March left us like a lion this year ... and let’s not even talk about April.

The last few weeks of cold has us thinking we can’t wait for spring and all the good things that come with the season. Our partners at the United Way are wrapping tax season, rent and property tax rebates are in, our COVID-19 numbers are thankfully holding steady enough for us make some exciting plans.

Last season we launched our “Fridays in Park” Series. Our initial goal was to increase socialization and healthy activities in an outdoor space to help work around the constraints of the pandemic and provide a safe venue for our attendees to enjoy.

What started as a COVID-related response has blossomed into a standing program due to successful turnouts and overwhelmingly positive feedback from the attendees. Listening to those who participated, made new friends, learned something new and had a little fun was enough to convince us we had to keep this going.

We made use of the Lackawanna County Park System, a resource that is seriously overlooked and underappreciated by all of us. Last year was the first time I visited all our county parks, they are all equally impressive, well-maintained and excellent host to our events. The Parks and Recreation team go out of their way to prepare the park and welcome us each week we are there. It obvious they take pride in making the parks a great place for all of us to enjoy.

This year we are bringing back some of last year’s favorites. CEO Weinberg has committed to doing the very popular nutrition education program again this year. It was by far our most popular activity. Not only do you learn about a new food, you see a cooking demonstration. You get the recipe you just saw made, a sample and fresh produce to use to try on your own. It’s a fantastic way to introduce something new and healthy into your diet.

We also plan to have another round of mural paintings. Each mural painted in the parks last season are hung prominently in the Government Center on Wyoming Avenue in Scranton. We are both proud and appreciative of this contribution we see each day as we walk into and out of work. It also showcases the fruits of your labor to the public. If you are in Government Center, stop and check out the murals. Each one tells its own story.

Live musical performances, Remote Older Adult Monitoring program information, horses, service animals and other favorites all are coming back. We do want to offer new activities, too. Please make suggestions; we love to hear from you.

Healthy activities like group walks are very important for your overall health and wellbeing. It’s not a race, it’s a chance to keep yourself active while talking with some friends. Remember while we want to make this an enjoyable day in the park, it is also important to us that we are improving your overall health. The impact these programs have on your health is the most important result we can measure.

These are just a few examples. It’s a very long season, and I can’t list everything we will be doing. The best way for you to know if it’s for you is to come and check it out. It’s all free of charge. We provide lunch and we can pick you up if you need a ride to get there. Reservations will be required again so we can get a proper meal count. But we always have room for one more if a friend decides to join you at the last minute. Little things like the weather will throw us a curve, but we intend to offer some great programing for you and would love to have you join us.

Here’s a list of dates for Fridays in the Park, which are all held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.:

  • June 3, McDade Park, 1 Bald Mountain Road, Scranton.
  • June 10, Aylesworth Park, 511 Hudson St., Jermyn.
  • June 17, Covington Park, 307 Winship Rd, Moscow.
  • June 24, Merli-Sarnoski Park, 286 Sandy Banks Road, Greenfield Twp.
  • July 1, McDade Park.
  • July 8,Aylesworth Park.
  • July 15, Covington Park.
  • July 22, Merli-Sarnoski Park.
  • July 29, McDade Park.
  • August 5, Aylesworth Park.
  • August 12, Covington Park.
  • August 19, Merli-Sarnoski Park.
  • August 26, McDade Park.
  • Sept. 2, Aylesworth Park.
  • Sept. 9, Covington Park.
  • Sept. 16, Merli-Sarnoski Park.

Jason Kavulich is the director of Lackawanna County’s Area Agency on Aging. For more information on services available call 570-963-6740.