Baltimore County Now
Opening a World of Recreation for People with Disabilities
One of the greatest joys of my job is to watch the expression on the face of a parent or grandparent of a child or young adult with disabilities when they learn about the programs offered by the Office of Therapeutic Recreation (TR).
It’s like watching a light go off or separating the clouds to reveal a bright beam of sunshine. “I didn’t know” is often what we hear.
Specifically Designed Programs
The Department of Recreation and Parks is quite proud of the services offered through our “TR” programs. Under the superb leadership and advocacy of an exceptional staff and dedicated volunteers, TR offers a wide variety of programs designed specifically for individuals with disabilities, their family members and friends.
Imagine opening up a world of adaptive sports and fitness programming as an option in the life of an individual with disabilities. There is the Therapeutic Horseback Riding Program offered as a cooperative effort between TR and the Maryland Council for Special Equestrians. Individuals with special needs can participate in “Barn Buddies,” “Meet the Horse” field trips, and two summer camps “Ride with Pride” and “Everything Horses.”
“The Sky is the Limit” community theatre in Dundalk offers people with disabilities the chance to shine on stage and behind the scenes in various productions through the year, including a summer performing arts camp.
TR options also include arts and crafts, adaptive aquatics through the League for People with Disabilities, Inc., and adaptive water-skiing in cooperation with Baltimore Adapted Recreation and Sports at Rocky Point Park in Essex.
TR operates 10 summer day camps that run for five weeks throughout the county with swimming, nature, crafts, sports, games and field trips as only a part of the fun and well supervised programs.
Social dances, social programs, sign language classes and horticultural therapy (TALMAR – Therapeutic Alternatives of Maryland) are a part of the vast, impressive and valued services offered through TR.
Details of the TR program are readily available through the office of Therapeutic Recreation by simply calling for your copy the bi-annual newsletter “Leisure Resources” (PDF) at 410-887-5370 (410-887-5319 TTY/Deaf).
Please help us deliver the message of this service by shouting from the rooftops; TR’s a true point of pride in that Baltimore County crown; don’t let it be a secret…let this hidden jewel shine!
Baseball Field, Tot Lot Playground, Picnic Pavilion Added
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz joined community leaders to celebrate completion of the Sollers Point Multi-Purpose Center complex. A new tot lot playground, picnic pavilion and baseball field now surround the popular community center. This third phase, at a cost of $360,000, completes the complex, which serves the Turner Station-Watersedge area.
“This center truly captures the spirit of Turner Station, Watersedge and surrounding communities. Sollers Point is a place where young and old can enjoy the public library, take a class, play sports, and meet friends and neighbors for a picnic or special event. There’s even a history center that celebrates the area’s rich heritage,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.
The community center complex includes a full-service library branch, gymnasium, auditorium/banquet hall, classrooms, basketball and tennis courts and the new baseball diamond, picnic pavilion and tot lot. A 28,900 square foot, environmentally friendly multi-purpose building sits on 13 landscaped acres.
Mary Harvey Commemorated
The County Executive, community and family members also unveiled a memorial plaque and stone that commemorates the community leadership of the late Mary Harvey, who served as Director of the former Baltimore County Office of Community Conservation. Ms. Harvey worked tirelessly for decades to help bring about positive changes in communities countywide, and in particular was a driving force in the creation of the Sollers Point community center.
Michael L. Schneider, Community Outreach Liaison, Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Park
This summer, Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks is the “anti-bored” department of Baltimore County. Plenty to do, lots of smiles, a great source of vitamin D (sunshine) and huge doses of fun!
It really depends on what you want to do this summer – are you the type that loves to be on the trails? Maybe you’re the kind of person that wants to be out in the fields. Or maybe it’s camp? Are you the kind that loves to learn firsthand? Do you want to be on the water in your canoe or kayak? Do you love to gaze at the stars? Do you love music, wine tasting, trout fishing? Don’t mind getting a little dirty. Bugs don’t bug you. And, perhaps the beach, one much closer than “downyocean,” gets your motor running…
In other words, summer is a time to explore, enjoy and relish – right here at home in Baltimore County.
Where? Well, let’s start with some of our many parks…
Over at Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum this summer you can sit back and enjoy the “Jazz Concert Series” featuring three outstanding performances. Nature study more your thing? Then let our staff and volunteers share the excitement, beauty and serenity of birding, flowers, moss, trees, blue moons, snakes, hikes and astronomy. Scavenger Hunts, basket making, a Colonial Fair, science through the eyes and experiences of Benjamin Banneker himself are all a part of the fun this summer.
And then, there’s Oregon Ridge Park and Oregon Ridge Nature Center where you could do something different every day. At the Nature Center, you can a part of Jamberry Making, geocatching, picnicking under the stars, camping out, Mud Day (dirty fun!), blue moon night hiking, stream searching, butterfly talks, treasure hunts and so much more. Over at the other side of the park, there’s the ever popular Star Spangled Spectacular featuring the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and fireworks (July 3 and 4th); and the Hot August Music Festival (August 15). And there’s just so much more to do throughout your summer.
Robert E. Lee Park features a summer to remember. Serpentine Hiking (June 20); The Great American Campout (June 26); Nature Sculpture for Kids (July 25), Mud Day (can’t get away from that dirty fun!); Bark with a Park Ranger (August 15) – a “ruff” night hike with our Park Rangers; and Cricket Crawl Campfires, Fairies and Dragons and all other kinds of events and activities that are cool enough to keep you sweaty, wet, in your boots and in your canoes, on the water, on the trails and by the campfire. Too much to list in a blog, too much to miss even one moment.
At Cromwell Valley Park this summer there’s the makings of some delicious, dirty, buggy and fishy kind of fun. Guest speakers will talking about black bears, historic ships, backyard bees just to name a few discussions. Then, there’s program that are sure to pique your interest: Discovering Dragonflies, Fun with Ladybugs (who knew?!), Wild Edible Plant Pizza, Amazing Amphibians, Raspberry Round-up, Luminous Lighting Bugs. Those amazing folks over at Cromwell Valley Park don’t lack for imagination – or great topics. So much to do, you’ve got to give it a try.
Now at Marshy Point Nature Center they too, do their best to capture your attention and pull you in with some pretty amazing stuff. How about the likes of Full Strawberry Moon Canoe Trip, Edible Insects and the Pizza Pie, Aw Shucks and Sharks in the Bay? But the real draw to Marshy Point has simply got to be the beauty of the place. Trails, nature center, fishing on the dock, the neighboring ospreys, canoeing. There’s just too much to mention, but you’ll never come close to being bored!
The above list of locations and destinations are really just a start. Fishing at Loch Raven Fishing Center; Rocky Point Beach and Park where the swimming and relaxing are easy (not to mention the picnicking, playgrounds and sand volleyball!). And did you know there are actually over 200 parks of all sizes and types throughout our beautiful county? Go ahead, try this link to find a park close by your home.
There are beautiful hiking trails for the beginner through advanced hikers. Lots of folks aren’t even aware of the great Trail Finder feature on the County’s website – where you can search for a walking path or hiking trail near you.
Plus, check out this comprehensive listing of summer camps, playgrounds and programs for your campers this summer. The great thing is, there are affordable summer camp options throughout the County that offer convenient times and great supervision.
And you can’t forget your local recreation councils and offices. It is pretty certain that they have something special for your community this summer. Neighborhood events like fireworks, classes, sports and places for informal gathering and important and growing friendships.
So, there you have it, summer’s covered for you by your friends at Baltimore County Recreation and Parks. All you have to do is cover yourself with sunscreen and have a great time. Like we said, no boredom for your summer of 2015 – only great times!