Recreation Column

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The Department of Parks and Recreation is pleased to announce its line-up of special needs activities and events for this fall.

The Department’s continued focus on providing outstanding programs for all residents is truly evident in its special needs programming. As the tri-county leader in special needs programming the Department is thrilled to work with its many partners to provide exemplary programs and events.

The first of the 2016 fall events is the Family Support Outing — Everybody Wins Activity Day, scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 16 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Church Street Recreation Center. The MooreKids Teen Leadership Committee will partner with the Recreation Center to provide opportunities for all attendees with a variety of activities and games from ping pong to pool to game playing and pumpkin decorating.

Individuals with special needs and their siblings and friends are invited to spend the afternoon with a teen leader in a positive and fun atmosphere.

The next event is the Special Needs Meet and Greet scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 25 from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. This forum is an opportunity for parents and other individuals who are interested in providing a continuum of services for Individuals with Special Needs. The event will be complete with a brainstorming session for members, question and answer about existing programs and opportunities for collaboration to provide additional services.

Currently, the S.M.A.S.H. Program and the TOPSoccer Program are partnered with the Department. Moorestown Department of Parks and Recreation and TOPSoccer offer an inclusive soccer program for children ages 4 to 21 with special needs. The program offers a modified version of the game of soccer and is designed to provide a fun, relaxed and active environment. The S.M.A.S.H. Program is made possible through a generous grant from the Monica Buckley Foundation and is offered to high school students as social outreach program.

Additionally, the special needs open gym has returned to the Church Street Recreation Center on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. This wonderful, inclusive program offers children with special needs the opportunity to play with their peers and enjoy the relaxed environment of an Open Gym Program. From sports to quiet activities and art, the special needs open gym offers something for every child.

This winter will mark the 9th year of the Department’s Annual Special Needs Holiday Party where children and caregivers can enjoy holiday cheer, celebrate together to ring in the holiday season and maybe even get a surprise visit from a “special visitor.” The holiday party will be held Sunday, Dec. 11.

Additionally, the 3rd Annual Providers Fair is scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 29. This event is free and open to the public. More than 40 providers attend the fair to provide families with information about services for individuals with special needs. From legal representation to nursing care to service animals and health care providers, this fair has been recognized as the best event in the tri-county area.

Did we mention that these programs are offered to Individuals with special needs and their families at minimal or no cost? In order to fulfill the mission of providing recreation outlets for all residents, the Moorestown Department of Parks and Recreation partners with Community Partner Organizations like MooreKids, the Monica Buckley Foundation, Sean Fischel Connect and Live Civilly in order to provide outstanding, accessible programming and opportunities for all.

For more information about the Department’s programs for individuals with special needs or other programs please visit the township website at www.moorestown.nj.us or our registration link at www.moorestownrec.com.