River Road Park & Recreation District: Summer Fun 2012
Cars line the streets as the laughter can be heard from the road. Blow up bounce houses and slides standout against the greenery and the trees. Smoke rises from the barbeques as the smell of hot dogs drifts through the air. Children wide eyed and grins from ear to ear as they peel cotton candy from their sticks with their blue and purple tongues or plummet lips first into a brain freeze waiting to happen, in the form of a snow cone.
An unusal scene for River Roads Emerald park, but not so unusual for this time of year.
Children Running from place to place, darting back and forth from play structure to the grass fields. The children vary in age, Right above the Barbeque station is a sign that says, Schools out for the summer carnival. Emerald Park is run by River Road Park & Recreation District. June 14, 2012 marked the end of yet another school year to the River Road community. Emerald Park with the hard work behind River Road Park & Recreation District (River Road PRD), help the community kick off summer for the families in the community with a carnival that is catered to children ages 2 to 11. It was not uncommon to see accompanied with these children parents and grandparents who were all partaking in the fun.
Recreation and Aquatics
There are two parts to the River Road PRD, and how it supports the community. The recreation side or the “dry side” and the aquatics side. Cathy Casalegno the recreation director is responsible for all activities on the “dry side”. Everything from gymnastics, to youth camps and from youth camps, to special classes such as guitar lessons or language or art classes, Cathy Casalegno is the director of it all.
When Cathy Was asked what being the recreation director entailed she said, “For me, I supervise three different programs, a gymnastics program, a children’s programs, senior programs and then I do myself, all the adult classes and instructors, and so I have children’s programs Supervisor, a seniors program supervisor and a gymnastic supervisor that all work with me. I do not do anything with aquatics. So we have a separate aquatics program that’s run by the aquatics director (Jeff Fryer). They do a variety of classes and lessons. There is a fitness center over there and all of that is run under the aquatics director. So he has a staff of people who work for him and do all that programing. I do what is called the “dry side”, so everything that’s not pool related programming then that is what I do over here and then we do special event things.”
The special events related to this summer that Cathy personally has had a hand in making sure are available to the community are: yesterdays, School’s Out for Summer Carnival, Summer Concerts at Emerald Park, A Blood Drive, and Summer Mondays. Aside from gymnastics programs, Children/youth programs and senior programs, Cathy also oversees the Fitness Classes. From aerobics to dance and from hikes to yoga Cathy has her work cut out for her. Exercise Classes alone have 12 different options all for summer many of which begin June 18, 2012 and go till August 25, 2012. Each section for the adult programs and activities have at least twelve different options. As the programing shifts from the physical to the educational the options seem to dwindle. However the decline in activities available within the educational aspect of River Road PRD the list of what is available is still impressive. From arts to computers, dance to languages, and music to general interests. River Road PRD has more than enough to offer the community. The children and families that filled the park today was affirmation to the River Road PRD’s involvement and Importance to the community.
For Cathy the River Road PRD, was where she felt most at home when exploring different director positions. She has been serving the community for the better part of ten years and does so with a flow of grace and ease, at least to any onlooker. Her responsibilities are great and some days harder then others but the River Road Community makes her job worthwhile.
The other driving force behind the longevity of the River Road PRD is the Aquatics side, or as many of the community member refer to it as “the pool”. Jeff Fryer is the Director of Aquatics and has been working at “the pool” for more than twenty years. It started as just a job which through college, he has found a way to combine his passion and knowledge to help serve and support the community. In the late 70’s Jeff Fryer worked in the poolside as he made his way through college and came back in 1991 where he has now been ever since. “I learned a long time ago, if you don’t enjoy your job, it’s too much damn work,” Jeff said as he laughed.
When Jeff Fryer asked about the community involvement and outreach jeff said, “I think as far as how do we reach out, it is kind of difficult, aquatics is kind of it’s own little entity, but what we have tried to do, is I know we have a group called the Glenn Faulkner Association and they reach out for us to lower income families. As far as how we impact the community, a lot of times this is it for a lot of folks. If you would have come in here at nine thirty or ten o’clock we would have had anywhere from thirty-five to forty-five seniors in the water. So, with them it is a very core social and exercise center for them, it just happens to be in the water.”
The aquatics is also run with the fitness center, where there are weights and treadmills. Nothing fancy, but enough that the communities needs are met. Along with the pool and fitness center are the spa and sauna. Aquatics offers a variety of activities just for the poolside, with various hours and multiple times swim sessions and lessons occur during the day and well into the evening, The River Road community is accentuated by the presence on River Road PRD. With everything from lap swims to water aerobics, from rec swim to lessons, and from water exercise classes to swim club, there is never time to be wasted, only fun to be had.
The aquatics is also teamed up with North Eugene High School and thier water sports team. North Eugene’s home pool is River Road Park. River Road Park is home to their swims team and Water Polo team. The availablity that aquatics department makes to give back to the local high school is just another example as to how this community is supported by one of the finest recreation districts.
The River Road community is blessed and fortunate to have the River Road PRD as a thriving force in their community. A long time resident Myra McCauley said, “ I love bringing my son here. It is so important to get him out. Sometimes it is real hard and to go somewhere where you feel safe letting a kid be a kid and run around without worrying about who is lurking around the next tree is comforting. I can help my one-year-old daughter experience playing and let my son experience it for himself. I love the security I feel of this park. It really says a lot about our community.” It was the many families that showed up for the carnival, that showed this shared concept of appreciation for a community that is built from unity, love and support. The River Road Park & Recreation District is more than just a parks and recs, it is the communities backbone when it comes to family activities and community fun.
River Road Park and Recreation District/Emerald Park
Office: 541-688-4052 M-F 7:30 a.m. -5p.m.
Pool: 541-461-7777 M-Su hours vary
Gymnastics:541-688-8955 M-Sa hours vary
Address: 1400 Lake Dr Eugene, Oregon 97404
Pool staff can assist with information and registration evenings and weekends.
Vickie Bird……………..Admin. Assistant
Katrina Setzer…………Senior Programs
Kathy Beck………………Senior/events programs
Sondra Buell…………….Youth programs
Kennedy Fung………….Gymnastics/Martial Arts
Bill Kuzmer……………….Competitive Aquatics
Jim Phillips……………….Maint. Supervisor
Steve Camerer………….Park Supervisor
John Potwora……………Bldg. Supervisor
DeWayne Colombe……Evening Custodian
Board of Directors
Jim Wienecke……………..Vice Chairman
See the website for board meeting dates
Special Guest Last Summer’s Concert in the Park, John Powell
Interested in Guitar lessons, John Powell has been serving the community for almost thirty years. A member of The Valley Boys, The Cheeseburgers, John provides guitar instructions and music therapy for memory care to the River Road Community. He also performs solo. Last Summer John and his band The Valley Boys gave back to the community by performing in last year’s free concert in the park, in Emerald Park.
Special Events & Highlights
Summer Concert at Emerald Park
Satin Love 7/15 Sun 4-7pm
RootDown 9/3 Mon 4-7pm
Bring your blanket or your favorite lawn chair and join us in the park for some great early evening entertainment featuring the Satin Love Orchestra (electric mix of dance music) and Rootdown (rock with reggae undertones). Come feel the beat! Gymnastics North West will provide food and refreshments for sale to benefit the gymnastics program. Summer Mondays Join us in the park with your favorite blanket or lawn chair for an evening of discovery. Evenings will feature local groups that will give us a glimpse into the cultural traditions and history. Learn about music, dance, and birds of prey all in one summer. Sound interesting? Come on over to Emerald Park at 1400 Lake Dr. every Monday all summer long.
Steel magnolias-Steel Drums 7/9
Juggling Brothers 7/16
African Drum/Dance 7/23
Mutswi Youth Marimba 7/30
Iron Mango Orchestra-Ukulele 8/6
Oregon Herpetological Society-amphibians and reptiles 8/13
Save Three Lives-Give Blood
Lane Blood Center will be hosting a blood drive Monday July 2, 2012 from 1-6pm Donate at River Road Park and enjoy a free Barbeque as thanks for your extraordinary gift of life. For more information about blood donation and to schedule your appointment, visit laneblood.org.