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Mount Olive Recreation Department Offers Fun Activities for All

Mar 01, 2023 04:42PM ● By Mike Tanchevski

The hardest job for any recreation department is developing innovative and engaging programs that kids and adults want to participate in year-in-year-out. Learning opportunities, fitness programs, and creative activities are designed around community preferences and need to be appealing. Mount Olive Recreation Department Supervisor, Jill Daggon and her staff have put together a variety of events and activities for kids and adults that attract a broad audience and span the seasons.

Programming highlights for this season include:

Jewelry Making. There are 2 sessions, one for students and one for teens - adults. Participants will learn the art of Lost Wax casting to make their own pieces of jewelry.

Bizzy Girls (Coming this Spring and Summer) is an entrepreneurship and empowerment program for girls 8 -12 years old. Students create their own product lines and start their own little companies. Girls create items such as jewelry, stationery, soaps, fashion, and more. “In the program, the students learn business skills, branding, logo creation, signage, marketing, capital, cost, and profit. We build self-confidence and encourage a growth mindset through fun role-playing activities,” Daggon said.

Fitty Kiddies at Tinc Road School is an after-school program specializing in children's physical development. The focus is to build long-lasting habits early on, that will springboard them into an active & healthy lifestyle. “Our goal is to build self-confidence, healthy habits, develop a love for moving their bodies, inspire them to feel comfortable exercising & feel great about themselves,” Daggon said.

Fit Kidz @ Sandshore School is a morning fitness program, Monday through Friday from 8:00-8:45 am. “The benefits of starting the day with exercise include increased energy, better focus at school, boosted metabolism, better mood, and better sleep, all key aspects of success at school,” Daggon said.

Each elementary school hosts Chess programs.  “We started an Intermediate program in January which the children are enjoying,” Daggon said.

The Fashion Design class has been very popular - we have added sessions, many of which are at maximum capacity. 

Mini-Movers is a dance/movement program for children ages 2 1/2 to 6. It is an eight-week program that includes ballet, jazz, tumbling, and hip-hop.

The Spring Brochure will be available at the end of March, with Spring programming beginning the week of April 17th. Slime Week, Wet & Wild, Legos, Art, Movie Making, and Band are of few of the new summer programs according to Daggon.

Not all programming is new. Previous favorites remain on the calendar for 2023.

The outdoor season begins on April 22 with Hidden Treasures, a township-wide yard sale held at Turkey Brook Park. “Lots of great finds!”

May's event is the Fairy & Pirate Festival on the 20th. The event includes vendor booths with activities for children, entertainment, inflatable rides, pony rides, face painting, and a treasure map activity. “It's so much fun to see everyone (including adults!) dressed up in great costumes. This will be our 13th Festival. It gets better every year,” Daggon said.

June 17 is Touch-a-Truck at Turkey Brook Park. Visitors get close and personal with municipal trucks, police cars, fire & rescue vehicles, earth-moving equipment, and more!  “This free event draws kids of all ages (including parents!) for a fun-filled morning,” Daggon said.

Mount Olive Block Party on June 23 is a great start to the summer season. The event features rides, food, and music with activities for all. 

Mount Olive Week Carnival runs from July 12 to 16. The week offers music, food, rides and games, and fireworks on Friday, July 14. “It is probably everyone's favorite 5-day event,” Daggon said. “Keep watching our Facebook page for information, including when we will have All Day Ride Wristbands available for pre-sale.”

August has three great events at Turkey Brook Park.

August 4 starts with a Concert, followed by a family movie with popcorn, cotton candy, and more!

August 18 is Salsa in the Park. Grab your friends and dance the night away with a great Salsa band - Rafi Castillo Band. Empanadas, tacos, tex-mex, and wonderful desserts. 

Food Trucks and Fireworks Festival on Saturday, August 26 wraps up the month's programs. The event will host at least 20 delicious food trucks, live music, activities for the whole family and amazing fireworks.

Country In the Park and BarkFest will be held on Saturday, September 23. This will be an all-day event, expanded from the 2022 Country In the Park. “We found that many visitors brought their furry ones with them,” Daggon said This year we will include an area just for dogs (still on leash) with activities just for them. Great BBQ food trucks and two country bands will play the night away while everyone can enjoy dancing and hang out together.”

October is all about Oktoberfest. Saturday the 10th at Turkey Brook Park, will be filled with music, food, beverages, games, rides, entertainment, and more. 

November and December events are still in the planning stages.

In addition to special programs and annual events Mount Olive Recreation operates nine sports associations that provide excellent sports seasons for families. Volunteers, who are dedicated to making their sport fun, and educational and instilling a love of sport, and staying active, run the associations.

Coaches are trained by their association and must have a volunteer coaches training certificate - details are on the website in the Coaches Corner. There are other online videos/certifications that coaches need to be familiar with. “We appreciate the dedication and enthusiasm the parent volunteers bring to their sports association,” Daggon said.

· Mount Olive Baseball & Softball Association 

· Mount Olive Soccer Club 

· Mount Olive Athletic Club (Track and Cross Country)

· Mount Olive Basketball, 

· Mount Olive Jr Lacrosse Club 

· Mount Olive Volleyball

· Mount Olive Jr Wrestling 

· Mount Olive Jr Marauder Football Association

· Mount Olive Cheerleading Association 

These programs also serve as feeder programs to the Mount Olive High School sports programs. “These programs are fun and exciting for the kids and help them understand more than a sport, but also being role models, good sportsmanship, commitment, skill building and teamwork, which are life skills needed for careers, families and fun,” Daggon said.

An undertaking of this magnitude requires a team effort and Daggon offered kudos to Liz Meininger, Marketing Director; Keith Knudsen, Program Coordinator and Bianca Marinelli, Recreation Assistant. She also thanked the Mayor and Town Council for supporting and challenging the department to bring out the best in everything they do.

“Mount Olive Recreation strives to provide fun, active, community programs for all ages, and I am proud to be working with a great team in our office to make our programming and ideas (and wish lists!) come to pass,” Daggon said. 

Business and community support, which is vital to the operation of all Mount Olive Recreation events and programs, doesn’t go unnoticed. “We want to thank all of the sponsors and donors that help us provide activities and events for all to enjoy,” Daggon said. “We could not do this without their support.”