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Lewisboro Summer Camps See Drop in Enrollment

LEWISBORO, N.Y. – Lewisboro summer camp numbers are down this year, and that has had an impact on the Parks and Recreation Department’s finances, though officials say they’re not worried and the numbers will probably adjust as summer unfolds.

A midyear financial report given this week by the Parks and Recreation Department to the Town Board showed that the department’s gross revenues are down by about $35,000 compared to this time last year.

The drop-off in revenue can be attributed to the decline in the number of campers signing up for the town’s Teen Trek Travel Camp, said Recreation Director Dana Mayclim. The camp takes children in grades six through eight on day trips to destinations such as water parks and sporting events. It offers programs that run both three days a week and five days a week.

Mayclim said the program grew from one bus to four buses over the past 10 years, but sign-ups began to decline in 2011.

“Last year, we barely filled the fourth bus,” she said. “This year we couldn’t even fill three buses, so we didn’t need the fourth bus for the five-day program.”

The five-day program costs $1,300 per camper, and there are 42 campers on a bus. So, losing the forth bus meant a loss of $54,000 in gross revenue.

“If we had that fourth bus, I wouldn’t have had to report that we were down $35,000,” Mayclim said. “In fact, we’d be up.”

Mayclim said the declining student population in town and the economy are affecting the camp programs.

“The school district is reporting that the high point of the teen population is currently high school-aged,” she said. “Our camps are for elementary and middle school kids. It’s been a big hit.”

Mayclim also said the numbers are a “little bit off” for the town’s day camps, but noted that her department continues sign up participants every day.

“The economy plays a role; we still have people unemployed,” she said. “And with parents at home, they don’t have to send their kids to camp.”

Still, Mayclim said that she believes the numbers will look better by the middle of the summer.

“I’m not that concerned and I am not sounding the alarm,” she said “Give me three more months and we will be the same as last year.”

Members of the Town Board said one solution may be to promote the programs better.

“Nobody questions the park and rec programs – they are the crown jewel of this town,” said Supervisor Peter Parsons. “The question is how to build the volume and draw people to them.”

Deputy Supervisor Peter DeLucia said one solution may be to take advantage of modern technology.

“We should be using social media like Facebook to talk about these programs,” he said. “We also need to improve our Web presence and enable people to sign up ... online by taking credit cards. Taking credit cards would cost some money in fees, but we’d more than make up for that with the increase in the number of people who sign up.”

The Parks and Recreation Department website has a brochure of spring and summer activities available for download . Additionally, it posts information and updates on its Facebook page .

Mayclim said her department’s expenses are up $61,000 over the same period in 2011. She said expenses are up because the department is fully staffed now, while it wasn’t at this point last year.

“We are also booking events this year in a more timely manner, which we have to pay for in advance,” she said. “We are doing a lot of advance planning. For example, if we plan a trip to Yankee Stadium and I order a bunch of tickets, they’re going to want to be paid for those. We would eventually be reimbursed for something like that, but right now it’s showing up as an expense. We weren’t doing that at this time last year because we were short staff.”

Mayclim also said last year’s storms played a role in the increase in expenditures.

“We had to do a lot of cleanup in the park due to the storms,” she said. “We had to do a bunch of maintenance that we didn’t have to do in the past.”

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