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City News

Summer 2020 Virtual Recreation Programs

Post Date:05/15/2020

Despite a significant change to summer program planning, the Richfield Recreation Department is busy finding creative solutions to keep residents active, educated and entertained this summer.

“In the field of recreation, our job is to come up with fun activities related to our focus areas. Right now, our staff’s creativity and ability to adapt is really shining,” stated Amy Markle, Recreation Services Director. “We are shifting our skills and energy into creating virtual opportunities for our residents to remain active and engaged, despite the challenges caused by COVID-19.”

Beginning on Monday, May 18, the Recreation Services Department will launch a schedule of virtual programming. From naturalist-led tours of Wood Lake Nature Center, instructor-led Tai Chi classes and virtual cooking demonstrations, the schedule has programming for residents of all ages.

All virtual programming is free, with no registration required.

The outline of the summer content will be as follows:

  • Science Mondays – Explore a science-theme, like habitats at Wood Lake Nature Center, at-home science experiments and more. Mondays will also always include a puppet show that coincides with the theme of the day. 
  • Move & Learn Tuesdays – Participate in an activity that will get you moving! Family yoga, soccer drills, or exercises led by Richfield’s very own ETS Performance.
  • Creature Feature Wednesdays – Learn fun facts about a specific animal on Wednesdays, and enjoy story time with a book that features the special animal of the week.
  • Explore Richfield / Senior Special Thursdays – Enjoy a spotlight presentation on one of Richfield’s many parks, plus find special activities aimed at senior residents.
  • Richfield Rocks! Fridays – Discover something new each Friday, from learning about the vehicles in the public works garage, to a visit from the Zoomobile, to bicycle tips and safety and even a poetry walk down 66th Street.

“We will have new content for each weekday, and we hope people can engage in those activities and videos when it works for their schedules,” explained Markle. “Hosting these programs virtually will allow people to go back and catch up on anything they missed or want to view again.”

To access the virtual programs, residents can visit the Recreation webpage at: where they will find a Google Calendar with links to the videos (uploaded to YouTube) and corresponding documents.

Each day will have a video featuring a tour, activity, tutorial or game, along with corresponding documents like worksheets, recipes, coloring sheets and more.

“We are excited to share our enthusiasm and knowledge, and hope that this new experience will prompt people to head outdoors,” remarked Paul Smithson, manager of the Wood Lake Nature Center. “They may seek out the plants and animals we discussed, or maybe sing the song the puppet sang, or discover a new plant. Our goal is to prompt people to watch the program and then head outside to see it and experience it in real life”

When asked about programming he’s most excited to share, Smithson didn’t hesitate:

“Social distancing and squirrels. Social distancing can be exciting because it is a new concept for just about everyone. And squirrels are possibly the most familiar animal that most people know little about. They are cute and cunning chewers, and there is always something new to learn about them.  

And despite the plethora of activities filling Facebook feeds and Pinterest boards, the programming offered by the Richfield Recreation department provides something better:

“Our programming should standout for people because it will be familiar for our residents,” emphasized Markle. “The videos will be shot in parks that residents recognize, with staff that students know from school field trips and programming. We hope that familiarity will be comforting this summer while we can’t be together.”

We are learning as we go,” acknowledged Markle. “If community members have a feedback or are having difficulties accessing the content, they are more than welcome to contact us.”

Questions or comments about the virtual programming can be directed to the Recreation Services Department by calling 612-861-9385. 


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