Summer Outdoor Adventure Camp will make Community Park more accessible

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Mark Wineka
A Summer Outdoor Adventure Camp could make its debut next year at the Salisbury Community Park off Hurley School Road.
The pilot program, which would offer transportation to the park, is scheduled to cover eight weeks with a goal of registering up to 15 kids per week.
Possible activities each week will include orienteering, wild game identification, nature scavenger hunts, bird study, fishing, outdoor exercise and activities, plant science and wilderness survival.
Citizens have criticized the Salisbury City Council in the past for not making the Community Park more accessible to kids in the city, especially children in the West End neighborhood who have no way of getting to the 300-acre park which is several miles away.
When the city purchased the land and began development of the park some 10 years ago, officials promised they would provide transportation to the site for kids who could not otherwise get there.
The expansive park has an 8-acre lake for fishing, picnic areas, walking trails, cross country routes, Little League baseball and softball fields and soccer fields.
Mayor Susan Kluttz said the city’s concern about providing transportation to the park for children dealt with safety and a fear of dropping children off without any adult supervision.
“We don’t want them bused out to the park and not be supervised,” she said.
The Outdoor Adventure Camp will be a way to offer an adult supervised program at the Community Park and provide transportation to and from city recreation centers.
It also will be used to judge the interest in organized programming for the Community Park. Park staff will track attendance at the camp and have the children participants and their parents provide evaluations.
Mayor Pro Tem Paul Woodson and Councilman William “Pete” Kennedy expressed strong support for the effort, seen as another anti-gang youth initiative.
The camp will be designed for children 7 to 14 years old. A goal is to improve environmental literacy among the children participants.
Parks and Recreation Director Gail Elder White said the Outdoor Adventure Camp would fit in with the national “No Child Left Inside” initiative and the state’s “Take a Child Outside” effort.
The state’s “Take a Child Outside Week” will be Sept. 24-30 this year.
The City Council approved the Parks and Recreation Department’s $7,648 grant application to the Salisbury Community Foundation for the Outdoor Adventure Camp.
The grant would go toward two staff members, teaching supplies, T-shirts and transportation over the eight weeks.
Partners in the program will be Rowan County Cooperative Extension and the LandTrust for Central North Carolina.
The proposed dates for the camp are June 15 to Aug. 7, 2009.