their youth. The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) has asked parks and recreation departments across the country to support its “Park and Recreation Month” initiative to raise awareness about programs that build healthy and active communities, which help to prevent chronic diseases and improve the emotional health of all citizens. Woodford County Judge-Executive John Coyle and Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott signed a proclamation on June 14 supporting the NRPA initiative by designating July as Park and Recreation Month in Versailles and Woodford County. For additional information about Versailles-Woodford County Parks and Recreation’s special and weekly programs, which celebrate Park and Recreation Month in July, visit www.vwcparksrec.com online or call 873-5948.