SUN AND SNOW – Snow evaporates off the roof of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church Thursday. More late season snow mixed with rain  is in the forecast for Saturday and Sunday. Sunny weather is in the forecast for the first part of next week. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

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Daily Sitka Sentinel

Parks & Rec Opens Summer Camp Signups


Sentinel Staff Writer

Sitka Parks and Recreation continues to roll out programs for the summer, with new offerings posted at least every other week.

Gymnastics offerings for all ages are filling up at a quick pace, although there are still openings for the age 3 to 5 Preschool in Motion class starting June 5.

“(Director) Trisha Bessert and I picked out new equipment for both indoor and outdoor activities,” said Andrew Roseman, recreation specialist for the new city program.

Each preschool course runs two weeks, 9 a.m. to noon, three days a week, with sessions June 5-16; and June 19-30. A different activity will be offered each hour, including about an hour of gymnastics each day.

Roseman said he and temporary coordinator Barb Morse have been receiving calls and emails from people with suggestions and offers to teach courses over the summer.

The Parks and Rec program was started through the Community Recreation Initiative. The Assembly approved funding for the program, but other funds come in through user fees and seeking other sources of funding, including donations and partnerships with other nonprofits.

Three dozen camps and classes are posted on the city Parks & Recreation website, including intro to rock climbing camp, May 30-June 3, for grades 5-8; intro to aviation camp, June 6-9, for grades 7-12; a youth running club, June 27-Aug. 12, grades 5 to 8; summer music camps and classes for all ages, including adults.

Meghan Devine, a teacher and outdoors enthusiast, is the course leader for the rock climbing course, which is half-filled and starts next Tuesday. Space is also available in the aviation camp Fly the Sky, taught by Jack Davis, who is a pilot.

“That will include field trips and working with flight simulators,” Morse said.

Roseman said Parks and Rec is looking for a few more participants in one of the music programs, a weeklong musical theater camp for grades 6-8, which starts June 5.

One of the offerings invited Sitkans to join a Juneau program tracking their walking miles, which drew close to 60 Sitkans this year before registration closed.

Roseman said so far 270 have signed up for the various classes, not including the walking program. 

“That is a really impressive number, this being our first year, and putting it all together, using the recreation site, and helping the public figure out how to navigate it,” he said.

Roseman, who has lived in Sitka for two years, was also pleased the program secured two school district AmeriCorps volunteers to help with programming over the summer.

The website includes a link for residents to apply for financial help. The scholarship program is funded by the Melsness Family Foundation, through the Community Recreation Initiative.

“Lots of people have applied – I’ve had 34 people apply for scholarships,” Roseman said. Half and full scholarships are available to individuals and families.

The city Parks and Rec program is in its first year, and started with the task of coordinating city league (adult) basketball and volleyball, both of which were popular with 114 basketball participants, and 108 for volleyball.

The summer should be a busy time for the program. 

Morse said more gymnastics classes and outdoor activities will be offered during the summer and will be announced in the next few weeks.

The city funds most of the program, and Morse is grateful for the collaboration with the Sitka Sound Science Center, which has a cooperative grant to provide funding and resources.

“This allows us to offer and pilot a lot of new programs to meet the needs,” Morse said.

Most Parks and Rec activities are at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary, including gymnastics, music and preschool in motion. Rock climbing is at the Hames Center and the aviation class is at Mt. Edgecumbe High School.

Roseman said the office is always receptive to ideas for camps, classes and activities. The office is in the old Community Schools space at Blatchley, and staff can be contacted at 907-747-4031. The link to activities is at, under Departments, and Parks & Recreation.


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April 2004

Photo caption: Grace Larson holds one of the Easter breads she baked for sale at the annual Rainy Day Bazaar Saturday at Centennial Hall. Hundreds turned out for the event, sponsored by the U.S. Coast Guard Spouses and Women’s Association.


April 1974

All youngsters from walking age on up to age 12 are invited to an Easter egg hunt Sunday. Ages 5 and under meet at the Centennial Building; ages 6-9 in front of the visitor center at Totem Park; and ages 10-12 at Totem Park. Some $150 in cash and merchandise prizes will be offered.


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