Baltimore County Now
Michael L. Schneider, Community Outreach Liaison, Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Park
When someone asks us about the “value” of volunteers over in Recreation and Parks, we have to respond in a couple of ways - about a gazillion dollars-worth and immeasurable! The truth of the matter is, we couldn’t run our department without our incredible and indispensable volunteers.
Now, don’t get us wrong. Without our incomparable professional/paid staff, there’d be no Baltimore County Recreation and Parks. While professional staff facilitates and provides guidance, it is our volunteers who do most of the programming, staff individual programs, and handle a myriad of details that allow the 46 Recreation and Nature Councils to run so successfully throughout our beautiful county. It really does take a team to make these programs and sites run – professional staff and volunteers.
Now, here’s a number that will knock your socks off… more than 23,000. That’s approximately how many volunteers we currently have running the councils, coaching athletics, assisting therapeutic programs, keeping time at a game, offering dancers and artists that ever important outlet to hone and share their skills, coordinating leagues, chairing programs, raising funds, overseeing gardens, keeping score, leading hikes and more. The list of volunteer jobs just keeps going and growing.
So, who are our volunteers? Your neighbors, your friends, that college kid down the street. Our volunteers are people like Frank “Skip” Hammond, a ten plus year volunteer who is President of the Edgemere-Sparrows Point Recreation Council. Mr. Hammond sums up the volunteer experience with his comment, “being a recreation council volunteer is well worth the time and effort because you are able to see the positive changes in the community youth from their involvement in the programs your Rec Council provides. It is not about your Rec achievements, your Rec titles or awards, it always first and foremost about providing the best and most diverse opportunities for the kids.”
What do our volunteers all have in common? They are there for the program participants and they work to make a difference. They want to help youngsters develop through recreation, have fun, and they demonstrate the importance of giving back to the community.
You can’t pay enough to get folks like our volunteers. It is out of the kindness of their hearts, their willingness to make that difference. They seek out opportunities to build a smile, teach a skill and share the joys of developing community through recreation – that’s what our volunteers are all about!
So, we ask the question again…Who are our volunteers? Could it be you? The following is a link to all the recreation offices throughout the county. You’re almost certain to find something near your home or office in our county. Just visit our Recreation and Parks Volunteer page.
Just something to think about – 23,000, plus YOU. How’s it feel to know you can make a difference?!
Michael L. Schneider, Community Outreach Liaison, Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks
At the risk of giving away my age – I’ll start this blog with another paraphrased punch line from an old TV commercial…
This HOT Baltimore summer, “How do you spell relief?”
B-A-L-T-I-M-O-R-E- C-O-U-N-T-Y –P-A-R-K-S
It’s better than some old medicine – Your relief this summer comes in the form of the many beautiful waterfront parks that can be found throughout our County!
Now, if you are anything like me, your first instinctive response to “waterfront parks” might be, Rocky Point Beach and Oregon Ridge Beach. And, YES, you would be right! More on these incredible wet and wonderful places later on in this blog…
But did you know there are lots more waterfront parks in our County than many of us can even begin to imagine – who knew??
Waterfront Parks are, indeed, plentiful and offer so much more than a gentle breeze and beautiful views. We are talking shorelines, fishing, boat ramps, boat rentals (at one particular site) and of course, a variety of other amenities you will love on a hot summer day when you “seek the relief.” Pavilions, ball fields, playgrounds, trails, multipurpose courts – it is a long list of options for you at these waterfront havens!
Imagine, sitting on the shoreline looking out on the incredible Chesapeake Bay or one of its magnificent tributaries. Now, imagine a fishing pole in hand, with a cool drink by your side (are you getting the picture?!) Or, how about for you Mr. and Ms. Boat Owner – seven, count ‘em, seven boat ramps around the county at Cox’s Point, Inverness, Merritt Point , Rocky Point, Southwest Area, Turner Station and Wilson Point Parks. Imagine easing out onto the beautiful waters under the clear blue sky seeing magnificent birds flying above you and knowing the bounty of the bay or Patapsco is below you. Life is good, isn’t it!
Now, back to that fishing…how about doing it in another “jewel” of our County. The Loch Raven Fishing Center is just “luring” you to come on out (you took the “bait” on that one, didn’t you?!). Only a 2,400 acre reservoir stands between you and a large - or small - mouth bass, yellow perch, northern pike and a variety of other catches of the day. You need to know that docking and launch permits for the 2014 season are sold out (talk about your hot ticket!), but there is still the opportunity to rent a boat or canoe and all the fishing gear you will need for a few hours on the water. Your friends at Baltimore County Recreation and Parks want you to enjoy Loch Raven Fishing Center for all it is worth, be certain to read the above link for all of the important facility rules. If you have additional questions, give the good folks at the Fishing Center a call at 410-887-7692. This could be “reel” fun!
Of course, there’s always the chance to soak in some fine learning while relaxing near the water. Destinations like Marshy Point Nature Center feature protected environmental areas whose educational displays and programs emphasize the Chesapeake Bay and its ecosystem. Imagine your kids (and you!) learning something – and having a great time all the while!
Of course, the “big two” water front areas that folks associate with Baltimore County would be those beautiful beaches of ours – Rocky Point Beach and Park and Oregon Ridge Beach. Let’s skip the three, four or more hour jaunt down Route 50 and play the part of the beachcomber practically in your own back yard! Each beach features beautiful sites to see, lots of waterfront and the security and confidence in well trained guards.
The Baltimore Sailing Center is located at Rocky Point? Lessons are offered for individuals and groups. And over at Oregon Ridge Beach, there is shallow and deep water for swimming and all kinds of amenities to make your day at the beach a bundle of fun and pretty darned convenient to boot!
Here’s a sampling of some other waterfront fun awaiting you in Baltimore County Parks…
Robert E. Lee Park – canoeing and kayaking on Lake Roland
Fort Howard Park – Fishing and pier
Battle Grove Park - Shoreline
Inverness Park – Fishing and Boat Ramp
Merritt Point Park – Fishing and Boat Ramp
Turner Station Park – Fishing and Boat Ramp
Southwest Area Park – Boat ramp and Pier (access to the Patapsco River)
And in the name of “good times,” we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Gunpowder Falls State Park which is located in Baltimore County. Their telephone number is 410-592-2897.
So there you have it – it is a certainty that it is going to be hot and sticky this summer; and your wild and wet relief really can be spelled out B-A-L-T-I-M-O-R-E- -C-O-U-N-T-Y- -P-A-R-K-S. In the words of another old-time TV commercial – Oh, what a relief it is!!
By the way – Baltimore County Recreation and Parks office is proud to be honoring its earlier “guarantee” – there has not been one snow flake in the county since we made that promise way back in April! We kept that promise, now you have to believe our promise that our parks are a great option to beat the heat – and to have a great time!
Michael L. Schneider, Community Outreach Liaison, Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks
This summertime guarantee brought to you exclusively by the Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks:
There will be no snow storms, snow flurries or snow squalls at all this summer on any Recreation and Parks sites and parks this summer. Guaranteed!
Wait, there’s more…
We will also guarantee fun and lots of great programs for families, kids and kids of all ages. We are calling this our “Hot times” summer package guarantee!
Here is a sampling of some of the hot times coming your way. Just the names of the programs should be enough to get your attention and participation…
Robert E. Lee Park –Growing up WILD, Beaver Night Hike, The Great American Campout, Natural Play, Bike Rodeo, Mud Day
Cromwell Valley Park – Animal Mothers; Art, Music, Poetry, Food, Wine and Classic Cars; Tin Can Gardening; “Reptiles by Day, Amphibians by Night;” the annual TALMAR Mother’s Day Plant Sale; Fairy Furniture; and you’re gonna love this one: “Eat Your Weedies” – sounds perfectly delicious!
Oregon Ridge Park – 4th of July BSO Star Spangled Spectacular/Fireworks
Throughout our County are “Summer Playgrounds” and camps, enthusiastically and well supervised with excitement, entertainment, socializing, and even some learning slipped in with all the fun. Here are just some of the camps:
Dragon Tao Karate Camp, Premier Basketball Camp; Boys Lax Camp; Step Up to Lax Camp; Camp Gymtastic; Al Bumbry Baseball Camp; Running Camp; Field Hockey Camp; Soccer Camp; Volleyball Camp; Camp New Horizons; Music, Nature, Drama, Art, Camp Chickadee, Around the Pond Summer Camp, Polar Pals, Grizzly Gang, Imagination Station, Muscular Mustangs, Creativity Camp, Gators Summer Camp, Blast Soccer Camp, camps for children and young adults with special needs. There’s really too much to list here, so, go to the Baltimore County Recreation and Parks homepage for a full listing of summer camps and playgrounds.
Keep in mind, that pretty much every one of our 40+ recreation centers offer programming throughout the summer with the above mentioned camps, activities and community events. Follow this link to our Recreation Councils and recreation offices to learn more about what is going on in your neighborhood.
Of course, there are over 200 small, medium, large and extra large- and all beautiful – parks, sites, waterfronts and fields. Imagine, so many great places to relax, picnic, exercise and simply to enjoy; many nearby your home.
For those that might be looking for something to do this summer, not as a participant, but more in line with earning those community service hours, or to have a summer job, there are some options for you, too. There are still some paying positions at Oregon Ridge Park (410-887-1818) and Rocky Point Park (410-887-2818) on the waterfront. There might still be some summer positions out there at our camps and recreation centers. Use this link to our Recreation Offices and ask if there is something to suit your skills and the needs of that office.
There you have it; a special summer guaranteed to be all you need it to be; well supervised, exciting, interesting and fun. And don’t forget, guaranteed to be snow free – though it may include a “sno-ball” from time to time!