By Mitch Kaskie
From Pee Wee sports to senior bingo nights, to classes on raising chickens, the Roeland Park Community Center has something to offer for everyone, no matter the age or interests.
Located at 4850 Rosewood Drive, the RPCC is a joint operation between the City of Roeland Park and the Johnson County Parks and Recreation District.
The center features a 24,000 square-foot, air-supported sports dome, along with an aquatics center which includes a 50-meter inverted “C” shaped pool with a 25-yard by-25-meter competitive area and four 50-meter lap swimming lanes.
In the winter the pool is covered by a dome and is home to the Kansas City Blazers, a year-round swim team affiliated with U.S. Swimming. In addition RPCC also has a fitness room and offers public room rentals seven days a week.
“In 2013 we had in excess of 41,000 participations at our center,” Libby Scarborough, the Roeland Park Recreation Coordinator said. “This includes classes, special events, drop-in programs, fine arts camps, preschool camps, the Child Development Center, fitness room uses and those individuals who attended rental events held at RPCC.”
The RPCC facilities help offer a wide range of programs and activities geared towards all ages and personalities. For instance, the center offers Pre-School Enrichment Camps during summer months for toddlers. Moreover, every Tuesday and Thursday the center holds their “Pee Wee Open Play” program, an open gym where toddlers can play and explore while meeting new friends.
For children between the ages of five and 16, the center provides youth programs which includes everything from theater and art camps, seasonal themed special events and a variety of classes in the areas of dance, music, and critical thinking games. Free summer lunches for kids ages one to 18 are also provided on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday each week by Harvesters.
Adults can take advantage of a variety of programs and classes in the areas of parenting, auctions, dog obedience, pottery and more. And free tax preparation is provided by AARP from Feb. 1 to April 15 of each year.
For ages 50 and older, there is a wide choice of programs and classes to choose from. Seniors can enjoy intergenerational events with their kids and grandchildren which include spaghetti dinners, potlucks and game days.
Fitness classes vary by type and ability level, while senior fine art courses include everything from china painting, the New Horizons Band, and advanced ballroom dancing. Socialization opportunities are also available for seniors, with game groups such as bingo and bridge along with other hobby groups like knitting.
“Our activities keep people active and engaged in their community,” Scarborough said. “We provide a place for people to meet, gather, socialize and learn new skills. For the young children in the Child Development Center it’s a great foundation for elementary school. For older individuals who utilize our programs and services it is a way to stay independent and provides a sense of purpose.”
Some programs are more unusual than others. Last spring, the RPCC offered a “Keeping Backyard Chicken Class”. The City of Roeland Park allows residents to keep chickens on their property, so a city council member taught the class detailing information on getting started and what is needed to keep chickens on personal property.
According to Scarborough, current activities can be found in the JCPRD Activities catalog which is published three times a year. The September-December catalog is coming out this week.