PJ Swales, the City of Red Deer’s sports and recreation co-ordinator, is taking the Meet Me at the Park program to various neighbourhoods for the second summer. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

PJ Swales, the City of Red Deer’s sports and recreation co-ordinator, is taking the Meet Me at the Park program to various neighbourhoods for the second summer. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Meet Me At the Park program attracts Red Deer families with free activities

It’s running in Clearview Meadows this week and West Park next week

Helping families reconnect through some outdoor fun after two long, dull pandemic years is the goal of the City of Red Deer’s Meet Me at the Park program.

For the second summer, sports and recreation co-ordinator PJ Swales has been tasked with taking craft supplies and games to seven Red Deer neighbourhoods in two months.

Judging by the enthusiasm from kids and parents for the free, drop-in program, Swales feels it’s been well worth it, encouraging families to come together — and learning more about community services in the process.

City of Red Deer Environment Services, Family Services of Central Alberta, the Red Deer Public Library and Primary Care Network, and Youth Headquarters are just some of the many groups contributing to the fun that started in early July in the Bower Neighbourhood and will wrap up next week at the West Park community centre.

At this week’s session in Clearview Meadows, parent and day home provider Tayra Halldorson said her kids have enjoyed doing chalk art and crafts so much that she’s planning to bring them back to the Clearview community centre on Wednesday when the Red Deer Public Library presentation is slated to run.

Last year, the children loved going through an activity course, presented by the library, that had activities corresponding to each page of a book, recalled Halldorson.

Two brothers, age 10 and 11, confirmed that they are really enjoying the City of Red Deer’s Meet Me at the Park program. “I’ve made my first new friend here that I’ve had in years,” said the 10-year-old who admitted he didn’t get to socialize much because of the pandemic.

“It’s something unique that doesn’t happen every day,” added his brother, who liked playing tennis and doing crafts.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

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