Survey: Trumbull residents want rec programs for home-schoolers

TRUMBULL — The town could see more recreation programs geared to home-schoolers, thanks to a recent survey done by the Trumbull Parks and Recreation Department.

That was just one of the findings of the survey, which was emailed in October to 7,025 Trumbull residents — 3,397 of whom at least started the survey and 1,374 of whom actually submitted it.

“That’s pretty much on par with what we were expecting,” said Noreen Wilpiszeski, Trumbull recreation program manager.

The original purpose of the survey was to figure out what department programs, classes and activities town residents have used in the past, and to determine what kind of offerings they’d like to see in the future, Wilpiszeski said. While there was nothing shocking in the responses, there were some mild surprises, she said.

For one thing, she said, as a greater number of parents home-school their children, many families are seeking daytime arts and athletic programs geared at elementary-age students, which could presumably be used as part of a home-school program. There was also a desire expressed for more classes aimed at adults, which Wilpiszeski said was “very interesting.”

Aquatics programs were the most popular programs already offered by the town, with 789 respondents saying they had used them in the past. There was even a question solely dedicated to such programs, asking residents which programs they would like to see more of in the future. “Open swim” and “swim lessons” were the most popular answers there.

However, the town’s aquatics offerings have been hampered by the fact that the Hillcrest Middle School pool was shut down for repairs in July — one of many times the pool, which is more than 50 years old, has been shut down over the years.

The closings have forced swimmers to use other local facilities, which affected training for the swim teams that use the pool.

Wilpiszeski said it will likely be a while before the pool reopens. The town’s Aquatic’s Facilities Committee has discussed plans to build a new pool, but various factors, including the pandemic, have put those plans on hold.

However, she said, something can be done about many of the needs highlighted by the survey.

“Our next step is to start preparing our spring programming” with these suggestions in mind, she said. Wilpiszeski said the town is looking ahead to spring to make the changes to its class offerings at least partly because Trumbull recently reinstated a mask mandate for all town buildings.

“We’re finding that a lot of residents aren’t willing to come out for programming if masks are required,” she said.