Westminster parks officials reach out to keep kids moving this summer

When Jonathan Schuchman arrived at Westminster City Park on July 9, he knew it would be fun.

"We got to bring all the balls down and play whatever we wanted to play," said the 12-year-old counselor-in-training for the City of Westminster's Department of Recreation and Parks.

"I come all summer," he said.

That's music to the ears of Robin Cherney, a program specialist for the city's rec department — though in truth, she wants even more.

Cherney said she has the goal to keep kids moving all year long, and to that end, she created the program Rec on the Move, last September.

"I wanted to get kids up and out and moving," Cherney said. "Get them unplugged and away from everything."

The program is essentially a traveling play day, as Cherney and helpers show up at a different park facility each week for fun and games with youngsters.

The effort has met with success for all ages, and this summer is an integral piece of the city's emphasis on parks and recreation — centered around a "Get Wild" promotion marking July as National Parks and Recreation Month.

Throughout the month, the city is hosting events, outreach programs and activities designed to highlight the offerings of city parks and programs, from walking trails to the municipal pool; tot lots to the Westminster Family Center.

"We're participating in National Parks and Rec month to encourage folks to come out to the parks," said Nikki Haschert, program specialist for the city. "The big thing is, most of the events are free."

For details on activities and programs, including a "scavenger hunt" that culminates at the end of the month, see the list on the facing page, go to http://www.westgov.com/recreation/rec_events_july.html or call 410-848-9161.

Cherney noted that Rec on the Move started as an outdoor program, and has evolved into something more. She said looking at all the outdoor equipment the city had — various balls, parachute, scooters, etc. — she decided to simply load the city's recreation van and took it to a park for youngsters to use.

The free program was designed to be about two hours long.

Last year, when the weather got cooler, Cherney didn't want the program to end — so she partnered with the Westminster library for an indoor, 45-minute program for preschoolers. She presented it at the library three times a month.

"It's a lot of fun," Cherney said of the inside program. "They love the inside obstacle course of Hoola Hoops and cones."

Inside or out, Cherney said kids just want to be kids, and are happy to embrace an active lifestyle when the opportunity presents itself.

"We can engage the children in activity and monitor behavior," she said.

Additional sessions of Rec on the Move are planned for Monday evenings in the coming weeks: July 16 at the Charles Street Tot Lot; July 23 at Whispering Meadows Community Park; and July 30 at the Greens Tot Lot behind Westminster Municipal Pool, 325 Royer Road.

All of those sessions run 6-7:30 p.m. For details, call Cherney at 410-848-9161.

(See related article for a full list of remaining special events in July.)

Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad