Youth programs highlighted in 2023 Mapleton recreation review

MAPLETON – The township-run before and after school program for youth at Drayton Heights Public School continues to grow, however potential enrolment numbers haven’t reached the point the program can be offered at Maryborough Public School (MPS) in Moorefield, Mapleton council members heard at the Jan. 30 meeting.

Recreation manager Amy Grose provided council with a review of the department’s 2023 activities and a preview of new 2024 initiatives at the meeting.

“We have our wonderful before and after school program, where we have lots of fun doing crafts, activities and we continue their learning and education,” Grose told council.

“We’ve been having some annual family gatherings with our school program families and it’s a lot of fun to bring the families in and do activities with them as well.”

Grose noted recreation staff are “excited” about growth in the program, particularly in the before-school option.

She explained the Drayton Heights program began, under an agreement with the Upper Grand District School Board, in the 2021-22 school year, with only after-school care offered.

“The following year, the before-school program was a little quieter with 15 children and one staff member,” said Grose.

“It has grown this year and we are seeing 22 to 25 kids and we have two mornings a week where there’s actually about 27 kids in the before-school program. And we are completely full in the afternoons,” she added.

Grose said “there’s a lot of excitement around next year’s registration already. 

“We’re fielding a lot of phone calls from people who are looking forward to that registration,” she added.

Councillor Amanda Reid asked if extending the program to MPS for the coming school year was being considered.

“Are we only offering Drayton Heights, or are we thinking about Moorefield again?” she inquired.

Grose pointed out enrolment at the Moorefield school has not grown enough to consider implementing the program there.

“They do not have enough enrolment within their community to warrant a program at this time …. We still do have the agreement with them that if there is growth in the near future, or enough children, parents in the area need it, we can take a second look at that anytime,” she explained. 

The before-and-after-school care program was offered briefly at MPS in the fall of 2022. However it was put on hold in November due to lack of participation and it has not resumed.

Youth programs

Grose told council recreation staff are gearing getting set to open registration and hire staff for the township’s summer youth camp program.

 “We are excited about the eight weeks we’ll be bringing forward and we will be running again from the MCC (Maryborough Community Centre). It’s just the perfect location to offer our camp programs,” she noted.

The department is continuing to offer PD day, holiday camp and March Break camps this year, she pointed out.

“And we added in Mini Movers and Makers which is a toddler program where they do some singing, dancing and crafts and then they have sort of a free open gym concept. That happens for about an hour, once a week,” she told council.

The township’s regular socials for youth in Grades 7 to 9 are also growing, Grose noted.

“Our youth socials have grown from about 30 kids when we first started … We have over doubled that. I think our last social … we had 64 kids come out. 

“So we’re looking forward to our next one that’s coming up for Valentine’s Day,” she added.

Economic development

The recreation department worked with Mapleton’s economic development department on Culture Days and Canada Day events during the past year. 

In addition, plans are in the works to continue with a picnic table art project.

The project involved inviting local artists to design and paint picnic tables with images related to Mapleton’s culture and heritage, while promoting positivity, diversity and inclusion. The tables have been showcased at locations in the community.

Public skating and pickleball activities offered by the recreation department continue to be popular, said Grose. 

“Both of those activities are still being well attended,” she noted.

New initiatives

New for 2024, the township is offering some programs for students in Grade 2 and 3. 

“It’s not something that we’ve done yet, other than our summer camp programs or before-and-after-school program,” said Grose, adding the program will start with an upcoming Valentine’s Day event.

“We’re also going to do a Grade 8 skate mix and mingle to give the opportunity for those kids who will be coming together next year at Drayton Heights to start to get to know each other and hang out and have some time together,” Grose pointed out.

“We’ve also introduced a games night, a junior youth night for kids in Grades 4 to 6. It was a well attended …. We had about 40 kids come to that and it was a great night. They had a lot of fun,” she continued.

The township’s upcoming Family Day Fun Fair at the PMD arena on Feb. 19 is another new event for 2024.

“That’s coming up at the arena and we’re really excited about the sponsorship we’ve received,” said Grose, noting the local Pharmasave branch, Moorefield Optimists and Mapleton Fire Rescue are all contributing to the fun fair.

Council received the report for information.

North Wellington Community News