Splash into summertime at the Williams Recreation Center

New concession sales at Aquatic Center to help extend hours of operation

Raul Velasquez, age 9, enjoys a game of pool at the Williams Recreation Center. Ryan Williams/WGCN

Raul Velasquez, age 9, enjoys a game of pool at the Williams Recreation Center. Ryan Williams/WGCN

WILLIAMS, Ariz. - From swimming, skating, air hockey and billiards to field trips, movies, and even a pajama day, the City of Williams Recreation Center and Williams Aquatic Center has just about anything a young person would want to do this summer.

The Rec Center is now in its summer hours, which are 2-10 p.m., Monday-Saturday. When there is not a set event or program scheduled, the rec is open for anyone to come and go as they please and play at will.

"We'll have a lot of kids here shooting pool, playing air hockey, coloring pages, and playing other games inside and outside. And once the skate park's open they'll be inside playing in there too," said Rose Newbold, city of Williams recreation director. "It's kind of a free play time."

The swimming pool is also open now through Aug. 11, Tuesday-Saturday, and Aug. 17-Sept. 1, Friday-Saturday only. There are free community swim days spread throughout the summer, noon-4 p.m. on July 4, Aug. 11, and Sept. 1.

The Summer Splash Rec Program begins on June 4 and runs until Aug. 3, every Monday-Friday. It runs from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. and is for children ages 6-13.

"We take them on one field trip a week, we go swimming twice a week, we have a lot of special events including a Josefina Javelina production by NAU's [Northern Arizona University] drama club, and we also do Pets on Parade as well as a talent show," added Newbold, a 16-year Rec Center veteran.

The skate park will be open all season during Summer Splash beginning June 4, Monday and Wednesday-Friday, 6-9 p.m.

New this year the Aquatic Center will be offering concessions to all its patrons. Water, Gatorade, soda, ice cream, candy bars, and goggles will all be available for purchase. Newbold hopes this will increase patronage as well as income to keep the pool open as much as possible every year.

Newbold's favorite activities during the Summer Splash Program are the weekly field trips. This year they will go bowling, visit Bearizona wildlife theme park, go to the movie theater, and enjoy a trip to Freedom Station Amusement Park, just to name a few.

"I love taking a hundred kids on a field trip, that is my favorite day of the week," said Newbold. "I have the best staff here at the Recreation Center, so large numbers of children have never been challenging, it's just always been fun. Plus, the kids know the rules, and this is a place where you will get sent home for misbehaving, so the children are held to certain standards.

"We have a wonderful, free trip to Bearizona planned for the third straight year. The management up there has been very community minded and just wonderful to us.

"This is how great this program [Summer Splash] is, the people from Freedom Station actually called us and asked us to come back. They offered us a super special price, which also includes pizza for all our kids," added Newbold. "We always clean up after ourselves, we believe in 'no sign left behind,' and not many other organizations can take mass quantities of 6 to 13-year-olds and upon leaving a place it is as though we were never there."

Another day Newbold is excited about is Special PJ Day on August 2, where the Rec Center staff will be wearing their pajamas and the attendees get to watch movies, eat popcorn, and enjoy root beer floats.

The Rec Center opened in April, 1996. Rose Newbold, originally from California, has been working there since June, 1996.

Free lunch is provided between 12-1 p.m. along with a snack by the Civitan Foundation and the Summer Food Service Program. Children should wear tennis/athletic shoes. Cureton Park walking trips are predicated on weather conditions.

Swimming lessons will be offered this summer as well. Each lesson will be eight sessions and must be scheduled in advance. Register at the pool, it will be on a first come first serve basis. The first session begins on June 5 and the final session begins on July 24.

To encourage the public to swim, the Friends of the Williams Aquatic Center is offering a limited quantity of swimming lesson vouchers. Everyone is eligible, no age limit. Call (928) 235-5321 (English) or (928) 863-2467 (Spanish) for more information.

More information and schedules of all events and programs can be found in person at the Rec Center or the Aquatic Center, by contacting Rose Newbold or her staff at (928) 635-6784 or (928) 635-3005, or online at www.williamsaz.gov.

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