COMMUNITY CENTRED: Summer is the perfect time to get out and play

Penticton recreation co-ordinator writes about importance of getting outside to play.

The results of so many recent studies don’t lie – playing makes kids smarter, more creative and confident.

Our Recreation profession has always known this, but now psychologists and the like are actually documenting the value of play.  Yes, play allows youth of all ages to try new things, test boundaries, use their imagination and reduce and learn to handle stress by having fun. Then, add an outdoor component and your kids are on a path to informal learning that can benefit them for their whole life.

Outside play promotes leadership while encouraging co-operative play and even promotes problem solving and conflict resolution.

The baby boomers out there will hopefully back me on this, but when we grew up, our outdoors were our creative palette and even became a magical setting as soon as we were free to climb a tree, dig a hole or build that fort.  And don’t forget the smells and twitter of birds.

I am so encouraged to hear that the South Okanagan Children’s Charity is “spear heading” the creation of the Discovery Park at Skaha this fall. Way to go team!

The Community Centre can help stimulate that inner adventurer in children or even seniors.  We have kayaking, climbing and rappelling, eco hikes and kid’s outdoor adventure programs.  All play doesn’t have to be outside either. Our playful summer camps can offer so much too, with JCI Summer Daycamps, drama camps, craft camps, tennis camps and even an animation computer camp (Byte Camp) or try the Summer Breakout half-day camp for preschoolers. Register now to secure your child’s spot before it is too late. Call us at 250-490-2426, go to www.penticton.ca/recreation or visit us at 325 Power St. for more information. Parent Alert: Don’t miss out as every spring camp sold out in well in advance and JCI Summer Day Camps-entirely sold out in 2012 from July 16 – Aug. 31. Big thanks to Canada Summer Jobs/Service Canada for supporting children’s programs in Penticton.

“We create summer memories that last a lifetime”

Bob Pope is the recreation co-ordinator for the City of Penticton.