The Madison County Recreation Department is offering citizens new program opportunities for both youth and adults this summer and fall.

As the recreation department begins to emerge from the limitations of the pandemic, new programs are being offered for citizens to resume their active lifestyles. The “Summer Camp in a Box” program has been a hit with parents and youth alike. Launched on June 8, the boxes are the alternative option to the recreation department’s in-person summer day camp.

“The ‘Summer Camp in a Box’ is something we created after canceling our traditional, in-person day camp due to the pandemic,” said program coordinator Justin Van Wicklen. “We hated to cancel day camp, but these boxes are a great way to get our campers outside and actively exploring the world around them. We’re continuing to take orders of the boxes until we run out, and even seeing grandparents and babysitters order boxes to use for the kids under their care.”

Boxes contain painting and coloring crafts with video instructions, a coloring book of local flora and fauna, a tie-dye teddy bear project, a build your own birdfeeder, access to educational video presentations, and what Van Wicklen describes as the ‘camp director’s playbook’— a collection of the resources he uses to plan games and activities for a normal summer of day camp.

Expanding from their normal program options, the recreation department is also offering youth two never-before-offered opportunities to explore their creative side. “Acting Basics” and “Auditioning and Scene Study 101” are for youth between the ages of eight and fourteen who are interested in performing arts. Both programs are a series of six classes that start Aug. 24. Taught by Madison County resident, Toi Mekhi Watson, the classes will build foundational skills for the budding actor or actress. Watson has over 10 years of professional acting experience and has worked with the community previously.

When it comes to recreational programming, Van Wicklen wants Madison County residents to know he has the adults of the county in mind also.

“Residents often associate the recreation department with offering organized sports for youth, but recreation is not important just for kids — it’s important for adults too,” he said.

Adults can sign up for the recreation department’s “POUND” fitness classes, which start July 2. Jessica Andrews, a Madison County native and certified “POUND Pro,” is the lead instructor for the class. The classes will combine cardio, conditioning and strength training with yoga and Pilates-inspired movements and are held from 5:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. at the Old Danielsville Gym. The classes on July 2 and 7 are both free, but registration is still required as space is limited to account for continued safety protocols relating to the pandemic. Additional classes are scheduled for the remaining Thursdays in July, with the hope of adding more dates.

Van Wicklen said the recreation department is currently working on offering an adult slow-pitch softball league and yoga classes for the fall. Details for those are still in the works, so he encourages individuals who are interested to check the recreation department’s Facebook and website for additional details for when they are released.

Please visit www.madcorec.com for more information and to register. Individuals may also call 706-795-6270 for more information about the programs mentioned.

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