New Port Richey hires recreation manager
NEW PORT RICHEY - Michael Speidel hopes to make as big a splash as the new recreation manager as the summer camp children frolicking in the pool at New Port Richey Recreation and Aquatic Center. Speidel came on board last month to bolster the city’s already potent camp offerings and try some new directions as well at the facility at 6630 Van Buren St. He is getting his feet wet as registration continues for the summer day camp June 17 through Aug. 9 for children ages 6 to 12. Call (727) 841-4560 or go online to www.citynpr.org for fees and information. With some of the lowest camp prices in the area, the recreation center already has signed up about half of the children toward the capacity of 170 campers, said Elaine Smith, the city recreation and parks director. The camp is open to residents and nonresidents, she emphasized.The city offers options, such as a full, eight-week camp or two consecutive weeks. The city also has Adventure Camp June 10-14 and Splash Camp Aug. 12-16. A School’s Out Pool Bash will signal the unofficial start of the summer season with a pool party from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 4, for $5 for each participant. “It’s going to be a very interactive summer,” Speidel said, as he observed Longleaf Elementary second-grade students on a field trip for water safety lessons. Camp will include weekly field trips and more special-interest speakers. Another new development will include a Chick-fil-A franchisee operating the concession stand, starting May 31. “We pretty much have like a built-in water park for the kids to enjoy,” Speidel said. “We bring in a lot of instructors and guest speakers. We keep the kids busy all day long the second they come in the door.” “There’s a lot more here you can do,” Speidel said about his goals at the city facility. He worked for Pasco County Parks and Recreation Department for 18 years. He was impressed how the recreation center helped the city earn the Playful City USA Community Award. Smith first met Speidel when both were with the county agency. “He started out as a kid hanging out at a (county) recreation complex,” Smith said with a chuckle. Then he volunteered and wound up on the staff. So she was familiar with his dedication when she hired him. People might recall Speidel’s face from his long tenure at the Holiday Recreation Complex and Veterans Memorial Park in Hudson. “I started as a recreation leader and worked my way all the way up to a community center supervisor and park operator for the sites,” Speidel explained.