LINDEN, NJ — Linden’s Department of Parks and Recreation was presented with the Agency Showcase Award for Website or Web Feature/Application at the New Jersey Recreation and Park Association’s annual awards ceremony at the Summit Family Aquatic Center in Summit. Recreation Director Ralph Dunhamn, day camp/playground coordinator Angelo Monaco, playground supervisor Branly Cadet and Joshua Weiss were present on Wednesday, May 19, to accept the award.
Faced with the challenge of providing summer programming bound by COVID-19 restrictions and social-distancing protocols, the staff of Linden Recreation responded by creating a web-based virtual summer camp in 2020.
The virtual summer camp set out to provide a variety of programming opportunities for city residents. Monaco approved all aspects of the website and edited the embedded Google sheet that contained the weekly schedules and links to all of the instructional YouTube videos that were specific to each activity.
Virtual camp included live instruction from qualified staff and guest presenters, specialized content and learning resources, after camp challenges to keep campers engaged between sessions, and unplugged projects that encouraged children to keep learning away from the computer screen with a variety of dates and times to choose from so that participants could fit a variety of day camp activities into a single week. Programmatic success of the 2020 program has prompted a reboot of the virtual summer camp website for the 2021 season, which will include new program offerings.
The purpose of the New Jersey Recreation and Park Association’s Awards Program is to honor and identify dedicated leaders, employees and volunteers in the field of parks and recreation, and to recognize the state’s outstanding parks and recreation agencies for excellence in programming, publicity and facility design.