(Editor's Note: Victoria Kisling is a senior at North Plainfield High School and an intern for TAPinto North Plainfield.) 

NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - The Borough of North Plainfield Parks and Recreation Department, offers a variety of activities, programs, and sports options of residents of all ages.

Under the leadership of Director Dennis Passe, the North Plainfield Parks and Recreation Department offers sports for North Plainfield youth in kindergarten through eighth grade; participants do not need to attend North Plainfield schools to play, however, they must be a borough resident. Among the options offered to North Plainfield youth include wrestling, baseball, coach pitch, tee ball, softball, basketball, field hockey, soccer, and archery.

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“I’m very happy to announce that while participation numbers for baseball and softball are down around the state, our numbers are up,” said Passe, noting that with the rise in registration comes the need for additional coaches.

Without enough coaches to offset the number of children looking to play, the department is left with no other option but to create larger than preferred teams, which ultimately results in less playing time for team members. In an effort to ensure that every child gets ample playing time, the department is always actively seeking coaches. To become a coach, one needs to be at least 18 years old, complete the Rutgers S.A.F.E.T.Y course, and undergo a criminal background check.

“By having more volunteer coaches at the younger level [K-1-2] we will [be able to] have more teams [and] fewer players per team, which equates to more personalized instruction and more activity for the players,” said Passe. The Department of Parks and Recreation is grateful that more parents are volunteering their services as coaches than in recent years. Our department appreciates all volunteers. Without volunteers, we wouldn’t have recreation activities for the children.”

In North Plainfield, rec department sports are not only limited to just school-age children. There is an adult recreation program that offers many co-ed sports options, including, volleyball, softball, badminton, basketball, Zumba, yoga, and archery. Participants must be a North Plainfield resident 18 years of age or older; the only exception is archery through which high school students grades 9 through 12 are welcome to participate.

Additionally, according to the department’s assistant director Roe Woods, the Borough of North Plainfield Department of Parks and Recreation also provides programs to senior citizens, free of charge. To be eligible, residents over the age of 60 must show proof of age and residency and obtain an ID card through the recreation department office.

The Parks and Recreation Department also offers summer playground and camp programs for North Plainfield youth ages four and up. The summer playground is offered at East End Elementary School from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday throughout the end of June, all of July, and all of August which summer camp is held at Vermeule Monday through Friday throughout the end of June, all of July, and all of August with flexible hours running from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Campers visit local pools once a week, and partake in outdoor activities and arts and crafts. Summer assignments help for school is also available and there are various special events planned.

“Every two weeks, [there is] a special event like a magician,” said Woods.

The North Plainfield Department of Parks and Recreation also sponsors various special events throughout the year, including but not limited to, a Halloween parade and costume contest, the holiday tree lighting at Vermeule, an opening day baseball/softball parade, and Easter egg hunt, and, most recently, a holiday house decorating contest. Currently, the department is gearing up for its annual spring fishing derby. Open to all North Plainfield residents, this year’s derby is scheduled for Saturday, April 29 from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Green Acres Park with the rain date Sunday, April 30 at 2 p.m.

Most recently, said Woods, the parks and recreation department has provided new uniforms for the basketball, soccer, baseball, and softball teams; implemented online registration for sports; refurbished the basketball courts at Green Acres Park; and completed the installation of an outdoor horseshoe pit and bocce ball court at Vermeule.

The department also recently set up a phone alert system to let North Plainfield residents know about sport registration and other upcoming events. Residents can also sign up to be on an email list.

According to Passe, the North Plainfield Parks and Recreation Department is always looking to offer new programs and welcomes resident ideas. “If anyone is interested in another activity not already implemented, come make a presentation at the Recreation Committee meeting which takes place every third Tuesday of every month at 7:30pm at the Parks and Recreation office building, 93 Greenbrook Road,” said Passe, adding, “We wish everyone has a safe and enjoyable season.”

For more information on programs, special events, and sports offered through the North Plainfield Department of Parks and Recreation or to sign up to be a coach, call (908) 756-0247 or visit www.np-recreation.com

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