The Summer Playground is more than just one of the many programs Norfolk Recreation offers, according to the department’s director, Ann Proto. It’s a program that she believes really makes Norfolk Recreation a big part of the community. “Summer playground is something we work on all year to make sure it works,” Proto says. “We really feel it’s what makes Norfolk Rec special.”
The program costs $1 a day plus a onetime registration fee of $20. The fee is $12 if registration is done before June 8th. Norfolk children entering grades 2 through 6 are able to stop in any day to take part in a host of summer camp style activities such as crafts and games. The fee includes a t-shirt that children will have an opportunity to tie-dye. At any given time there could be between 80 to 125 kids dropping in to enjoy the Summer Playground. The flexible nature allows families to take advantage of the summer and still have fun activities for their children to participate in when they are in town. “It’s a way to be outside and supervised and it's open to everyone in Norfolk,” Proto explains.
The supervision mainly comes from college students, but there a few in high school. Proto says she requires all the counselors to volunteer first. “I can’t say enough about my counselors. They’re terrific and multi-talented,” she explained.
Each day the children will have an opportunity to do something that is summer camp inspired such as making picture frames, playing sports, or participating in scavenger hunts. Recently, the group made items like wallets only using duct tape.
This year the program turned to the local community for support. “We asked businesses to partner with us and become Donors-of-the-Day,” Proto says. “We had a wonderful response.”
Many of the businesses and organizations that have contributed include, Norfolk Arena, Eagle Brook Saloon, Norfolk Baseball, Norfolk Youth Basketball, Acorn Animal Hospital, Carpentry by Tom Antonellis, Crowley's Power Equipment, Foxboro Federal, Taylor Rental, AmVets, and Norfolk Power Equipment. Also, Dunkin Donuts, along with Norfolk Lions, donated their road race proceeds to help sponsor a week of the summer playground. Norfolk Lions and the Norfolk Community League made donations to help fund crafts, supplies and staff costs.
The summer playground will run through August 15th closing with a big barbeque complete with a bounce house from Taylor Rental. The playground is held weekly, Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. There is still time to participate in the fun.