Tune in for lessons on the great outdoors

Did you know that here on our beautiful little island of Kauai there are almost 500 acres of land set aside for parks? In our almost 70 parks there are a variety of recreational, sporting and leisure activities in which you can partake — county and state organized and others that you and your family and friends can organize with the assistance of the Parks and Recreation Department.

Many of the parks have such facilities as tennis courts. In fact, there are 10 public tennis facilities on Kauai each with two or more courts and most of them lighted.

Many parks have playground equipment, some have soccer fields, or football fields, or feature volleyball nets, picnic facilities, tracks, and comfort stations.

Of those on the beach, some have lifeguards and boat ramps. There are two public swimming pools on Kauai operated by the Parks and Recreation Department, one in Kapaa and the other in Waimea.

The nine neighborhood centers throughout the island provide a great number of activities for young and old in the form of dance, tai chi, yoga, fitness classes, arts and crafts and aquatics in some locations.

The senior programs feature ukulele, drummercise, guitar, hula, Zumba, Japanese dance, quilting and Bonsai among other recreational pursuits.

The Parks and Recreation Department also organizes youth programs such as golf lessons, basketball, tennis baseball and swimming, not to forget the Junior Leaders program which helps 12- to 16-year-olds develop important leadership skills and valuable organizational skills.

For the little ones, there are summer enrichment programs, summer fun programs, summer swim program, the mayor’s track meet, and spring break programs, which is especially helpful for the working parents of school-aged children on break.

Aside from the organized programs which may focus on helping distinct segments of society such as the elderly to come out and socialize, have fun, make friends and be active, the parks allow for trekking, biking, camping and strolling in a less structured way.

Because we are blessed with good weather all year round we can get out and enjoy the great outdoors in the parks most of the year and also have the ability to use the shelters and pavilions when the weather changes.

The first week in July is set aside to recognize recreational therapists who may work in parks and recreation, of in nursing homes, correctional institutions, or hospitals. These individuals plan medically approved recreation programs for their patients and clients including sports, trips, dramatics, social activities and arts and crafts.

It is a career choice that is developing to meet the increasing need of an aging population.

Typically, a recreational therapist obtains at least a bachelor’s degree in recreation including courses in evaluation, planning, ethics, intervention design and evaluation.

As well, the recreational therapist will have had courses in anatomy, physiology, psychology, characteristics of illness, and disabilities, and the use of assistive devices.

I’m pleased to inform you that beginning this month, July, I will be hosting a TV program on local channel 54 which will air at 6 a.m., noon and 6 p.m.

The topic for this month is Parks and Recreation and how you can maximize your enjoyment of the great outdoors and the facilities provided.

I hope you will tune in monthly to see what we feature and who our surprise guests might be as we work our way through the National Wellness Institute’s Health and Wellness Observances Calendar. Aloha!

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Dr. Jane Riley, EdD., is a certified personal fitness trainer, nutritional adviser and behavior change specialist. She can be reached at janerileyfitness@gmail.com, 212-8119 cell/text and www.janerileyfitness.com.

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