The staffing situation for Bedford Recreation Department summer programs has markedly improved over a year ago.
Recreation Director Josh Smith told the Recreation Commission last week that 13 candidates are confirmed as Springs Brook Park lifeguards with as many as five more possible. Last year’s total was 12.
As a result, the park will be open five additional hours each week this summer, closing at 7 p.m. instead of 5 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and opening an hour earlier at 11 a.m. on Saturdays.
“Safety is the priority. We want to get the staff solidified to make sure we can operate the park in a safe manner,” Smith said, adding that currently he doesn’t foresee opening on Sundays. Springs Brook Park is scheduled to operate from June 22 through Aug. 12.
The director shared other positive news about the Summer Adventures Day Camp based at Bedford High School.
“We asked the high school for more space and (Principal) Heather (Galante) has been fantastic,” Smith said. “We picked up three additional rooms and that allows us to accommodate 36 more kids.”
He added that the Adventures Away offering at the middle school for children entering grades 5, 6, and 7 has a “massive wait list,” dependent on adding staff. “This has the most potential for growth and innovation,” Smith told the committee.
So far there are 40 Summer Adventures counselors confirmed for 2023, Smith said; last year’s total was 35. He said he still needs to hire a swim lesson coordinator.
One reason for the bigger number is the department’s recent summer jobs fair. Smith said there were tables set up for Summer Adventures, Springs Brook Park, and Kids Club, and they were visited by about 50 young candidates. Many parents were on hand to help their children fill out the applications, the director reported.
Registration for Summer Adventures was followed a week later by sign-ups for other spring and summer programs for children and adults. Smith said there are 21 new programs, and more than 100 offerings in the youth side alone.