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July is National Parks and Recreation Month
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Look around and you may see flowers in full bloom and trees standing proud, showing off their new wardrobe of green resurrection. Schools are out of session, minus a few conscientious staff members and/or administrators who wish to get a head start on next year's academic adventures. Warmer weather temperatures, coupled with extended daylight hours indicates spring has passed and summer is here. National Parks and Recreation month takes place each year in July and the city of Ceres, along with other venues in the surrounding areas, offer plenty of fun and exciting places to explore and enjoy.

National Parks and Recreation Month strives to bring awareness and focus to the benefits of outdoor activities. It also encourages the exploration of the various recreational opportunities this area has to offer, as Ceres has many. There are five youth football organizations in the city, as well as swim teams, aquatics programs, and a multitude of activities held both inside and outside the Ceres Community Center. For those wishing to beat the heat and remain cool during the summer months, water rafting may strike an interest. Whether you go to the American River in Sacramento or a stay close to home with a visit to Knights Ferry, water rafting combines excitement and exercise into fun-filled day of outdoor activity. Swimming is another great way to stay cool and the aquatic programs in Ceres are some of the finest around.

Ceres boasts some 14 different park sites within its city limits. Smyrna Park and Ceres River Bluff Regional Park stand out as the two largest outdoor facilities in the city and are home to Ceres Youth Baseball (CYB) and Ceres Youth Soccer Organization (CYSO). For many years, CYB and CYSO have provided children and teenagers with opportunities to compete at both the recreational and competitive levels. Most of the parks in Ceres have amenities such as barbeque grills, picnic tables, and playground areas for children. Smyrna Park and River Bluff Regional Park have covered spaces to accommodate large events such as graduation celebrations, birthday parties, baby showers, and other special events. The helpful and friendly Recreation Division team can assist you with reserving a location for any event you may be planning.

While we continue to battle through these tough economic times, many cannot afford expensive gym memberships. There are plenty of ways to stay fit without the burden of cramped spaces, occupied exercise machines, and/or personal trainers. The outdoors provides a nice environment for those who enjoy fresh air, the challenges of competing against one's self, and obstacles created by nature. A brisk walk around a neighborhood park, infused with a few sets of simple calisthenics, can easily burn off unwanted calories.

Summer is here and what better way to enjoy this time of year than by being outdoors with family and friends. The city of Ceres, along with venues in the greater San Joaquin Valley, offers plenty of places for one to rediscover his/her inner child during National Parks and Recreation Month. On your next trip to the market, look around and see what Ceres has to offer. Better yet, plan a day at park or see what recreational activities are available at the Ceres Community Center. Before we know it, the streets will be lined with trees full of beautiful shades of gold, auburn, and brown, signaling the onset of fall and winter.

For more information, feel free to contact the City of Ceres Recreation Division at (209) 538-5629 or follow us on Facebook at: