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Summer in Shirley needs counselors, opens to prekindergartners

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SHIRLEY — The Summer in Shirley program was once run by the schools, but this year the Recreation Commission has taken the reigns.

Steven Stern, the director and founder of the program, attended the commission’s May 21 meeting to discuss hiring camp junior counselors and the number of kids signed up for the program.

Commissioner Keith Begun asked how many junior counselors Stern needs.

During the day last year, in addition to himself, Stern said he had two other counselors working at any given time.

Then we’ll need at least two, said Commissioner Marty Mosbrucker.

The job posting will be open for another week, said Begun, so the commission should hold off on making a hiring decision until then.

Residents have also shown interest in a program for younger kids, said Stern, particularly for prekindergartners. He asked if the younger group should be considered, since the program would need to adapt to the change.

“If you accept prekindergarten, that’s going to change the atmosphere of the camp for that group,” said Begun. He asked why the program wasn’t open to prekindergartners last year.

Because when it was run through the school system, he said it was geared toward school-aged kids.

The purpose of the program is to benefit kids, said Begun, so if the commission can open it up to younger groups without straining the available resources, it should do so.

Mixed age groups worked very well the previous summer, said Stern, and older kids often helped out the younger ones.

“It turned out to be a good mix,” he said.

The commission decided to open up the camp to prekindergartners, specifically those who had turned 4 years old by September 2006. Brochures containing more information on the program are available at Hazen Memorial Library, the Town Offices and the schools.