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story.lead_photo.caption In this News Tribune file photo, Jaden Woodard, 5, floats in the water at Ellis-Porter Riverside Pool on a warm Friday, June 5, 2020. Photo by Liv Paggiarino / News Tribune.

The Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department is looking at increased enrollment in summer activities such as camps and sports.

The department offers 12 summer camps for students of various age groups and 10 youth sports leagues.

Aaron Grefrath, assistant director, said the rosters for the sports leagues are full, and enrollment for summer camps is up from two years ago.

Last year, with concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, enrollment for sports leagues was down about 20 percent and the camps saw lower enrollment as well.

"It's back up, and we're excited about that," Grefrath said.

Summer camps

While the enrollment numbers are up, registration is still open for some of the summer camps that start in late June, July and August.

"As long as they have not reached their maximum numbers that we could take based on staffing, we certainly will take more if parents are still looking for something for their kids to do as far as day camps," he said.

Camp topics range from mountain biking and obstacle courses to visual arts, STEM and nature education.

The lineup this year also includes the addition of an aquatics camp hosted at the Ellis-Porter Riverside Pool.

Grefrath said all the camps have included a swimming part and it was the participants' favorite parts.

The department has also offered a camp at the Washington Park Ice Arena, which was fairly popular and is still an option.

"We thought maybe we would have some success with it," he said. "If we can teach them something about water safety and swim lessons, mini-lifeguard training, what goes into that, I think it's a real benefit to the kids."

Grefrath said Camp Green Berry, which is focused on nature education, is one with some of the lowest interest.

However, some of the longer running programs like Camp Wokka Wokka — focused around storybooks — would be some of the more popular ones.

"I think that the new camp with the pool is going to turn out to be a popular one," he said. "I think some of the long-standing ones, like Camp Wokka Wokka, always have good strong numbers."

Sports leagues

Most of the leagues have already started meeting for practices, Grefrath said. The rosters are full, and it would be hard to get somebody in at this point.

"There's not been any issues or any types of problems whatsoever thus far," he said.

The department offers basketball, baseball, volleyball, Little League, softball and flag football leagues.

It's nice to see things getting back to normal after shortened seasons and lower enrollment last year, he said.

"Now we just need the weather to cooperate," he said.

More information about leagues and summer camps is available at www.jcparks.com.

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