"We have seven kids between the ages of 16 and 20 who do employment skills stuff on Monday and Friday, and Tuesday through Thursday they work in the parks."
Youth Development and Services Manger Jordan Nigro gave an update on Capital Chat Monday.
"We have a great program this summer we're doing this summer which is a partnership with SAIL and the Alaska Division of Vocational Rehabilitation at the Department of Labor and Workforce Development," began Nigro. "We have seven kids between the ages of 16 and 20 who do employment skills stuff on Monday and Friday, and Tuesday through Thursday they work in the parks. They've been cleaning up a lot of parks around town. Last week, I went and picked them up at the Perseverance Trailhead, and they had just pulled out an old motorcycle that Dale - the park ranger - said had been bugging him for ten years. They also cleared all the brush in front of the trail, and it just looks so much nicer. If you see this crew out and about in their blue long-sleeved shirts that say "Youth Employment in Parks" on them, they love to be told thank you. They keep track and it really means a lot to them. I also feel like it's a great way to help connect them to the community."
There's also an opening for a youth outreach coordinator with the department.
School starts August 17th. this year, so Parks and Rec are preparing for their after school program.
"We are gearing up on our after school program, B.A.M. It really works totally on volunteers and partner organizations. Last school year, we did increase all of our services for B.A.M. quite a bit, so we offered about 85% more activities at Floyd Dryden Middle School and about 45% more activities at DZ Middle School. That was pretty great, and we hope to just keep increasing it every year."
The Parks and Rec Department is also conducting public surveys to come up with a master plan over the next 18 months.
Director Kirk Duncan explained.
"The theme here is what the community wants Parks and Rec to look like in ten years. We're going to go out after Labor Day and start with a statistically valid telephone survey, and then we're going to have an online survey. We'll have a whole series of public meetings throughout the community. In the month of October, we'll gel down the information over the next six months to come up with a preliminary plan. Labor Day of 2017, we'll develop what we consider to be the final plan, take it out to the public, make whatever tweaks we need to make, and present that to the Assembly and Planning Commission. Parks and Rec is incredible important for quality of life in the community, and we want to know exactly what services and activities the community would like to see us either start, continue, drop, or whatever. The master planning process is going to be a major focus of the department for two years."
Duncan also mentioned that Juneau has a new pool board with a new pricing structure that's brought attendance up over 35%, and Treadwell Ice Arena opens August 8th.
For more information call 586-5226 or visit the Parks and Recreations Department website.