With no leader, village scraps summer parks program

Offer of $20 to $25 per hour, advertising and recruiting campaign yielded only one application for director job

DURING LAST YEAR’S Fredonia Youth Summer Parks Program, children searched for frogs near a culvert and ran through a sprinkler to cool off at Stoney Creek Park. The village decided to cancel the program this summer because it was unable to find a director to oversee it. Press file photos


Ozaukee Press staff

The Village of Fredonia has scrapped its Youth Summer Parks Program for this year because, despite an aggressive advertising campaign, it could find no one to run it.

“We tried our darndest,” Village Administrator Christophe Jenkins said.

The Parks and Recreation Committee on April 27 endorsed a recommendation from Jenkins to cancel the program, which had been scheduled to run four days a week from June 19 through Aug. 11.

That the village, which was offering to pay a summer parks director $20 to $25 per hour, received only one application for the job came as a surprise to officials. The one applicant was interviewed but not selected, Jenkins told the committee.

“The pay was pretty competitive and I thought the job would be perfect for a college student, particularly one studying education,” Jenkins said during an interview.

Applicants for the job, which was advertised as a “perfect opportunity for those working towards a career in child care or education” had to be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver’s license and child care or education experience.

And not only did the village advertise the position, Jenkins attempted to recruit applicants by calling area high schools and colleges, he said.

The program, which was designed to provide constructive, supervised outdoor activities for children and served as a companion to the Northern Ozaukee School District’s half-day summer school program, suffered from staffing problems last year when the village decided to proceed with it despite a lack of applications from people to supervise it.

That led to complaints from parents who attended a July 2022 Parks and Recreation Committee meeting to tell officials that the program was plagued by disorganization and children were bullied during it because of a lack of supervision.

Dan Gehrke, a former village trustee and committee member who is now village president, said at the time, “I’ve heard some other complaints about things being disorganized. It’s a free for all.”

The children in the program, about 23 of them, were essentially supervised on a day-to-day basis by two high school students, and Gehrke said the village could be exposed to liability issues if something went wrong.

Officials had considered canceling the program mid-summer, but decided to continue it.

Without a parks program this summer, the village will focus on two big events that are planned.

“We’re diverting our efforts to focus on those,” Jenkins said.

One of the highlights of the summer in Fredonia will be the inaugural MUDdonia Kids Mud Run set for Saturday, July 22, in Marie Krause Park.

The event is not a race but a muddy obstacle course for children ages 4 through 12.

Kids ages 10 to 12 will run a one-mile course starting at 9 a.m., while those who are 7 to 9 will tackle a .75-mile course starting at 10 a.m. The youngest children, those 4 to 6, will navigate a half-mile course starting at 11 a.m.

Food and beverages will be sold at the event.

The entry fee, which is $25 through May 31 and $30 after that, includes a T-shirt, participation medal and coupon for a free lunch.

For more information and to resister, go to www.fredoniawi.gov/home/news/mudonia-mud-run.

The other big event of the summer is the Fredonia Fire Department’s 100th anniversary celebration set for Saturday, Aug. 26.

The event will begin at 8 a.m. with a 5K run starting and ending at Fireman’s Park and continue with a parade at noon, kids activities and live music throughout the day and fireworks at 9:30 p.m.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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