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CER swings into summer programming

ABOVE: Beckett Koenecke, 5, aims and hits a ball Thursday night during a Community Education and Recreation (CER) T-ball game. T-ball is one of many different CER offerings this summer.

FAIRMONT– The school year has come to a close and Fairmont Community Education and Recreation (CER) has unleashed a wide range of activities to keep area youth and families busy throughout the summer months. CER Director, Stephanie Busiahn, said that summer is traditionally the organization’s busiest time of year in terms of programming.

“western” align=”left”>There’s a lot more going on and there’s a lot of overlap. We’re one to the next to the next,” Busiahn said of the activities and programs.

She pointed out that they try to fit as much as they can into the three short months and that registration numbers are typically healthy and this year is no different, however, there was some concern whether the fact that CER went exclusively digital with this year’s summer brochure would negatively impact numbers. That has not been the case though.

“western” align=”left”>We’re on par with where we’ve been in the past,” Busiahn said.

This week the first of many youth sports offerings kicked off with the start of T-ball, which will run through early July and is for children ages 4 through 3rd grade. There are 76 children enrolled in it, which is up from last year’s amount of 63.

Next up, tennis camps will begin next week. Girls basketball camp will start later in June and boys basketball camps will be offered at two different times for different age groups.

“western” align=”left”>Flag football has transitioned from the start of the fall to mid-July,” Busiahn said.

While registration for the earlier camps have closed, there is still time to register for the boys basketball camps and flag football. Finding volunteer coaches is always an issue and while many are in place, Busiahn said they are still in need of more flag football coaches.

Aside from youth sports, CER also has some new art camps this year which will be taught by Fairmont Elementary School art teacher, Ashley Haake.

“western” align=”left”>She has some fun ones– a trash to treasure class, making earring and mini piñatas,” Busiahn said.

CER staff member, John Bartscher, is also offering both laser tag and grand prix programs this summer.

“western” align=”left”>He had done them last year and we saw good numbers so we brought them back,” Busiahn said.

Another popular offering that’s back this year is the summer playground park program. The program starts June 10 and is held almost daily at a different park in Fairmont.

Registration is encouraged.

Child and baby sitting and home alone classes are offered every summer and Busiahn said that some summers they have minimal participation and some, like this year, they have full classes.

“western” align=”left”>Thanks to an anonymous donor, those price points were discounted to families and both of those classes are full,” Busiahn said.

She said that if people are looking for ways to support programs, making a donation is always an option so that it alleviates the cost to families.

“western” align=”left”>To be able to drop the price of offerings for some families really makes a difference,” Busiahn said.

One exciting addition this year is a Minnesota Twins baseball clinic that CER is hosting on July 28. The Twins is handling both the staffing and the registration, though a link to it can be found on the CER webstore.

While not as many, there are some adult offerings this summer, too.

“western” align=”left”>The Fairmont Police Department is doing three different classes that we’re excited about– a teen driving, a street drug and tobacco/vaping class,” Busiahn said.

CER has also partnered with the police department to put on a Cops and Bobbers event on July 30 at Gomsrud Park. The event requires registration.

Busiahn sad that they are going to try out some mixers for adults with disabilities, one in June and one in July.

“western” align=”left”>It will allow those individuals to connect and hangout. There will be some games and crafts,” Busiahn said.

This summer families can also decide whether they want to take advantage of the fairly new Cardinal prime program in the coming school year. July 24 is the deadline to sign up for Cardinal Prime, which will begin at the start of the school year.

Last year, in the debut year, the program was paid for with ESSER funds but now it needs to be self-sustainable. The fee will be $80 a month per child before school from 7- 7:50 a.m. and $200 a month per child after school from 3-5:30 p.m.

“western” align=”left”>Staff are back and have done a phenomenal job with the program,” Busiahn said, noting the Bartscher has done a great job setting up the program.

“western” align=”left”>It is hopefully helping fill some gaps and community needs in terms of child care,” Busiahn said.

It follows the school calendar so on days when there is no school, or if school is let out early for inclement weather, there will be no Prime. Registration can be found on the CER webstore.

All in all Busiahn is excited about all that CER has to offer families in the community.

“western” align=”left”>Some families and kids really strive on structure and having set things. We like to provide a variety of offerings to keep them occupied and busy,” Busiahn said. “We strive to have something for everyone and at different price points in order to connect with families and have something everyone can participate in.”

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