GLOVERSVILLE – Gloversville’s youth Summer Recreation Program will begin offering “before and after” supervision in 2023, provided enough families sign up to pay for the service.
For the summer of 2022, the Summer Recreation Program provided supervised recreation free of charge for the youth of Gloversville, and about 72 children between the ages of five and 12 took advantage of the opportunity, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday from June 27 to Aug. 19. The Gloversville city budget for 2023 includes $32,000 to pay for the no-charge portion of the program.
City Clerk Jenni Mazur, liaison between the Common Council and the Recreation Commission, included a plan to add four additional hours of paid supervision — 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and then from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. — during her 2023 city budget proposal to the council this week.
“I did a survey out to parents after two years [of the Summer Recreation Program] to see what their needs are,” she said. “I asked parents if they considered bringing their children to the Summer Rec program, but ultimately decided not to do it, what was the deciding factor? And every single response to that was ‘I need full-time care.'”
Mazur said the New York State Department of Health requires at least one adult counselor per 12 children to provide the service, which Mazur calculates would cost the city approximately $455 per week if at least 25 children signed up for it, necessitating at least three counselors to watch them.
During the Council’s budget hearing, 4th Ward Councilwoman Ellen Anadio said Mazur’s proposal sounded like the city offering day care.
Mazur said, under DOH rules, the supervision would fall under the category of a “daycamp,” which the city is already operating, but is proposing to expand.
Second Ward Councilman Art Simonds said he likes the regular Summer Recreation Program, but the city’s projected deficit makes him wary of adding any additional spending.
“I hate to start another program, to be honest with you, at this point in time,” Simonds said. “If we were flush with cash, I would probably say go ahead and take a shot at it, but right now I feel very uncomfortable about pushing a new program that may or may not make money [and] may or not cost us money, when we don’t have any money.”
Mazur said her plan asks parents to pay $50 per week per child for access to either the morning session from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. or the afternoon from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., or $100 for both. She said if the parents of five kids sign up for the $100 per week service that will pay for the extra hours for the counselors, and if more than that sign up the service will help pay for the entire Summer Recreation Program.
“The average person who works an 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. job would probably take advantage of both,” she said.
The consensus of the Council agreed to allow the extended hours program to go forward for 2023, contingent on at least five families agreeing to pay for the service.
Mazur said signup for the extended hours will be available beginning in May on the city’s website, social media and at her office, along with the same sign-up for the regular 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. no-charge Summer Recreation Program.