With all the snow on the ground, it may hard to imagine that summer is coming.
But Nate Schwanke is getting ready.
Schwanke is recreation director for the Fremont Parks and Recreation Department.
And he’s already looking ahead to a full slate of summer activities.
From playground programs to baseball to tennis and swimming, the local parks department has a wide range of activities for children and youth during the summer.
The long-running Tiny Tots and Kids Park Play programs continue to be popular and families are urged to get youngsters registered as slots fill up quickly.
“Last year, we had some fill up by noon on the first day,” Schwanke said. “They fill up really fast.”
Signup starts at 8 a.m., starting March 19. Parents may register their children online at www.fremontne.gov or in person on the second floor of the city’s municipal building at 400 E. Military Ave.
Costs for the programs vary. A 2019 Summer Activity Guide with more details was inserted into the Fremont Tribune and Fremont Area Shopper.
Tiny Tots is a nine-week outdoor program for children ages 3-5 that takes place at various city parks. Games, songs, water fun and in-town trips are part of the program. There are two groups with 15 children each. Participants must be age 3 by June 1 and completely potty-trained.
Kids Park Play is a nine-week program for youth from kindergarten through sixth grade. Children are registered for one park of their choice and may go five times a week at designated days and times. Children must be able to use the restroom independently. Activities include swimming, bowling, arts and crafts, tours, a talent show, dodge ball, games and other activities.
“It’s a fun program for kids to go out in the summer and still have some structured play and get to see their friends,” Schwanke said. “It’s fully supervised by our trained staff. You get a T-shirt and there are some in-town trips that are made as well.”
Many children enjoy these programs.
“They’re really popular programs with the kids,” Schwanke said. “The kids love them. A lot of friends get together and they all want to be at the same park. The people who are friends know that if they want to get into the same park they have to sign up early.”
Schwanke said about 30 children take part in the Tiny Tots program each year and between 150 and 160 are in the Kids Park Play.
He notes the benefits of these programs.
“It’s a structured play where they’re still engaging and learning rather than just sitting on the couch or in unstructured play throughout the summer,” Schwanke said.
The parks and recreation department has baseball and softball programs, too.
Lil’ Sluggers is for boys and girls who will be 4 or 5 years old by June 1 and who’ve not completed kindergarten. Emphasis will be on the development of basic baseball skills. This is a co-ed league.
Youth baseball is for boys and girls who are 5 or 6 years old by June 1 and have completed kindergarten. The league stresses learning fundamentals and having fun in a non-intimidating environment.
Volunteer parents serve as coaches in both leagues. Practices take place for one hour, once a week at area parks and are scheduled by the coach at the coach’s meeting. Games take place in the evenings, Monday through Wednesdays at Christensen Field in Fremont. No games will take place during the week of July Fourth.
Participants must provide their own properly fitting glove.
The parks department co-sponsors tennis for youth through the Fremont Family YMCA and the Fremont Tennis Association. The program is open to youth ages 4-16. Participants need not be a Y member, but registration is at the YMCA. The registration deadline is June 3.
Ronin Pool and Splash Station will open on May 27. Ronin Pool hours are noon to 7 p.m. Splash Station hours are 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
If the air temperature hasn’t reached 70 degrees Fahrenheit by 3 p.m., the pools may not open. If a pool has fewer than 10 swimmers for an hour, the pools may close.
Children must be 6 years old to come to Ronin Pool without supervision.
At Splash Station, children must be 9 years old to come without supervision and those 6 years old and younger must be supervised by an adult — within an arm’s reach at all times.
Riders must be 48 inches tall to ride the yellow slide at Splash Station and 52 inches tall to ride the blue slide. Only U.S. Coast Guard-approved lifejackets are allowed in zero depth (no water wings). Coolers are not allowed inside the facility.
The parks and recreation department also offers a Learn to Swim class for children who must be at least 5 years old or who’ve graduated from Kinder Swim Level 1. Sessions are available at Splash Station and Ronin pools.
A Kinder Swim program is available for children ages 3 and 4 only at Splash Station. Graduates of Kinder Swim are eligible to take Level 1 Learn to Swim program.
Due to donations from businesses and the public, the Friends of Fremont Area Parks, Inc., is able to help families with program fees.
To be considered for financial assistance, families must complete a financial assistance request form. These forms are available at the parks and recreation office at 400 E. Military Ave., second floor.
One annual, free event is the Citywide Pet Show which takes place indoors at the Christensen Field Main Arena. This event is set for June 26. Registration starts at 12:30 and closes at 1 p.m., when judging starts.
Children may bring their dog, cat or miscellaneous pet to be judged. Ribbons are awarded in a host of categories such as longest ears, best dressed or most spots. Trophies are awarded to the grand champion in each division. All pets must be in a cage or on a leash.