2013-08-02 / News

Outdoor Summer Fun Is on the Menu for Island Recreation Department

By Noriah Williams


Mary Patay, recreation department director, releases Mackinac Island resident Owen Morse as he slides down the newly donated zip line at the Recreation Celebration event Sunday, July 28. Mary Patay, recreation department director, releases Mackinac Island resident Owen Morse as he slides down the newly donated zip line at the Recreation Celebration event Sunday, July 28. Providing a wide range of sports, from a softball league to archery, the Mackinac Island Recreation Department increases outdoor activity opportunities for residents and visitors.

“I think the Recreation Department just enhances what we already have here to offer,” said Recreation Director Mary Patay. “Most cities have recreation departments and programs. Especially with kids, they have opportunities to learn things. I’m all about getting outside, being outside, and playing. It’s good for your well-being and your health. I try to push that.”

Activities are provided Monday through Thursday for all ages. Most are held at Great Turtle Park, behind Fort Mackinac.

Organized games like softball, kickball, and soccer are commonplace. More unexpected activities like croquet and a zip line, recently donated, show the diversity of the recreation department.

Ben Nye, owner of Great Turtle Toys, can be seen flying kites at Windermere Point on any given windy day. His donation of the zip line to the recreation department illustrates his belief in getting out and having fun.

“A lot of people are on their computers and cell phones all the time,” said Mr. Nye, “and the uniqueness of Mackinac Island is that there are no cars We want them to do something different.”

Programs are open to residents and guests.

“We probably come once a week. In the winter, it’s a really tight community, and this is what draws the tight community out. We all work a lot. It’s hard to do things. This is a beautiful place, families are safe, and it’s just downright cool,” said resident Jim Morse, who participates in recreation department games with his three sons, Dominic, Owen, and Wyatt.

At the Recreation Celebration Sunday, July 28, at Great Turtle Park, families enjoyed kickball, croquet, face painting, snacks, and the debut of the zip-line.

As the summer season winds down, activities will be more tailored for the school year, with the organization of early fall sports camps for Mackinac Island Public School students. A four-day basketball camp, August 5 through August 8 ,and volleyball camp, August 12 and 13, will prepare student-athletes for their upcoming seasons.

“Sometimes, if you don’t create your own entertainment, then there’s not much entertainment,” said Barb Fisher, Mackinac Island Public School secretary, “so I’ve always been really big into recreation and a big supporter of the park. I was here at the beginning of the park and have seen it grow, so it’s fun to have people come out here and see it and experience it.”

Upcoming recreation events are announced in the Community Calendar in the Town Crier.

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