Recreation Department looks to expand horizons

Thu, 03/21/2019 - 6:15pm

The town’s Recreation Department may be looking to expand its programming beyond sports-related games and activities. 

Island resident Sue Brown Black attended the Recreation Board’s most recent meeting to pitch an idea about collaborating with island artists and craftsmen in order to offer some arts-based programming through the town. Black said she was “still in the brainstorming phase” of the discussion, but added that any possible arts programming could be modeled on how the department runs their summer camps.

Black also asked if it was possible for the Recreation Department to donate some seed money to get some of the arts programming off the ground, but Chair Chris Willi said that would not be possible.

“Maybe we can provide some space,” Willi said.

Board member Annie Hall cautioned that programs involving adults working with children also requires background checks on the teachers.

Recreation Department Director Dave Sniffen said “Hopefully, we can grow an arts program. The Rec Department needs to go in that direction, where we’re not solely focused on sports. I’d like to get an arts camp.”

“Art or theater,” said Willi.

The discussion evolved into a related topic about why the Block Island School does not offer more extra-curricular activities. When Hall said “kids out here need something to do,” Willi said, “Why doesn’t the school have extra-curricular activities? Chess club? Science club? Glee club?” (Hall is also a member of the School Committee. Willi is a former member.)

Hall said that these ideas have been tried, but enrollment has been a problem.

Sniffen also said while he would like to start an arts camp, he was also concerned about the possibility of low enrollment.