Price Tells Hub Leaders Summer Day Camp Plans Underway

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By: 
Michelle Phillips
Kids who were part of the Summer Day Camp in 2019 work on crafts. Plans to resume the camp this summer are currently underway.

MIDDLETON–Rebecca Price Middleton Public Lands, Recreation and Forestry Assistant Director outlined the city’s plan to have a Summer Day Camp in 2021 after a one year hiatus due to COVID-19. At the Feb. 5 Middleton Good Neighbor Hub meeting, she said that the main goals of the program are health and wellness, conservation and equity.

The program only enjoyed one year in existence and was born out of the Summer Swimming Program when it became clear that the swim program was some kids’ only opportunity for recreation all summer. Price said most participants were people of color or indigenous.

“They didn’t want it to end,” she told community leaders, even though many did not go in the water or have swimming skills.

“It got us thinking about how important these activities are to the entire community,” she said.

Price said Percy Brown Jr. Director of Equity and Student Achievement at the Middleton Cross Plains Area School District (MCPASD) had been working with Madison’s recreation department and she suggested the school partner with Middleton.

The program also offers high school students the opportunity to work with the Summer Day Camp program, and Price said the first purpose for hiring students is employment. The hope is that by getting high school students of color working with the city, they hope some of those students will consider staying in the community to work and live as adults. 

The program will be available to first through third grade students that receive free or reduced lunches. Just 25 spots are available for the eight week program.

Last year the MCPASD provided a space for the day camp but could not make that commitment during the pandemic. They also gave bus transportation and lunch to the students. This year the day camp will need to have its own transportation, lunch and budget for crafts and field trips. They are currently accepting donations.

Price said there is normally a bit of overage from monies collected by Parks and Rec, but this year there is no overage due to program cancellations. She said the department has written a grant to cover food cost, but even if they get the grant, they will need help with serving and preparation.

“We would love to bring this back in any way, shape or form that we can,” she said.

Amber Kiggens-Liefheit Director of the School Foundation reported that the organization is continuing to partner with MOM on distribution of hygiene products. 

She also told the group that donations raised at the equity march in Middleton last year, coupled with a donation from Springs Window Fashions will fund K-12 social studies curriculum. 

John Hausbeck, Environmental Health Services Supervisor at Public Health of Madison and Dane County (PHMDC) started out by saying, “It’s coming, but it’s slow,” in reference to the COVID-19 vaccinations. He said as of Feb. 5, 50,000 vaccines had been given in the county.

“We are looking forward to other vaccines coming on board,” Hausbeck added. 

When asked about reports that symptoms after the second part of the vaccine are worse than the first, he said, “We are seeing that the second shot is more likely to have symptoms. Immune system response depends on the person–it really varies.”

He added that symptoms from the shot are minor compared to potentially getting COVID-19.

When asked his thoughts on the legislature ending the statewide mask mandate and Gov. Tony Evers issuing a new one the same day, Hausbeck said, “State politics on this are really not helping the situation. Wearing a mask will keep people safe. Just do it.”

Middleton Senior Center Director Tammy Derrickson said that vaccinations have been the number one discussion among seniors. She added that the center was able to arrange for 15 people to get COVID-19 vaccines this week though a community partner. 

“It tends to be folks who aren’t connected to a doctor,” Derrickson said about those receiving the doses.

Transportation has been inhibitive for many seniors and she said Dane County will now be offering rides to those that need to get to a vaccination appointment.

Derrickson told the group that the center is in the process of getting accreditation through the Commission on Aging. They are currently working on adding an equity statement to their documentation.

She reminded that if there is a winter weather advisory, Meals on Wheels are not delivered. In the case of the current cold snap, seniors will receive shelf stable meals in lieu of the hot meals. 

Middleton Police officer Tom Wilson reminded residents to lock their cars and not leave them running. He urged people to be aware of their surrounding and cited an incident in which a woman left her car running and got out. A group was watching her and stole her purse from her hands, then stole her car.

He said calls at the department have been pretty steady, and that mental health and domestic violence calls had been on the rise, particularly in the past two weeks.

Mayor Gurdip Brar reminded that the city is currently looking for applicants to serve on committees. The city is especially interested in increasing the diversity of the committees. The deadline to apply is March 31, and the application and information can be found on the city’s website: cityofmiddleton.us

Ellen Carlson Middleton Outreach Ministry (MOM) Director said that the food pantry volunteers have been gearing up for the cold weather and that they try not to close if possible, however MOM was closed one day due to snow.

1847 at the Stamm House is continuing to offer their “Gather Apart” meals, with part of the proceeds benefiting MOM. Carlson said the restaurant is offering a Valentine’s Day dinner with flowers from Promises.

The clothing center has a lot of items right now, and Carlson urged those making donations to call ahead to learn what MOM is accepting. 

She reminded that those in need of rent assistance should apply as the need arises and not get too far behind.

Gabrielle Hinahara Middleton Youth Center Director told the group that the racist homework asking how students would punish a slave in the Sun Prairie district had been the topic of discussion at the center. 

She said it is important reminder to young people that they have the power to stand up if they see something that is not right or have an adult advocate on their behalf.

She added that the center is gearing up for the new hybrid schedule MCPASD has adopted.

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