Gina Appice, a New York City school teacher, is working with the program for the first time, leading a group of children entering first grade. She said she likes the structure of the summer recreation program as it combines fun activities with learning. “It’s just that little bit of everything that makes it special,” she said.
Francesca Fontaine, a junior at North High, is a first-year volunteer. She is working with kindergartners and helps out the counselors as needed. Fontaine attended the program herself as a child. “When I was in it, I thought it was really cool and really fun,” she said. “It brings back a lot of memories.”
Michael Trgurovich, a fifth-grader at the James A. Dever School, is making some of his own memories. This is his first year at summer recreation, and enjoys spending time on the playground or doing arts and crafts. “It’s fun because I get to play and make new friends,” he said.
Katie Torchenaud and Jilliana Strojan, both fifth-graders at Wheeler Avenue School, credit their counselors for making the summer enjoyable.
Anthony Turco, one of two building directors, says the staff works hard and they make the program successful because so many of them attended summer recreation themselves as children. “They understand how the program works,” he said.
DeMeo noted that the pictures of all the staff members are hanging on a bulletin board in the school so the parents can get to know the people who are looking out for their children. In her 10th year leading the program, she has nothing but the highest of praise for her staff, many of whom return year after year. “It’s a true team,” DeMeo said. “They support each other. They’re all happy to come back.”
The summer recreation program runs from 9 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. each day. There are trips to the movies, bowling alley and roller skating rink, as well as a family DJ party. The program wraps up on Aug. 2.