Amesbury Rec ready for return to summer | News

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AMESBURY — The days are getting longer, the temperatures are getting warmer and the city’s Recreation Department is preparing for its biggest summer program ever.

Recreation Assistant Director Jimmy Olsen said his department had been forced to offer a scaled-down summer program due to the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two years.

But, with 78 programs being made available for kids aged 3-16, Amesbury Recreation is ready to offer more summer programs than it ever has before.

Kids in grades 6-9 can test their physical stamina through hiking excursions to nearby mountain peaks by joining the new OFF Road Adventures program featuring Amesbury High School teacher Loretta Bailin.

“These kids will be leaving Amesbury every day to go kayaking, hiking up mountains and hills and they will be visiting lakes and streams and waterfalls,” Olsen said. “These are really cool things that people don’t normally get the opportunity to do.”

Preschoolers can enjoy the Hands-On Science Fun program, while five, one-week Tadpole summer day program sessions will be offered for kids aged 3 to 5. The Tadpole summer day program will run Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., and an extended day option has also been included that will run from 1-3 p.m.

The Youth Park Program at the Town Park will offer six, one-week sessions for kids ages 6-12, and will also include an extended day component of its own.

The Camp Kent Nature Center’s summer nature program will also be back this year with Director Christine Amor, who will be offering five, one-week sessions to roughly 30 kids in grades 1-8.

Swimming lessons will be returning to Lake Gardner after a two-year break, as will fishing and sailing and new sports like street hockey, fitness/track and field, T-ball, Lil Ninja, Nerf Battlegrounds and Ninja Warrior will also be offered this summer.

Recreation will also be collaborating with many Amesbury High School varsity coaches and will be offering football and softball programs, as well as a program basketball with state champion varsity girls basketball coach Gregg Dollas running the show.

“A lot of Coach Dollas’ players come in and help, so you can get your kids to learn basketball with a state champion,” Olsen said.

A mini soccer camp will also be offered for kids ages 3-5, featuring Amesbury High School varsity girls soccer coach Adam Thibodeau.

“This program was extremely popular last year, so we are bringing it back,” Olsen said.

The Summer Theater Arts Recreation program will also be returning this year, serving grades 5 through 9, four days a week, for two weeks.

Recreation is also offering old favorites like Film 101, Stop Motion Animation, Lego Robotics Engineering, and the Cooking with Kids Test Kitchen School, Colorful Kids 3D Creatures and Wicked Cool Wild World Safari.

All summer programs have limited enrollment and families can register online at

Olsen also made sure to mention that Amesbury Recreation is always looking for kids aged 14-16 to become counselors in training. Potential CITs can call 978-388-8137.

“They will be getting community service hours if they want to donate their time and they get to learn how to be a camp counselor. They can also move to the top of the list to get hired when they are old enough, if they get a good recommendation,” he said.

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