Mayor’s Message: Recreation commission

Mayor Louis Manzo talks about the work the Recreation Commission does and the summer events they have planned.

As we enter the summer months, I want to recognize our Recreation Commission and the incredible job they do with the summer recreation programs offered to our residents.

It all starts with Sharon Chew, recreation coordinator, and her sidekick Jessica Wagner, recreation assistant. Sharon is a full-time township employee charged with all the oversight and Jessica is a part-time employee who shares in responsibility. They work with our volunteer Recreation Commission members, headed up by Robert Johnson, chair, and Bonnie Howarth, vice chair, and the other eight members and 10 or so active volunteers for everything “recreation” in town.

The summer is clearly not a time to rest for this crew. Our Recreation Commission sponsors more than a dozen camps for our kids from June 24 thru Aug. 22, running every Monday through Thursday. If you didn’t enroll this year, be sure to set a reminder to look into it next year. There is truly something for every interest including painting, STEM learning, Mad Science, Wizardry and tie dying. A partnership with The Dance Factory and OKKA Karate offers multiple dance classes and the Karate, Crafts and Culture Camp. Learn about sharks or dinosaurs, take tennis lessons or enroll in the new Theatre Camp – that three-week camp will culminate with a show date of July 11 at 6 p.m. at the Toscano Performing Arts Center (Clearview Regional High School), free and open to the public. I’ll be there, hope you will, too.

The Preschool – Kindergarten Power and Jump Start First Grade camps in late August are wonderful transitions to the school year for the youngest members of our community. These programs always get rave reviews! And the free Summer Movie Night program began on June 14 with a drive-in at William Wilt Park, which was totally cool. The turnout was great, and everyone had a blast. There are two more movie dates this summer at the Raccoon Valley Swim Club on July 19 and Aug. 16…not drive-ins.

Lastly, recreation provides you with access to ticket discounts to a dozen amusement and theme parks or destinations including Six Flags Great Adventure, Hershey’s or Dorney Park, the Philadelphia Zoo, Morey’s Piers, the Camden Aquarium and Clementon Waterpark. For more information on all the offerings go to the Recreation Commission tab on our township website at

Our community is blessed on several levels, and the people involved in our Recreation Commission play such a big role in creating our hometown’s culture and “family-vibe.” The events and programs they create and sponsor enrich our experience as Mullica Hill/Harrison Township residents. I know you share in my heartfelt thanks to each and every member.

In addition to Jessica, Robert and Bonnie mentioned earlier, I know Sharon considers the whole crew a team. Other team members are: Kathy Deacon, Alyse Dvorak, Deborah Wagner, Lori Tworzyldo, Patty Read-Rohe, Don Lynch, Paul Davis, Jamie Wagner, Jack McElwee, Peggy Read, Carl Guecia, Vicki Walters, Cathy Noakes, Annalise Rodano, Maureen Brigham, Gretchen Gravinese and the township committee members Julie DeLaurentis and John Williams. When you see one of them in a Recreation Commission T-shirt at the next event, give ‘em a hug!