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Kids going places thanks to Lathrop recreation effort
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LATHROP – Kids in Lathrop are going places. Literally.

Instead of wasting their summer away indoors, more than three dozen Lathrop youths are taking advantage of a Parks and Recreation program that features weekly fieldtrips to places throughout the area.

They’ve been to the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield. They’ve been to the waterslides in Pleasanton twice. This Thursday they’re heading to the Lawrence Hall of Science atop the University of California campus in Berkeley. Next week they’re going to AT&T Park in San Francisco.

And all it costs for the bus trips all summer long is $20.

“We can tell that the kids really love the program because they’re filling the buses,” said Lathrop Recreation Supervisor Maureen Iorio. “With the economy, maybe parents can’t afford those big vacations this summer. This allows kids to go to different spots and have fun and it’s still economical.”

But while the affordable  field trip program is one of the most popular summer programs running this year, it’s not the only children’s program that has been drawing plenty of kids from the community and getting rave results.

The weekly Kids Camp held at the Community Center – which costs family $60-a-week – runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It affords those in attendance the opportunity to take local trips throughout Lathrop to learn a variety things about the locations visited.

Last week the theme was “Our Town and Our Community” and the kids got the chance to visit the post office as well as the police and fire stations. A letter that they wrote to their parents was mailed out when they visit the post office.

Then there’s the recently renovated Valverde Park with its mixture of recreational courts and fields and a water feature that routinely draws kids from both the day camp program and the surrounding neighborhood on hot summer days.

“I think that parents are realizing the value in these programs and they’re really taking advantage of them” Iorio said. “With the renovated park and the water feature, we have something right there at the community center for the kids to enjoy. The themed weeks keep them busy, and they enjoy those as well.”

Throughout the year, however, the expansive list of programs appeals to not only kids but adults and seniors as well.

Just last week an adult softball league started up, as well as a wide mixture of senior classes that focus on crafts, ceramics and beading. Instruction for seniors in Tai Chi is also available, as are dozens of other programs for both seniors and adults.

Lathrop Parks and Recreation Director Becky Enneking – who also serves as the Interim Human Resources Director and the Neighborhood and Community Services Director – made a presentation to the City Council last week outlining the variety of programs offered.

The City of Lathrop is currently searching for a full-time Parks and Recreation Director that will oversee all of the programs and continue the tradition of offering low-cost recreation options to the community and its residents.