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Tue, Nov. 19

Parks and Rec Department has fun for all ages

(Second of four parts)

Kingman Recreation Superintendent Keith Adams and his three recreation coordinators have something for everyone, usually two or three activity choices every week.

The recreational activity program of the Kingman Parks and Recreation Department covers all ages, invites all the 40,000 to 50,000 people in the area to participate and changes the choices with the seasons.

"We actually run fewer programs beginning in September because many of the school age children are involved in school activities," Adams said.

"We will still have 80 to 90 programs for all ages."

The big event in October is last weekend's Andy Devine Days Parade, the only parade event that is totally a parks and recreation department production.

"The parade is all ours," Adams said.

"We organize and coordinate it all year and will begin next year's planning almost before this year's parade is over."

His department will select a theme 6-7 months ahead, making mail contacts, writing press releases, designing awards for the parade and inviting bands.

"This is the only parade we have to plan and put on," he said.

Other special events his people work with include national softball tournaments, the Christmas appearance of Kids Santa Castle, Easter eggs in the park, the All State Picnic, the community Fourth of July in the park and the new Western Hoe Down.

The three coordinators and Adams manage a continuous schedule of classes and activities around the four seasons of the year.

Recreation coordinator Miriam Nichols works at the Kathryn Heidenreich Adult Center on Airway Avenue.

She coordinates recreation, information and social activities for the seniors in the community.

The Heidenreich site includes other senior services provided by the county and other agencies and a food and nutrition program.

It is a virtual one-stop shop for seniors.

Rec Coordinator Yvonne Cassio has taken on more of the programs and classes with instructors since Mike Bradley has done more of the athletic team scheduling.

She works with many special events and trips and other recreational programs.

Cassio staged the first Park and Rec Western Hoe Down this summer, an event she had done in her previous job in California.

Rec Coordinator Bradley made the transition from summer softball and Little League activity to the fall organizing of coed volleyball, adult volleyball and soccer.

A total of 23 teams of at least three men and three women started the fall volleyball program.

They play once or twice a week with a 12 game schedule.

An adult league for those over 16 is divided by skill level with teams knowing how they rate with other competition.

The beginners and experienced players find their skill level with many playing on the same teams for several years.

As soon as the volleyball and soccer were underway, Bradley was thinking about the punt, pass and kick competition and an instructional league for younger basketball players.

The programs are always in need of more volunteer coaches.

Sometimes the activities have more youngsters wanting to participate than there are coaches.

Adams said more than 200 volunteers work in the various programs throughout the year.

Also, 40 instructors teach summer programs and the total will reach 70 to 80 part-time instructors.

Everyone on the staff plans and coordinates some of the trips and excursions offered by the parks and recreation department.

These outings vary from a trip to Phoenix for a ball game to hiking, camping, and fishing in San Diego.

Parks and recreation shares facilities with local schools and in return lets them use such city facilities as the tennis courts and the softball fields.

Darel Fruhwirth, director of the parks and recreation department, , said the city and schools have a great partnership that gets the most use from facilities and is a good use of money and facilities.

The partnerships include other local groups.

He said the soccer, softball, Little League and basketball groups organize teams and use city fields and buildings.

The softball group had 158 teams playing last summer.

Cultural activity is included with joint programs with the Kingman Orchestra, the Jaycees' Christmas program and other service groups'events.

Schools also use the parks for picnics, swim parties and group outings.

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