Summer fun for everyone
by : Jim Hague
Jun 02, 2006 | 472 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
For nine months of the year, Chuck Barone doesn't have much of a problem juggling his full-time job as a firefighter in the North Hudson Regional Fire & Rescue and his part-time gig as the director of the Weehawken Recreation department.

However, it's those three months in the summer that can cause Barone's already white hair to turn even whiter.

The schedule gets crazy in the summer months, but in Barone's eyes, it's a fun kind of crazy. In summer, the Recreation Department offers events for kids ages 4 to 84.

"We definitely try to offer a little bit of everything for everyone," said Barone, whose summer recreation program kicked off Tuesday with a host of activities, including events at the township's four park sites. "We try as best as we can to keep everyone happy."

Each of Weehawken's parks is now offering arts and crafts and other fun activities each day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is plenty of adult supervision at each site, and free lunches are also provided daily.

"There is also the shower at each park for the kids to play in and keep cool," Barone said. "The games and arts and crafts stop at 3 p.m., but we can keep the showers open an extra hour or two, depending on the hot weather."

Pizza, not hot dogs

While the old standards will be back, like the popular eating contests, such as the watermelon eating (Wednesday, July 27 at Weehawken Stadium at 6:30 p.m. for kids ages 3 through 12) and pie-eating (Wednesday, Aug. 3, same site, time and ages), Barone made a change for this year's third eating extravaganza involving the older kids.

Instead of having a Hot Dog Eating Frenzy, which it was called in each of the last two years, there will be a Mamma Mia Pizza-Eating Contest (Wednesday, Aug. 10, at 7 p.m. for kids 10-15). Parents, make sure to bring the Pepto.

"It's just a little something different," Barone said. "We wanted to try something different and go away from the hot dogs this year. We thought pizza would be a lot of fun. We didn't want to have all the same stuff as we had. We thought this might be fun, giving the kids three minutes to eat as much pizza as they can."

Sounds lovely.

Pizza Villa on Park Avenue will offer discounted pizza that night for the participants to munch on.

Sports clinics for both genders, pilates, and more

Barone's staff has introduced some programs that are bound to attract more youngsters, especially young females.

"We're trying a few things to attract female sports enthusiasts, hopefully to have their interests continue when they go on to high school," Barone said. "We're trying to help get a draw on the high school level."

So this year, the Weehawken Recreation program is offering two-week soccer, volleyball and basketball mini-camps (which are being called clinics) that will give young ladies the chance to learn the basic fundamentals in all three sports.

The soccer clinics, under the instruction of high school coaches Cecily Hug and Justin Trungalo, will run from Tuesday through July 16 for girls ages 6 through 9 at Arricale Field between 1 and 3 p.m. The older girls (ages 10 through 15) will get their kicks July 19 through July 30 at Weehawken Stadium from 1 to 3 p.m.

"There's a trend with more and more people playing soccer," Barone said.

The basketball clinics for girls will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the summer. Girls ages 5 to 7 will go from 9 to 10:30 a.m., with girls ages 8 to 12 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and girls ages 13 to 15 will go from 1 to 2:30 p.m., all in the high school gymnasium. There will also be a 2-on-2 basketball tournament for the girls ages 11 through 15.

Volleyball clinics for girls will take place on Mondays and Wednesdays, from July 19 through Aug. 11. Again, with age restraints in mind, the girls ages 8 to 12 will go from 9 to 10:30 a.m. and the girls ages 13 to 15 will go from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., also at the high school gym.

"We'll see if these programs bring more interest to the high school levels," Barone said.

One of the more popular events introduced in recent years was the free golf clinics. Taught by Weehawken High School golf coaches Carnig Nersessian and Bob Zucconi, Weehawken youngsters have been introduced to the sport of golf for the first time. This year, the golf program will be expanded to include trips for the more experienced golfers to play regular rounds of golf.

The lessons for beginners will continue at the Edgewater Driving Range on Tuesdays, beginning July 19 and going through Aug. 9.

The two-hour sessions (9 a.m. to 11 a.m.) are designed to help youngsters learn more about golf. Golf for those 11 through 16 begins July 21 and runs through Aug. 11.

There are also the typical recreation events, like basketball leagues for boys, girls and men. There will also be basketball clinics and contests throughout the summer.

One of the new programs offered is Pilates lessons, held at the high school gym on Thursday nights from 7:30-8:30 p.m., under the guidance of a licensed instructor.

"We are expecting a good turnout," Barone said. "We had a good class in the fall and the class continues to grow. There is a lot of interest in the Pilates classes."

For adults, the town offers yoga classes, as well as open gym and open weight room sessions at the high school.

Pools

The township once again has worked out a deal with both Secaucus and Palisades Park for residents to be able to use the municipal pools in both towns at reduced rates.

Residents of Weehawken can now use either the Secaucus pool or the Palisades Park pool for the summer at rates lower than what those pools normally charge for non-residents.

Youngsters can also go to the West New York municipal pool, free of charge, as part of the Weehawken Recreation program. The youngsters are transported to the pool several times during the week from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Photo and puzzle contests

There will also be contests for those who are not athletically inclined, like the model (Aug. 1), the jigsaw puzzle (July 26) and the amateur photo contest (Aug. 9), all of which are held at the Weehawken Free Public Library.

While in the past, contestants had to construct the model provided by the recreation department, Barone made a change in policy this year.

"They can bring in their own model, because some wanted to do something on a larger scale," Barone said. "So they can now bring in something bigger or out of the ordinary and have that model judged."

The photo contest is also a little different this year. The subject of the photos has to be one of three themes: Weehawken on the Move, Weehawken History, and Something Unusual in Weehawken.

"Also, the contestants have to write a brief story about their picture to go along with their picture," Barone said.

Trips

The recreation department has also scheduled a series of day trips, to the New York Aquarium (Aug. 2), to the Bronx Zoo (July 20 and Aug. 24), Swartswood State Park (July 22), Island Beach (July 25) and High Point State Park (Aug. 11). All of those aforementioned trips are free of charge.

There are also trips to certain fun spots that require a co-payment, like the Edgewater Theaters to see Madagascar or Herbie Fully Loaded (July 12), Tomahawk Lake (July 28), Point Pleasant Beach and Boardwalk (Aug. 10), Wild West City (Aug. 17), a Newark Bears game (July 24) and a New Jersey Jackals game (Aug. 7). All of those trips require a $5 payment.

Through the New Jersey State Recreation and Parks Association, the township offers discounted tickets for Great Adventure, Dorney Park, Camel Beach (Pa.), Morey's Pier in Wildwood, Sesame Place and Water World Mountain Creek. Those discounted tickets are available at the recreation office.

Party at the end

The summer fun will come to an unofficial close on Wednesday, Aug. 24, when the fifth annual End of Summer Bash takes place, from 6 to 9 p.m., complete with tons of games, like a water balloon toss and a super soaker shooting contest, as well as free food and refreshments. Nearly 800 youngsters attended the event last year.

"We offer a full slate of activities throughout the summer and it culminates with that Summer Bash," Barone said. "It's a good way for the summer to draw to a close."

And most of the activities and events, other than the field trips, are free of charge.

"We try to cover everyone and offer something for everyone," Barone said.

"We offer a broad range of activities, from children through adults," Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner said. "I think we offer the largest variety of events and activities than any other town that I'm familiar with. We have a well rounded department and everything is well organized. Not only are our programs fun, but they're also safe."

Safety and fun: What everyone wants for the summer months ahead.

The full summer recreation schedule of events have been distributed throughout Weehawken in a promotional flier, but can also be found on the Weehawken website, which is www.weehawken-nj.us. For further information about Weehawken Recreation programs, contact the Rec office at (201) 319-6061.
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