2017 A Year in the Parks

by: Julianne Yacovone 2 months ago

2017 was a busy year for Charleston Parks and Recreation and we've had many changes. We started the year losing some extra with the Biggest Loser Challenge and ended the year winning in the Charleston Christmas Parade. We ran trails, shot straight,dove in, explored, adventured, took a stand, and even sang a little. We are more than ready to get this year moving and #getactivecwv. 

The Biggest Loser Challenge was started last year at the Kanawha City Community Center by our very own Personal Trainer and Program Coordinator Kelsey Gilbert. Brand new to the department, she has been a great addition to the team. The community enjoyed releasing lanterns at Cato and experiencing the park at dark. Participants explored the trails at night, enjoyed hearing from the Kanawha Valley Astronomical Society, and played some glow-in-the-dark footgolf. Last year we had animals join the thousands of children from all over West Virginia for the Magic Island Egg Hunt.The Jungle Island Petting Zoo brought kangaroos, mini pygmy goats, and a camel to get in on the fun. It is important to our director that we provide programs to local schools and organizations. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center pool hosted swim lessons for the King Center Head Start Program and Piedmont Head Start. Edgewood Elementary 4th and 5th grade classes participate in archery lessons, the equipment and instruction is provided to them. Charleston Montessori joined us at Cato Park for hikes and programs. The PAAC Program at the King Center has benefited from our youth tennis programs and archery programs, as has the EEFRC at the Roosevelt Neighborhood Center and the afterschool program at the 2nd Avenue. Cato Park offered two nature camps last summer that were packed with kids from the community. Kids created, hiked, learned the basics of fire starting and safety, took field trips, and even had special guests like the Charleston Police Department. The Kanawha City Community Center hosted a Health Fair to let the community know what's available in the Charleston Area. Go Skate Day was motivator for the first skateboarding scavenger hunt made possible by Knarleston creator Trace Corley. After the pools closed to swimmers the puppies got a chance to play in the pool when Kanawha City and King Center pools hosted Dog Swims benefiting the Kanawha-Charleston Humane Society, followed by Fishing Rodeos at the Cato and North Charleston pools. Families and girl scouts explored the Cato trail system more closely at our first geocaching event last August. We took a stand against Human Trafficking and hosted a Walk for Freedom in Charleston becoming part of a global movement. Fandom nerds united at Cato Park to play quidditch and check out the Forbidden Forest trail and other activities at the Harry Potter Experience. Hardcore runners came out for the Cato 5 Miler, the first trail run on the Cato trails. Of course we can't forget to stay active during the winter months, running or walking the Winter Series is a great way to do that. We had the pleasure of hanging out at events around Charleston such as Levee,streetfest, festivAll, Elk City Ice Cream and the Arts, and Powerama.

As a department we are ready to jump into this year with new programs and events and some of your favorites from the past. We are continuously looking for ways to improve. This year be on the lookout for more trees at our parks and centers. We hope to add more green spaces around Charleston and eliminate concrete where we can, starting at the King Community Center. A mini-orchard behind the center will be a great addition to the Natural Playground that is already there. We will also be adding dog parks to the King Community Center and the Kanawha City Community Center.

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