SARATOGA SPRINGS – Jill Ramos, program coordinator of Saratoga Springs Recreation Department (Rec Center), and John Hirliman, director, have a busy season at the Saratoga Springs Recreation Department. Right now, they are in the middle of their fall intro to ice skating program, which is designed for ages three to adult. The program is to learn the basics of ice skating. It continues in January for eight weeks. There is also a family skate session for parents and children 12 and under, open public skate sessions which is for all ages.
“Introduction to ice skating has been around in various forms for 20 years, we’ve been running these sessions since the rink opened over 20 years ago. They were a part of our old rink also, which was built in the 1970’s,” Ramos said.
The Rec also has adult hockey sessions, which are “open stick sessions” that give participants the ability to work on drills and shooting on goals. Also open figure skating sessions, which are geared toward figure skaters, giving them the ability to work on their jumps, spins, and dances. Coaches can attend both. They will also be expanding their skating schedule during the holiday season. The rink also offers skate rentals. Prices vary for everything offered at the Rec, on and off the rink.
“City residents who have a Rec card receive a discount on all of our programs,” Hirliman said.
All program and pricing information is available on their website, www.saratogarec.com, the public skating schedule is online as well.
“Saturday is opening day for our basketball program, which has also been going on for 20 plus year. We have close to 400 players and 70 volunteer coaches,” Hirliman said.
The basketball program is open to ages 3-18 and games take place during the week and on Saturdays from November through February.
“Right now, we are registering for our winter programs, which includes the introduction lessons and volleyball programs that start in January. We also have a partnership with the youth boxing program,” Hirliman explained.
“Our most popular programming is the intro to skating, basketball, soccer, and our summer camp,” Ramos added.
Their summer camp is for ages 5-15 and it is an 8-week day camp that goes on a variety of field trips, at least three per week, arts and crafts, and sport activities. Approximately 150 kids attend.
“We have volunteer applications for camp counselors on our website that can be submitted through email. Or someone can stop by the rec center and fill out an application and go from there. They are mostly all paid positions. Our biggest volunteer opportunity is through coaching basketball and soccer though,” Hirliman said.
Another popular program is their adult basketball program which has drop-in sessions weekly.
“Some nights you’ll have up to 60 people playing, it’s very popular,” Hirliman explained.
Every day after school is open gym, which is free to attend with a Rec card and you do not have to be a city resident to partake. Kids have the opportunity to throw around the ball, run the track, and enjoy the facilities. This is free until 5 p.m. every day with varying times on the weekends, depending on what other events are scheduled.
As far as donating to the Rec Center goes, “a lot of people ask how they can donate or provide us with items. We have a non-profit group called Saratoga Springs Friends of Recreation, they have a Facebook page. They’re the organization that if someone is looking to donate anything, they’re the outlet for being able to do that,” Hirliman said.
Saratoga Springs Friends of Recreation can be found at www. facebook.com/SSFriendsofRec. All program and pricing information is available on their website, www.saratogarec.com, the public skating schedule is online as well.