HomeMoorestown NewsThe Department of Parks and Rec Column

The Department of Parks and Rec Column

Every day we hear how teens are “disconnected” — how they aren’t involved in their communities — how they are tied to their phones and not to relationships with others.

I beg to differ. As we enter fall and school is back in session, I am pleased to report on the high level of activity of Moorestown’s teens through the Department of Parks and Recreation as well as its many community partner organizations.

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During the summer, the Department of Parks and Recreation’s CIT Jobs Training Program was at full capacity. The CIT program “employs” 13 -to 15-year-olds as summer program staff in training to maintain a healthy staff to participant ratio as well as provide a feeder program for future staffing needs. This summer Moorestown youth contributed more than 3,300 hours of unpaid time, providing a valuable service to the 11 different recreation summer programs. The choice made by these young people to “volunteer” their time to work in a variety of recreation programs as both assistants and mentors is an example of how our young people give back.

Additionally, in town there are a number of organizations that are fueled by and/or run by youth initiatives. The Perfect Game is an example of how two young men saw the opportunity to provide a service while filling a need to local youth as well as other young people in southern New Jersey. Stephen Kapostas and Kevin Eckenrode have teamed up to collect gently used sporting goods to help redistribute them both in Moorestown and throughout the region to young people who need assistance. The Perfect Game has performed “Sports Swaps” at many local events, including the most recent Recreation Open House.

The Moorestown Youth Outreach Association is another group of committed teens that have spent the last two summers creating a “safe haven” on the Third Floor of the Recreation Center. By working together they have created a mentorship program for younger children that encourages healthy and productive relationships through games and personal interaction.

MooreKids has a Teen Leadership Committee (TLC) that provides support to many Special Needs Family Support Outings in partnership with the Recreation Department. These teens partner with individuals with special needs and help to facilitate the ongoing programs at the Recreation Center. MooreKids’ Teen Leadership Committee is a group comprised of Moorestown high school students who engage in leadership development through the planning and implementation of community service activities and events to further the mission of MooreKids, which is to serve financially struggling families in Moorestown.

Eagle Scouts have provided numerous benefits through the performance of projects that include renovations of existing recreation facilities, beautification of others and providing leadership within their peer group to participate in these projects. From the Third Floor of the Church Street Recreation Center to the building and grounds of New Albany Rec Center (coming Fall 2015) these young people volunteer their time to make our community a better place.

There are so many ways that today’s youth are active and provide valuable services to our community. The Department of Parks and Recreation is pleased to boast this partnership with these active and growing citizens.


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