PenMet Parks Partners with Peninsula School District

Joint Use Interlocal Agreement Approved by Both PSD and PenMet Parks

The Boards of Directors for Peninsula School District (PSD) and the Peninsula Metropolitan Park District (PenMet Parks) approved a joint use interlocal agreement on June 4, which allows PSD and PenMet Parks to work together in partnership to increase community use and development of our local facilities and open spaces. Both agencies will be able to provide more cost effective educational and recreational programs by maximizing public utilization of facilities.

“Our students and families win when we form strong community partnerships,” said PSD Superintendent Krestin Bahr. “During my time at Tacoma Public Schools, we worked closely with Tacoma Metropolitan Parks. I am looking forward to forming a similarly successful partnership with PenMet Parks, to enhance educational and recreational opportunities for children while streamlining our processes.”

PSD and PenMet Parks have worked together and collaborated informally for years. This formalized partnership supports goals related to incorporating inclusion for all ages and abilities, especially for people furthest from health and wellness opportunities, and maximizing community use of public facilities owned by PenMet Parks and PSD. Examples of additional programming considerations are after school youth sports, outdoor education, swim lessons and aquatics recreation, camps and programs after school, during breaks, and in the summer.

“The 2023 State of Play report for Tacoma-Pierce County revealed only 26% of youth in our community meet the CDC’s recommendation of 60 minutes of daily physical activity,” said PenMet Parks Executive Director Ally Bujacich. “This partnership will create more access to recreation and physical activity opportunities for children by mutually prioritizing each agency’s use of facilities.”

The agreement goes into effect on July 1, but no immediate changes are planned to current facilities reservation processes or fees. PenMet Parks and PSD will launch a mobile recreation program at three elementary schools this summer, with additional programs to launch in 2025 and beyond. 

Read the interlocal agreement: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1W48Rcu9hfXkHBREd4fYs3PxC1J25six9/view

Read FAQs about this partnership: https://penmetparks.org/peninsula-school-district-partnership/

Peninsula School District Partnership FAQs

PSD and PenMet Parks have a long history of working collaboratively to serve our community. Washington State law allows public agencies to contract with each other to deliver public services through an interlocal agreement. This agreement formalizes the partnership and allows PSD and PenMet Parks to work together to deliver educational and recreational services to our community.

The partnership advances each organization’s strategic direction and supports shared goals related to:

  • Community recreation and education;
  • Promoting the health and general welfare of our community*;
  • Enhancing the educational and recreational opportunities afforded to children; and
  • Cooperating and coordinating with other government agencies to innovatively deliver services to the community in the most cost-effective manner possible that incorporates inclusion for all ages and abilities, especially for those populations furthest from health and wellness opportunities.

*The 2023 State of Play report for Tacoma-Pierce County showed that only 26% of youth in the Peninsula School District meet the CDC’s recommendation of 60 minutes of daily physical activity.

This partnership allows PSD and PenMet Parks to work together in the joint use and development of facilities for increased community use of taxpayer-funded assets. It allows PSD and PenMet Parks to:

  • Maximize the community’s use of public facilities owned by the school district and the park district, for the benefit of the public, by providing more access to taxpayer-funded facilities regardless of ownership.
  • Pool property resources and encourage joint use of school district and park district facilities and grounds for recreational and educational programming for the benefit of PSD students and the general public.
  • Co-host educational or recreational programs for the benefit of our community.
  • Efficiently and consistently manage community use of school district and park district facilities.
  • Comprehensively plan for and develop capital assets and improvements to meet our community’s educational and recreational needs with the least possible expenditure of public funds.
  • After school youth recreational sports.
  • Outdoor education opportunities.
  • Swim lessons and aquatics recreation opportunities.
  • Camps and programs after school, during breaks, and in the summer, such as the mobile recreation program based at Artondale Elementary, Harbor Heights Elementary, and Purdy Elementary this summer.

The timing to implement new programs depends on demand, complexity, and available resources. The mobile recreation program will begin in summer 2024. Other programs will be developed over time.

When government agencies pool resources they can reduce unnecessary redundancies  and provide services more efficiently for the community, resulting in cost savings. For example, existing facilities can be shared to maximize public utilization before considering using taxpayer funds to acquire, develop, or rent new facilities. Specialized equipment can be purchased once and shared rather than duplicated when possible. Interagency partnerships can create additional grant funding opportunities. The partnership does not require PSD or PenMet Parks to financially subsidize the other party’s programs or use of facilities.

Yes, agencies in many communities have similar agreements for joint use, development, and/or operations of facilities, joint programs, and general cooperation. Local examples include Tacoma Public Schools with Metro Parks Tacoma and the Fife School District with the City of Fife Parks, Recreation, and Aquatics Department.

No immediate changes to the reservation process are planned, however the partnership agreement mutually prioritizes PSD and PenMet Parks use of the other party’s facilities for the benefit of PSD students and/or the general public with the goal of maximizing the community’s access to public sports fields and facilities.

PSD and PenMet Parks have recently taken steps together to improve the reservation process based on feedback from user groups, and are committed to continuing to work together to maximize community access to the pooled group of public assets using a consistent and user-friendly process.

At this time PSD and PenMet Parks will continue to independently establish rental fees for community use of respective assets.

Yes, the partnership agreement includes the joint use of PSD swimming pools. We know from recent survey data that access to pools for recreation, swim lessons, and aquafitness are top priorities for our community. This partnership provides an opportunity to work collaboratively toward solutions to meet those needs using existing facilities, including the potential to provide community aquatics programs as early as 2025.

PSD and PenMet Parks both recognize the need for additional turf and lighted sports fields in our community. While no specific projects are presently identified, the partnership provides a formal mechanism for  PSD and PenMet Parks to collaboratively plan and develop assets based on comprehensive community needs and to jointly pursue grants and other funding opportunities. Joint projects will be identified based on community priorities and vetted through the capital planning process.

The partnership agreement is for five years. At the end of five years, it will automatically renew annually and may be terminated by either party with 12 months written notice

The interlocal agreement may be viewed here.

PSD and PenMet Parks will continue to be responsible for the maintenance of their own properties and facilities, however under the partnership will establish joint maintenance standards, when appropriate, where practical and feasible for the safety of all participants in school and recreational activities. The partnership also allows PSD and PenMet Parks to explore the feasibility of shared maintenance responsibilities to reduce overall costs.

Read the interlocal agreement: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1W48Rcu9hfXkHBREd4fYs3PxC1J25six9/view

Read the news release about this partnership: https://penmetparks.org/peninsula-school-district-partnership

Increased Presence at DeMolay Sandspit

Increased staffing resumes in summer 2024

With an expected increase in visitors, PenMet Parks will once again provide an increased site presence during the summer to help ensure a positive and safe experience for visitors and neighbors.

If you have any questions or wish to share feedback, please call PenMet Parks at (253) 858-3400 or email [email protected].

PenMet Parks and the Peninsula Art League Join Forces

PenMet Parks and the Peninsula Art League announced a collaboration to enhance park, recreation, and art-related opportunities for the Gig Harbor Peninsula. 

“We recognize our growing community needs more park and recreation opportunities, including access to art,” said Ally Bujacich, Executive Director of PenMet Parks. “We are delighted to partner with Peninsula Art League to enhance the services each organization currently provides that benefit our community.”

Through this collaboration, Peninsula Art League is able to increase art-related activities and opportunities through workshops and other events at locations such as the Sehmel Homestead Park Volunteer Vern Pavilion. Peninsula Art League will provide volunteers for PenMet Parks’ art programming and the procurement of artwork for its new Community Recreation Center and other facilities.

“PenMet Parks is a valuable community asset and a wonderful steward of beautiful parks, trails, and gathering spaces,” said Colette Smith, President of Peninsula Art League. “Peninsula Art League is very pleased to collaborate with such a strong community partner to increase opportunities for our community to gather, play, and create.”

Peninsula Art League is a non-profit organization which endeavors to give back to the community with free annual activities such as its 38th Summer Art Festival, July 20-21, 2024. This  year, the event will be held at Sehmel Homestead Park. Peninsula Art League will also hold its 22nd Annual Open Juried Show at the Harbor History Museum from October 5 to November 22, 2024.

PenMet Parks exists to enhance the quality of life by providing parks and recreation opportunities for our community. The District manages nearly 650 acres of parkland in unincorporated Pierce County on the Gig Harbor Peninsula and provides hundreds of recreational programs and events every year for all ages and abilities. In 2024 PenMet Parks will celebrate 20 years of being deeply rooted and boldly growing in our community.

Get Ready for Summer Camp

Summer Camp Registration

Summer is just around the corner and PenMet Parks has prepared a full line-up of high-quality summer camps and events for everyone.

Camp registration dates:

  • April 3 for District residents
  • April 10 for non-residents

Enjoy added flexibility with our new extended care option, allowing drop-offs from 7:30 AM to late pickups at 5:30 PM. Ensure enriching and convenient experiences for your child, perfect for busy schedules. Embrace our extended care option and make the most of your camp experience.

Extended care is available for select full-day camps and indicated with the “sunshine” icon (shown at right) on pages seven and eight of the Summer Camp Guide.

We’re thrilled to introduce our brand new payment plan option for summer camp registration! Now, securing your child’s spot in the ultimate summer adventure has never been easier or more flexible. Payment plans are available to all.

When parents register for a summer camp they will be offered the option to be charged 20% at the time of registering, with the remaining 80% to be split evenly across four calendar dates. These charges are automatically deducted from the credit/debit card that you used during checkout. The payment schedule is:

  • Date of Registration – 20% Due
  • May 6
  • May 20
  • June 3
  • June 17

Payment Plans can be customized to meet your needs. If you would like to update your payment plan dates, change the number of payments, or update your payment plan payment method, then please contact us directly at 253-858-3400.

Financial assistance ensures broader access to PenMet Parks’ fee-based programs for all ages and all classes. Eligibility is based on HUD income limits and qualifying households receive up to 75% off programs, with assistance up to $400 per person, per calendar year.

Applications are available online, or in person.

Are you passionate about creating memorable summer experiences for children? We’re hiring enthusiastic Summer Day Camp counselors to lead activities, foster relationships, and create a safe, inclusive environment for campers, age 3 1/2 to 12 years old. If you’re at least 16 years old with strong communication skills and a LOVE of working with kids, we want you!

Q: What should my child wear/bring to camp?

A: Please ensure that your child wears comfortable, weather appropriate clothing, closed-toed shoes, and that they bring a jacket. Please send your child with a reusable water bottle, snack, and any supplies that they would need for the day. If your child is attending a full day camp, then you will need to pack them a sack lunch. We recommend leaving stuffed animals, toys, and other non-essential items at home. Pre-school campers should pack an extra change of clothes.

Q: How do drop-off and pick-up work during camp?

A: All adults that are authorized to pick up your participant must be recorded in your ePACT account. All authorized adults must show a photo ID upon pickup. It is the responsibility of the parent to notify all authorized adults to bring a photo ID with them for pickup.

Q: My child does not meet the age requirements, but they are close. Can I still enroll them?

A: At our camp, we consider more than just age for enrollment. If your child’s age is close to the camp’s requirement, please contact us directly at 253-858-3400 to request an age exception.

Q: What does it mean to be waitlisted?  

A: That means that the activity is already full, and you have been put “in line” in case another person withdraws. Your receipt will show you your position on the waitlist. We recommend adding yourself to the wait list in the event that an opening becomes available. You will be contacted via phone if a spot opens up for your child.

Q: What kind of training do your summer camp counselors receive?

A: Our summer camp counselors receive thorough training in child development, behavior management, and emergency procedures. With ongoing professional development workshops and hands-on practice, they are well-prepared to provide a safe, supportive, and enjoyable experience for campers. Overall, our goal is to empower energetic counselors with the skills and support necessary to create a positive and enriching camp environment.

Q: Will someone with a First Aid/CPR/AED certification be on-site?

A: Yes, each camp has one or more staff members on-site with a First Aid/CPR/AED certification.

Q: Are all staff background checked thoroughly?

A: Yes, we conduct background checks on all staff through the National Center for Safety Initiative – NCSI which searches County, Federal, and Nationwide Criminal History. Staff are background checked annually in accordance with our District Background Check Policy.

Q: I signed my kid(s) up for camp, but I don’t remember the details. Where can I find that information?

A: The dates, times, and locations of your child’s activity are included in the activity information when signing up. This information is also generally included on your receipt when you register your child. You will also receive a welcome email (usually a week before camp begins) that includes all pertinent camp information. If your activity is coming up within the next few days and you haven’t seen your Welcome Email, please check your spam/junk folder as it may be in there. If you still cannot locate it, please call our office at 253-858-3400, and we would be happy to help you.

Q: What if my child has allergies or medical needs?

A: PenMet Parks uses emergency medical software called ePACT to safely store all emergency contact and authorized pickup information. Please check your email for an invite directly from ePACT to set up your account.

Q: Am I able to pack my child peanut butter or other common allergy foods?

A: We use Epact to track all food allergies. If there is a food allergy participants need to be respectful of, we will make them aware in the welcome email.

Q: What happens when camp experiences extreme heat?

A: As temperatures rise up to 95 degrees, our staff will make changes to the activities, utilize available shaded areas, and include extra breaks for water. If the temperature goes beyond 95 degrees, we’ll make even more adjustments to minimize our time spent outdoors. We might postpone more strenuous activities to a cooler part of the day. And if the temperature reaches 100 degrees, we’ll either cancel outdoor activities or, if feasible, move them indoors.

To help us in keeping your camper comfortable and cool, please take these precautions:

  • Dress your child in light, breathable clothing. Campers should still wear closed-toed shoes for safety
  • Apply sunscreen to your child before drop-off. We’ll reapply it every two hours. If your child is allergic to aerosol sunscreen, please pack a safe sunscreen for them to reapply.
  • Pack a reuseable water bottle for your child. We’ll have spots where campers can refill their water bottles.

Q: Should I pack my child sunscreen?

A: We provide spray-on sunscreen during camp. We ask that all parents apply sunscreen to their child before drop-off. PenMet Parks staff will facilitate “sunscreen breaks” every two hours, using spray sunscreen, allowing the camper to rub himself/herself with the sunscreen after application. Camp staff will never apply rub-on sunscreen to any camper. You may pack your child their own sunscreen if they have sensitivities or allergies. Please be advised that they will be required to apply it themselves, and that they are not permitted to share their sunscreen with other participants. Sensitivities and allergies can be recorded in Epact.

Q: Summer Camp Parent Tips:

  • Label your child’s personal items and water bottle prior to your arrival at camp so that we can return it to you if lost.
  • Leave stuffed animals and other toys at home. These can often be left behind.
  • Add your family’s activity schedule from your ActiveNet account to your calendar. Contact us for instructions.

Youth Flag Football Season Returns to Spring

Flag Football

Our youth flag football season is changing back to Spring. The league is open to all youth  in our community from elementary grade two through high school. Practices and games will be on Saturdays, ensuring a fun season that leaves time for other activities.

Through youth sports, PenMet Parks is dedicated to helping future generations learn the values of community, leadership, and character development in a fun and safe environment.

Download our flyer.

Registration fee: In-District residents: $150. Out-of-District residents: $180.

Financial assistance is available.  Eligibility requirements and an online application form are available on our website. You can also visit or call our office to complete a form. Contact us with questions at [email protected].

Practices and games begin: On Saturday, May 11. There will be an hour-long practice prior to the game.

Season ends: Last games will be played on Saturday, June 15.

  • Elementary School:
    • Grades 2-3
    • Grades 4-5
  • Middle School:
    • Grades 6-8
  • High School
    • Grades 9-12

Want to help players have fun and improve their skills? Here’s what it takes to be a coach:

  • Two-three hours per week
  • We supply all equipment.
  • PenMet will hold a coaches training and provide additional coaching resources.
  • Head coaches receive a fee waiver for their child’s registration.

Learn more and complete your application to serve as a Volunteer Coach.

If you have further questions, please contact our PenMet Youth Sports Team.

2023 Annual Report

We are Stewards

In 2023, PenMet Parks served more people than ever before and enhanced the quality of life in our community by providing exceptional parks and recreation services for all. Reflecting our value of responsibility and our commitment to transparency, this annual report offers an update on the District’s programs and finances.