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City welcomes summer with camps, rec programs
summer rec pic1
Craft projects are just one activity available for children in the City of Turlock's summer camp program. - photo by Photo Contributed

With vacant classrooms and empty campuses signifying the start of summer vacation, the City of Turlock Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Department has summertime fun covered with a plethora of camps, activities and programs.

“These programs are providing kids with a safe place to go,” said Recreation Supervisor Karen Packwood. “Whether they’re participating in recreational swimming or a summer camp program, we’re providing them with a safe, positive environment.”

While a majority of the programs offered this year will not vary from what the City has offered in previous years, Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Superintendent Erik Schulze announced one change that would affect Rec-on-Wheels.

“Rec-on-Wheels is a mobile recreation program that goes out to parks and provides activities for families for free,” said Schulze. “It is a vehicle full of arts and crafts, board games, group games and equipment for physical activities.”

Schulze reported that due to additional funding Rec-on-Wheels is able to extend its availability from four to six hours a week this summer.

The mobile program is scheduled to appear between 10 a.m. to noon starting Monday through Aug. 7. Rec-on-Wheels will be at Donnelly Park on Mondays, Broadway Park on Wednesdays and Columbia Park on Fridays.

To the relief of working parents who have relied on schools and afterschool programs throughout the academic year, the City will be offering two summer camps: the Pitman Summer Camp for students enrolled in TK through sixth grade, and the Little Gigglers Summer Camp for students enrolled in TK through third grade.

“During the school year, we’re looking at 1,200 youth a day who rely on our afterschool programs,” said Schulze. “So you can imagine what happens to those parents when they don’t have access to something similar during the summer.”

Both camps will include age-appropriate enrichment activities, educational games, arts, crafts, indoor and outdoor activities and swimming when recreational pools open on June 15.

Camps run from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday at Pitman High School and Turlock High School, with the first session starting on Monday through Friday, and the second session running from June 8 to Aug. 7.

Summer camps will also prove beneficial to participating students who want to take advantage of other programs the City has to offer as well.

“For that working parent it is really hard to get their kid to those programs,” said Packwood, “so if their kid is enrolled in one of our summer camp programs, we will accommodate them if they also want to register for our other offerings.

“For example, if they want to take a swim lesson, our staff from summer camp will walk the kids to and from the pool,” continued Packwood.

Kids looking to either dip their toes into a pool for the first time or to enhance their pre-existing swimming skills can take advantage of the City’s swim lessons beginning with kids as young as six months old. Swim lessons encompass a wide range of skill levels from Minnow (Infant) to Shark (Level 5).

Lessons are broken up into four different sessions at three different pools, with the earliest session beginning on June 15. Swimmers will meet 30 minutes a day Monday through Thursday for two weeks.

With a limited number of spots still available in a number of classes, registration is taken on a first come, first serve basis.

For kids who are just looking for the closest swimming pool to cool them off in the heat of the drought, three recreational pools will also be made available to the public throughout the community.

Columbia Pool will open on June 13, followed by Pitman High School and Turlock High School pools both opening on June 15. One-day pool passes are available at $1 and $2 for youth 17 years old and under and adults older than 18 years old, respectively.

Packwood was happy to report that thanks to partnerships with Turlock Irrigation District and the Active 20-30 Club, interested swimmers can swing by the Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Office to obtain a one-day pool pass for free.

For those who might find themselves in need of financial assistance for City of Turlock Recreation Activities, there are Youth Recreation Scholarships made available through the Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Office. 

“They can come into our office and apply for funds,” said Packwood. “If they do receive funding, they are just responsible for paying a small percentage of class costs.”

To qualify for these funds, participants must be 18 years of age and under and have a valid Turlock address. If approved, applicants can receive up to $75 for the fiscal year (July 1-June 30) to offset the cost of classes.

All information—including how to register, prices, and locations—is available in the Turlock Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Activity Guide, which can be picked up in City offices or by visiting