FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 23, 2020
City of Kingston Summer Parks Program Remains Closed
Program Network Established with Local Organizations to Support Short-term Respite Services
KINGSTON, NY – After careful consideration, Mayor Steve Noble announces that the Summer Parks Program will continue to be closed this year.
“After reviewing the New York State mandates for day camps and in consultation with my staff, as well as other cities in our region, I have made the difficult decision to keep the Summer Parks Program closed this year,” said Mayor Noble. “Our programs were designed to provide safe and fun experiences for hundreds of children. At this time, we do not feel that we can provide the type of large, high-quality recreation programs we have traditionally offered while adhering to these new restrictions. I recognize how disappointing this is, but our commitment to public safety remains the top priority. We have made incredible progress in our community to flatten the curve and truly defy the odds, but this pandemic is not over and we must not become complacent.”
While the traditional large Summer Parks Program will not be operating, the City of Kingston is collaborating with youth-serving organizations to provide summer respite services for children in need. The Summer Enrichment Program Network is a coalition of organizations, including the City of Kingston, Family of Woodstock, Inc., Center for Creative Education, Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, and Read and Write, working together to establish a network of small, short-term, free and low-cost drop-in programs to provide temporary respite for youth who are struggling with the impact of COVID-19 and in need of social interaction, educational assistance, skill building and support services. Due to the pandemic, all organizations will modify their programs to restrict group sizes to 10 children or less. Each site will only be able to host a few groups at a time to maintain social distancing and stay under the reduced capacity limits.
Though each organization will utilize its own curriculum and program model, the coalition will share a number of resources, including specialized facilitators, safety procedures, and training. The programs will benefit from the guidance of a licensed social worker, Ann Marie DiBella, who will provide free consultations for families, as needed, as well as training for all staff on social/emotional learning practices, trauma, and other topics relative to youth development during the pandemic. DiBella will be providing these services utilizing funding from a grant secured by Family of Woodstock, Inc. through the NYS Office of Children and Family Services Public Private Partnership.
“Children need socialization with peers to maintain their emotional well-being and growth,” said Ann Marie DiBella, LCSW. “By offering these modified summer programs, we are giving kids an opportunity to gain a sense of normalcy during these unusual times and supporting healthy childhood development.”
In an effort to support the operation of these critical programs, the City of Kingston will be providing additional staff and administrative support, when needed, as well as use of its three community centers. Each program is limited on the number of children who can participate on a daily basis. Kingston families interested in learning more about these programs should contact the participating organizations below.
Organization: Boys and Girls Club
Program Location: Boys and Girls Club
Specialty: Education, character and leadership skill-building, arts, and physical education.
Contact: AnnChris Warren, (845) 338-8666, [email protected]
Organization: Center for Creative Education
Program Location: Andy Murphy Neighborhood Center
Specialty: Arts, dancing, music, wellness, storytelling and FUN!
Organization: Family of Woodstock, Inc.
Program Location: Everette Hodge Community Center
Specialty: Skill-building, neighborhood attachment, healthy youth development, and support services.
Contact: Sue Weed, 845-331-9683, [email protected]
Organization: Read and Write
Program Location: Rondout Neighborhood Center
Specialty: Reading and writing, arts and crafts, recreation, bike safety, dance, and lots of FUN!
Contact: Teresa Thomas-Washington, 845-706-4032, [email protected]
Program Location and Specialties: Various
*The YMCA is not a drop-in program and will be operating its summer camps under reduced capacities.
Additional Summer Information:
- Families in need of longer term, traditional day care can contact Child Care Connections, the New York State Resource and Referral Agency for Ulster, Columbia, and Greene Counties, at 845-331-7080 to learn more about child care options and potential subsidies.
- Kingston Point Beach is now open at a reduced capacity. Hours of operation are Wednesday through Sunday – 10am-5pm. A Safety Coordinator is on-site to ensure proper social distancing measures are in place and to support the City’s safety plan. NYS Beach Guidelines can be found here.
- Playgrounds are currently open. Users of the playgrounds should keep 6’ physical distancing and use hand sanitizer and wash hands after using any plays paces. Pavilions will remain closed at this time.