VOCAL EXERCISES - Artist in the Schools instructor Sarah Branton of Cherry Creek, Colorado, leads an exercise in the Sitka High School band room this morning as she teaches students how to improve their volume. Branton will be here all week working with choirs at Blatchley Middle School and Sitka High. Her instruction is part of the effort to rebuild school  choir programs and numbers following the pandemic. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

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Daily Sitka Sentinel

Parks & Rec Opens Summer Camp Signups


Sentinel Staff Writer

Sitka Parks and Recreation continues to roll out programs for the summer, with new offerings posted at least every other week.

Gymnastics offerings for all ages are filling up at a quick pace, although there are still openings for the age 3 to 5 Preschool in Motion class starting June 5.

“(Director) Trisha Bessert and I picked out new equipment for both indoor and outdoor activities,” said Andrew Roseman, recreation specialist for the new city program.

Each preschool course runs two weeks, 9 a.m. to noon, three days a week, with sessions June 5-16; and June 19-30. A different activity will be offered each hour, including about an hour of gymnastics each day.

Roseman said he and temporary coordinator Barb Morse have been receiving calls and emails from people with suggestions and offers to teach courses over the summer.

The Parks and Rec program was started through the Community Recreation Initiative. The Assembly approved funding for the program, but other funds come in through user fees and seeking other sources of funding, including donations and partnerships with other nonprofits.

Three dozen camps and classes are posted on the city Parks & Recreation website, including intro to rock climbing camp, May 30-June 3, for grades 5-8; intro to aviation camp, June 6-9, for grades 7-12; a youth running club, June 27-Aug. 12, grades 5 to 8; summer music camps and classes for all ages, including adults.

Meghan Devine, a teacher and outdoors enthusiast, is the course leader for the rock climbing course, which is half-filled and starts next Tuesday. Space is also available in the aviation camp Fly the Sky, taught by Jack Davis, who is a pilot.

“That will include field trips and working with flight simulators,” Morse said.

Roseman said Parks and Rec is looking for a few more participants in one of the music programs, a weeklong musical theater camp for grades 6-8, which starts June 5.

One of the offerings invited Sitkans to join a Juneau program tracking their walking miles, which drew close to 60 Sitkans this year before registration closed.

Roseman said so far 270 have signed up for the various classes, not including the walking program. 

“That is a really impressive number, this being our first year, and putting it all together, using the recreation site, and helping the public figure out how to navigate it,” he said.

Roseman, who has lived in Sitka for two years, was also pleased the program secured two school district AmeriCorps volunteers to help with programming over the summer.

The website includes a link for residents to apply for financial help. The scholarship program is funded by the Melsness Family Foundation, through the Community Recreation Initiative.

“Lots of people have applied – I’ve had 34 people apply for scholarships,” Roseman said. Half and full scholarships are available to individuals and families.

The city Parks and Rec program is in its first year, and started with the task of coordinating city league (adult) basketball and volleyball, both of which were popular with 114 basketball participants, and 108 for volleyball.

The summer should be a busy time for the program. 

Morse said more gymnastics classes and outdoor activities will be offered during the summer and will be announced in the next few weeks.

The city funds most of the program, and Morse is grateful for the collaboration with the Sitka Sound Science Center, which has a cooperative grant to provide funding and resources.

“This allows us to offer and pilot a lot of new programs to meet the needs,” Morse said.

Most Parks and Rec activities are at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary, including gymnastics, music and preschool in motion. Rock climbing is at the Hames Center and the aviation class is at Mt. Edgecumbe High School.

Roseman said the office is always receptive to ideas for camps, classes and activities. The office is in the old Community Schools space at Blatchley, and staff can be contacted at 907-747-4031. The link to activities is at cityofsitka.com, under Departments, and Parks & Recreation.


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At a Glance

(updated 9-12-2023)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 8:57 a.m. Tuesday, September 12.

New cases as of Tuesday: 278

Total cases (cumulative) statewide – 301,513

Total (cumulative) deaths – 1,485

Case Rate per 100,000 – 38.14

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

COVID in Sitka

The Sitka community level is now "Low.'' Case statistics are as of Tuesday.

Case Rate/100,000 – 152.50

Cases in last 7 days – 13

Cumulative Sitka cases – 3,575

Deceased (cumulative) – 10

The local case data are from Alaska DHSS.






September 2003

Sitka Tribe of Alaska is “upset and disturbed” about the Senate appropriations bill that cuts spending for Alaska tribal courts, STA Vice Chairman Gil Truitt said today. He was referring to Sen. Ted Stevens’ move to divert Department of Justice grants from tribal courts and tribal police officers to fund the Village Public Safety Officer program.



September 1973

Photo caption: Receiving service pins at a Carpenters Union Local 466 dinner meeting at the Kiksadi Club were, from left, Arthur Littlefield, Alvin Helm, Harley Finch, Dave Gibson, Gerald Hughes, Fred Nelson, Walter Moy, Edward Nelson, William Sutton and Don Stromme.


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