A Socially Distant Summer Season

So here we are in June, I know it’s hard to imagine. In the event that you have been asleep since March let me bring you up to speed. April and May quit on us you guys, pure and simple. They just quietly slipped out the back door while we were all still watching Tiger King, and who can blame them really.  I like most people stopped counting the days since the lockdown a long time ago. Maybe that’s how they slipped away so quietly and now as if awaking from a bad dream, tangled in our bed sheets, gasping for breath we shockingly find ourselves Here! In June.

No one could have predicted the toll that the health crisis would take on each of us. The disruption to our daily lives, routines, and schedules is something that has undoubtedly affected each of us in a major way. Fortunately as is often times the case in times of great uncertainty people come together (figuratively in this instance) and show an outpouring of love and support for their neighbors.

Check out a few stories highlighting this outpouring of support and love for Manchester.

kids drawing a rainbow sun and rain clouds with chalk

Chalk Your Walk

A great activity for the whole family is grabbing good old fashioned chalk to decorate the driveway. There are so many possibilities with a box of chalk.

As businesses begin to reopen, and people start heading back to work that support that all of us are looking for is going to become increasingly essential. While the summer of 2020 might be anything but certain the town is working to provide at least some semblance of normalcy for the community so that parents, children, and all of our other friends and neighbors have something to look forward to, and with any luck a summer worth remembering.

Ironically the way we are going to move forward this summer is by taking a step back. It wasn’t that long ago that unstructured summer fun reigned supreme, a bicycle would infinitely extended the boundaries of your neighborhood, and an adventure was only as far as the nearest park or hiking trail (Think Case Mountain). So in an effort to continue the promotion of social distancing and the recommended guidelines of the CDC and other health professionals, we are planning on taking back the outdoors by moving all programs outside.

“Sounds great, but what does it all mean?” Well I’m going to be upfront with you, this is still the recovery phase of a larger plan and things are going to be different this summer. The programs that traditionally occupy indoor spaces are thoughtfully being transitioned to run in our outdoor greenspaces, parks, and fields. Group led exercise will continue but with some new additions (when’s the last time that you went on a power hike?). What’s more classic than arts and crafts you ask? Answer, Rec on the Run! That big beautiful van is going to be cruising through town and you can be sure that it’s loaded down with all of the essentials that kids are going to need to be creative while maintaining distance in our parks and open spaces.

Rec on the Run_Logo
Rec on the Run Vehicle

It should also be mentioned that in addition to our beautiful parks and green spaces, the Community Gardens at Spruce Street and the adjacent Market Field will again be welcoming gardeners and guests to the grounds to reap the bounties of the soil, and some of the areas premiere farms and food vendors. While some of you may have been woefully experimenting with developing your own sourdough starters or other baking projects at home, your neighbors may have had better success harvesting fresh spring produce. No need to worry though.  You can stop peering over the fence and lusting after those tomato plants that are going to be ripening up just in time for the dog days of another New England summer. The town is offering a number of adult “Learnshops” for all experience levels from the greenest of gardeners to those who are well seasoned and loyal to the soil! Instructors will be covering everything from rain barrels and water collection, to composting, and how to maximize produce with limited access to space. And yes, even how to grow a bang up tomato.

Now maybe you don’t think of yourself as someone with a “green thumb” but that’s okay! First off if you have a green thumb you should seek immediate medical attention because you have a serious infection. But secondly and more importantly we have you covered for all of your produce needs during the Community Market Nights which will be running every Wednesday throughout the summer starting July 1st.

Spruce Street Market Nights Advert

That brings us to one of the lingering issues. A reduction in programming is more than a blow to summer fun, it poses a big childcare concern for many families in town. Most of you know by now that the town has had to make the difficult decision to forego our summer camp programs this season. The obvious issue is that dozens of working families rely on those programs for child care, and this year the burden is going to be especially heavy. But like I had said, times of uncertainty are often met with the support of neighbors and friends and this particular instance is no different.  Shared resources between the Town of Manchester and the Manchester Early Learning Center will allow for a limited number of supervised youth camp slots in an effort to provide working families with a safe and affordable childcare solution for the summer. Inquiries regarding program details and registration can be directed to the Manchester Early Learning Center.

Finally, it’s getting hard to ignore the fact that it is about to start getting hot out there, like real hot. Before we know it cool spring temps are going to be a distant memory and the cool comfort of a cold basement floor against some bare skin is going to start sounding like reasonable relief. Historically Manchester has had the benefit of being able to offer up a huge number of pools for residence to escape the heat, and our hope is that we are going to be able to continue to provide that service this summer. While health department, and social distancing guidelines may have a serious impact on what kind of splishing and splashing you can expect to be part of this year I can give you every assurance that the aquatics team is working tirelessly to make sure that pools are ready to receive patrons and provide a cool place to escape the heat in the safest environment possible as soon as they get the word.

We are in this together. Every one of us has heard it, and said it a lot this year. The struggle has been real there’s no doubt, but times of crisis have a way of bringing us together. While the summer of 2020 may not turn out the way many of us had imagined there is no reason that together we can’t make it something worth remembering.

Registration for all summer activities (with exception to MELC camp programs) will go live on Monday, June 22nd for both residents and non-residents. As a reminder registrations for all programs are now completed online, there will be no in-person registrations available. If you are unsure on the status of your registered household or have questions regarding registration please contact the the Main Office at 860-647-3084. Be sure to keep checking in as we continue to upload new content on ways that you and your families can make the most out of the warm summer months.

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