Cotati is offering summer camps to children for the first time this year, thanks to the Recreation Coordinator for the City of Cotati, Ashley Wilson, who was hired at the end of 2015 to resurrect the city’s recreation programs that had been dissolved during the economic downturn since 2009. It had always been a goal of the city council to bring back the recreation department, and funds could finally be allocated for not only bringing back events such as Cotati Kid’s Day (it was managed by the Chamber of Commerce during the downturn), but to also offer new activities and events.
While Cotati offered a few specialty summer camps last summer such as Lego, theatre, and sports camps managed by outside companies, this is the first camp run by the City of Cotati Recreation Department.
“My background is in summer camps, and when I got here, I didn’t see any offered in Cotati,” says Wilson. “I thought it would be ood to have something for our local kids too.”
According to Wilson, she implemented an online survey of local residents when she restored the city’s recreation department to find out what they wanted, and camps was one of the items.
Camp Cotati is offered to children ages five to 12, and takes place in the Thomas Page Room of the Ray Miller Community Center, behind Cotati City Hall. The close proximity to several parks and fields allow for plenty of outdoor play and games. The camp weeks started in mid-June and will run through August 11.
Each week the camp is based on a different theme, including Decades, Camp Cotati’s Greatest Hits, and Camp Code 3 (Local Heroes). Games, crafts, and activities go along with each week’s theme.
The affordable price and long hours (campers can come anytime between 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.) appeal to working parents, and so far, the response has been positive.
“Many parents have told us, ‘I wish I knew about this before!’” says Wilson.
Wilson plans to continue offering camps every summer. Being the first year, she states that it will take a while for word to get around that Cotati is offering them. Also, because many parents plan their summer activities many months before, she plans to start the planning and marketing for the camp earlier next year.
“It’s great being able to have families appreciative and know their kids are safe and having a good summer,” says Wilson. “We have made it affordable for families and have scholarships for families who cannot afford it. We don’t want the fee to deter children from participating.”
While registration numbers have been slow so far, Wilson hopes that by next summer the recreation department will reach their capacity of 24 campers per week.