Residents are being encouraged to make memories through Gahanna Parks and Recreation programs this summer, despite restrictions due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Sarah Mill, a supervisor with Gahanna Parks and Recreation, said the focus is on offering interactive programming, although there are physical limitations.

"Summer may look different this year, but our recreation team has been hard at work to ensure that fun memories will be made, and our parks will be used for the purpose intended -- to get outside and enjoy nature during the warmest months of the year," she explained.

The department announced May 29 that the Gahanna Swimming Pool, 148 Parkland Drive, and Hunters Ridge Pool, 341 Harrow Blvd., would remain closed because of the pandemic.

Stephania Bernard-Ferrell, parks and recreation director, said operational mandates for day -camp programming also significantly affected the ability to offer typical activities, field trips and group events.

She said her team has been working to provide fun learning opportunities, despite mandates from the state related to the pandemic.

"Our team shifted their focus and have been creative by providing virtual recreation activities, adapting programming to provide safe learning and exploration," Bernard-Ferrell said.

"We are always looking for ways to stay engaged with our residents and hope that through these efforts, our community members will be able to enjoy their summer just as they normally would."

She said programs would begin Monday, July 6, including "camp crates" for families and children wanting to experience new programming while staying at home.

Also planned are Summer Rec Club and Virtual Camp.

Carrin Wester, city communications manager, said the camp crates are a weekly box of activities and supplies to be delivered directly to the participant's door.

She said each week has a theme and would include outdoor education, arts and crafts, sports and games, and character development.

"There will be virtual opportunities for participants to interact with our team members, as well as one optional in-person activity each week," Wester said.

The Rec Club is a partial-day activity in which participants will meet at parks throughout Gahanna.

Each week, Wester said, participants will choose from two program options with morning and afternoon time slots. Enrollment in each session will be limited to a small number of participants, she said.

Wester said youth would enjoy nature exploration, games and arts and crafts programs.

She said Rec Club is a drop-off activity, so a caregiver isn't required to stay on-site.

"We're working to bring interactive, online courses and summer camps with STEM, arts education and sports programming to the Gahanna community," Mill said.

Registration began June 10 for the camp crates and June 15 for the part-day enrichment experiences and virtual programming options.

For additional details, including costs, go to ExploreGahannaParks.com.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla