First week brings big head count to Pratt Rec summer fun for kids

Jennifer Stultz
Pratt Tribune
Pratt Rec staff workers Myra Tresner and Katie Ray hold a pool noodle limbo line for children at the Zerger Park wading pool during water fun day activities.
Three Pratt boys work on burying treasure at Zerger Park during Pratt Rec summer activities.
Children line up for pool games at Zerger Park last week.

Pratt Recreation provides an important service to the Pratt community - providing supervised summer activities to nearly 100 children every weekday, plus baseball and softball competition opportunities to more than 400 participants.

"We've grown significantly over the past few years," said Pratt Rec Director Larry Eisenhauer. "We had 94 children involved at Zerger Park last week, and average more than 80 per day."

Pratt Rec adult staff members Myra Tresner, Katie Ray, Katie Prieto and Tiffany Zimmerman help keep kids from pre-kindergarten to 5th grade involved in weekday activities safe and happy as they take part in everything from beach party play to tag galore and olympic games. All activities are free except for a weekly outing to Pratt's Rolla-Rena where $5 gets hours of skating fun. There are two field trips planned this year with destinations at the Dodge City Water Park and the Great Bend Zoo and Water Park.

"There is a charge for each of the field trips and skating, but all of the other daily activities are free," Eisenhauer said. "The Rec Department budget pays for the rest."

Eisenhauer said the summer youth program expanded hours this year to include a free lunch option, for those who wanted to take advantage of that opportunity. Every weekday buses take those participating to Pratt USD 382 where they are served a free lunch, on Friday's free movies at the Barron are part of the summer programming. The Pratt Public Library also hosts activities that include a variety of craft and exploration projects.

"I'd say 85-90 percent of the kids in the summer program are also taking in the free lunches," Eisenhauer said.

Fourteen bus stops around town provide easy access the summer fun programs for Pratt kids, with most pick-ups starting at 8 a.m.

More information and daily schedules are available at www.pratttrecreation.com or by calling the Eisenhauer at the Pratt Rec Office (620) 672-3261.

Pratt Rec also sponsors youth baseball and softball summer leagues, with more than 400 area children participating.

"We have 21 boys teams and 20 girls team in action this year," said Eisenhauer. "We play most games at our four-diamond Green Sports Complex, and then have other options around the city, if needed."

Pratt serves as a center-point for much of south central Kansas when it comes to youth sports, with team coming in from area towns to play in the summer leagues, adding to the Pratt teams.

"We have a 30-mile radius of participants," said Eisenhauer. "Teams from Kingman, St. John, Macksville, Cunningham, Kiowa County, Medicine Lodge are in, last year we had Bucklin and several others as well."

Additional summer activities for children sponsored by Pratt Rec include kickball, tennis, dance, arts and crafts, swim lessons, sand volleyball. There are adult softball, baseball and cornhole leagues as well.