Taneytown recreation director is learning as she goes along

May 12, 1994|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Sun Staff Writer

A year ago, the job of Taneytown recreation director didn't exist, and Carla McCarron was only planning activities to occupy her three young children and the patrons of a fitness club.

But this week Mrs. McCarron, the city's newest employee, finds herself defining her job responsibilities as she goes along, and learning more about bureaucracy, crafts and outdoor activities than she ever thought she'd need.

"There are just so many things I wasn't aware of. I didn't have any idea that I would have to deal with Health Department requirements and day camp regulations," said Mrs. McCarron, 28, an Emmitsburg resident who is the daughter-in-law Councilman James L. McCarron. "And finding help with all this! Thank God the schools have started requiring kids to do volunteer work before they graduate."

Mrs. McCarron was hired in mid-April after months of discussion by city officials about how much Taneytown needed a coordinator for the recreational activities in the city's four parks.

But as late as February, the recreation director's job responsibilities were in question. Councilman Thomas J. Denike urged the council in its February meeting not "to set up another person to come in here and not know what they're doing."

Councilman W. Robert Flickinger countered by saying that "a good rec director should come in and tell us what they want to do."

So far, Mrs. McCarron has done just that.

She has organized a fishing derby for the morning of June 25 at Taneytown Rod and Gun Park pond. Details are being worked out.

Mrs. McCarron will supervise two day camps for Taneytown children this summer: a tot camp for ages 3 and 4, $20 per child, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; and a camp for ages 5 to 7, $25 per child, Monday through Friday. Camp days will be from 9 a.m. until noon.

To allow more children to participate, the camps will be held twice this summer. Session one is June 27 to July 8; session two is July 18 to July 29.

Mrs. McCarron is also organizing tennis lessons to be taught by an independent instructor for children 8 to 12. The lessons, at $25 per session, will be at Taneytown Memorial Park. Students must bring a racket and tennis balls.

"I just hope to get things going and give everyone something to do," said Mrs. McCarron, a former Spa Lady manager and restaurateur. She is also the head field hockey coach at Delone Catholic High School.

There are still some things Mrs. McCarron said she needs to take care of before her recreational season in town begins. She has spent many hours in the library learning about craft activities, finger puppet displays and games for children.

Some problems -- such as bad roads in the town parks, vandalized basketball nets and glass mixed in the mulch beneath one park's playground equipment -- will keep her busy as well.

"This road is terrible," she said, shaking her head at the mounds of loose blacktop on Park Drive in Taneytown Memorial Park. She was there to inspect the fitness playground equipment in the nearby grass.

She made a few notes on her pad. "We have got to get this fixed soon," she said.

Mrs. McCarron surveyed the equipment and the area, and took more notes. She measured an empty square on a sign where the directions for using that piece of equipment used to be. It will cost the city $200 to replace each sign.

"I was hoping to have a special events night here, and I wanted to use this [equipment]," Mrs. McCarron said, leaning on the sign post near the balance beam. "But there are no signs here at all.

"The kids probably know how to use it, but how can we expect them to do it right if there are no directions? I hope we get thoses signs back up soon."

She plans to have several events on Wednesday nights beginning in June and ending in early August.

Activities will include working in the fitness area at Memorial Park, creating chalk art on the blacktop at Taneytown High School park, and having a scavenger hunt, contests and races. Next year, she hopes to have a volleyball court at the Taneytown High park.

"I'll start out slow the first year and plan more as we go along," she said. "Next year, we'll really have some started."

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