Reading, MA — Recreation Administrator Genevieve Fiorente shared with the Recreation Committee on Thursday, June 4 that after review of the guidance and restrictions from the state regarding this summer’s camps, Reading Recreation will be joining Wakefield and Wilmington in canceling the regular camp program for the summer. Fiorente cited guidance that prohibits groups larger than ten people, contact sports, and swimming while requiring the wearing of masks as reasons that camp could not run as expected. “The program we advertised,” Fiorente stated, “we cannot produce.”
While the committee did not vote on the matter, there was general consensus amongst the members in support of the decision. “The first priority needs to be safety. With that in mind, I think we should just cancel.” Recreation Committee member Kate Kaminer confirmed. Parents who have already signed their children up for the program will receive notification of the change and will receive refunds.
Fiorente did suggest to the committee that there is still the possibility of smaller programs occurring through the summer, possibly run by herself or by Program Coordinator Shannon Fratto. These could be vendor-driven virtual programs such as coding or electronics, or possibly some two-hour clinic-based programs like soccer, kickball, or tennis, but in small groups.
The committee did vote 5-0 to use revolving account funds to provide a stipend for seasonal staff who were depending on having the jobs for the summer that have now been canceled. The funds being used for the payments would be merged into the general fund at the end of the fiscal year if not expended.
The good faith payment was described by committee member Michael DiPietro as “An investment in keeping quality staff for the coming years.” If a 60% stipend is given, the average seasonal staff person would receive a payment of $1,320. The committee left the percentage of the stipend up to the discretion of the Town Manager.
The Recreation Committee adjourned at 5:00 pm.