Area youths will have new options from the Gahanna Department of Parks & Recreation beginning Monday, Sept. 8.

Area youths will have new options from the Gahanna Department of Parks & Recreation beginning Monday, Sept. 8.

Although the department has experienced some budgetary cuts, it has been able to partner with local organizations to fill the program needs, according to Beth McCollam, parks public-information manager.

"We're excited to partner with two new local programs," said Zac Guthrie, recreation supervisor. "The new theater and engineering programs will provide new opportunities that are an alternative to many of the successful sport and fitness programs that we currently offer."

In the Engineering for Kids program, youths will be introduced to the principles of science, technology, engineering and math. Children will design and construct rockets, hot-air balloons, toys and robotics. they'll design video games and create objects using Lego blocks and the latest technology.

The program is designed to be hands-on and to develop problem-solving skills to foster a lifelong appreciation for science and discovery.

Programs include Junior Mechanical Toys, Aerospace and Robotics 101 and are appropriate for ages 4-11.

Junior Mechanical Toys will begin at 9:15 a.m. Monday, Sept. 8, at the Gahanna Municipal Golf Course clubhouse, 220 Olde Ridenour Road. It continues on Mondays through Oct. 13.

Aerospace will begin at 10:15 a.m. Monday, Sept. 8, at the clubhouse and continue through Oct. 13.

Mechanical Toys will start at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9, at the senior center, 480 Rocky Fork Blvd., and continue through Oct. 14.

For children ages 7-11, Aerospace will be offered beginning at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9, at the senior center and will continue through Oct. 14. Robotics 101 will be available for the same ages beginning at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9, in the senior center and will continue through Oct. 14.

The Engineering for Kids staff also will offer two winter camps, Survivor Camp and Rescue Robots, during the week of Dec. 29.

Another new program called Youth Theater allows children ages 4-7 to perform in a showcase the final week with Grown-Up and Me acting classes at the golf course clubhouse. It will begin at 5:15 p.m. Monday, Sept. 15, and continue through Nov. 3.

Because most of the students at this level can't yet read a full script, their guardian is asked to stay with them in class and practice reading scripts at home.

Two levels of beginner acting classes will be held for children ages 8-12. At the first level, young actors will learn the basics of acting: theater terminology, how to create a character and how to work on scripts with other actors. It's held on Mondays beginning at 6:15 p.m. Sept. 15 and continues through Nov. 3 at the clubhouse. At the second level, actors will work on age-appropriate scripts and monologues on Mondays beginning at 7:30 p.m. Sept 15 and continuing through Nov. 3. Beginning actors also will perform in a final showcase.

The city's parks-rec department has partnered with Jordan Louks, a theater-performer-turned-teacher who was educated at the New York Film Academy.

Louks has taught youth theater in the parks and recreation industry and has experience in acting and directing for voice, dance and improvisation.

Jump Bunch Sports also returns this month with such activities as Mom's Morning Off, a program that allows busy mothers to run errands, have coffee with friends or just go home and relax while the Jump Bunch staff members lead children ages 3-5 in a variety of themed activities that include sports, fitness and working together.

Family Fishing also will return this fall at Woodside Green Park, 213 Camrose Ct. Families can enjoy the natural beauty of the park while learning the basics of fishing -- from hooking a worm to taking a fish off a hook.

Registration is required and participants ages 16 and older must have a valid state fishing license.

Back by popular demand are the Tumblin' 4 Kids and Jump Start Sports programs.

Tumblin' 4 Kids participants learn proper stretching, tumbling and apparatus skills in a fun, encouraging environment. Jump Start offers an environment for children to learn the fundamentals of T-ball, basketball and volleyball.

Full program descriptions and associated costs are available in the Fall Gateway guide that was distributed last week through Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools and local businesses. Home distribution was eliminated to save costs, but the guide is available on the city's website:

For additional information, call 614-342-4250.