There are increasingly more activities popping up on the community calendar — offering residents multiple family-friendly options to spend more time together with neighbors and friends in town.

There are increasingly more activities popping up on the community calendar — offering residents multiple family-friendly options to spend more time together with neighbors and friends in town.

In the fall, City of Shawnee Director of Operations James Bryce was able to step up opportunities for community interaction through the city's Parks and Recreation department, citing how a shift in bills afforded him the ability to create a position for a program coordinator.

The role, filled by Rachel Monday, was designated to maintain facilities and create and schedule community activities throughout the year.

Bryce's decision to boost the department is paying off. New events are regularly being added and the schedule is becoming a valuable staple to the city website.

City Manager Justin Erickson said the city is pleased to work with its many partners to increase recreational activities for the community.

“”We look forward to continued growth of our recreation program and an enhanced quality of life for area residents,” he said.

Activities include a wide variety of offerings for individual adults, children and families.

Recreation Manager Kerri Foster — who started out as the Aquatics Manager of the Splash at Woodland Veterans Park — and Monday make up the Parks and Rec team.

“We are working on a small scale to offer some fun and safe things to do around town, Foster said. “I hope in the next year or two we will have an actual calendar of events showcasing what there is to offer.”

She said the department's goal is to have programs year-round.

“We are very small, due to very limited resources and two employees, but heavily relying on local organizations to provide programs and events to the community,” she said. “Our goal is to work together instead of trying to do things alone.”

She said she has met with some very passionate leaders in the community that share the same objectives the city does.

“I am looking forward to what Shawnee will look like in five years,” she said.

Events and programs are not limited — they will be planned all over town, she said — every park, city building (municipal auditorium, community center) and even things out on the lake areas.

“We are hoping to continue to grow employee numbers as resources allow,” Foster said.

Events for local canine lovers — like Yappy Hour —have proven to be very successful.

Bryce said the first dog-friendly event the department planned yielded 54 people — and the second had 46.

“We would have been thrilled if just two had shown up,” he said. “The events have really exceeded our expectations.”

Bryce said the auditorium and community center also are filling dates with things like public movie nights, or rented out for birthdays, baby showers, karate and aerobics classes.

Encouraging participation, Bryce said his goal for public events is to keep entry costs free or to an absolute minimum.

Foster said the response from residents so far has been very supportive.

“We are currently planning our summer programs and events while looking forward to Parent's Night Out next Wednesday,” she said.

Some upcoming events

• Scheduled every Tuesday/Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 6:15 p.m., Pound — an exercise program — is offered at the Shawnee Community Center, at 804 S. Park Ave.

Resident are encouraged to sweat, dance and sculpt their way to better healthy.

“Bring a water bottle,” the website reads. “All equipment provided.”

Cost is $5 per class, but residents can get a punch card and get a sixth class free.

• On Feb. 10, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., a free self-defense course will be offered at the Shawnee Community Center, at 804 S. Park Ave.

“Join Stacy Wilson and the Shawnee Martial Arts Academy in this free self-defense course,” the site states. “If interested, check out our Facebook Page at United Martial Arts Members Shawnee Ok.”

To sign up, send an email to SMAAUMA@yahoo.com.

All ages are welcome.

• On Feb. 14, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., a parent's night out is being offered for Valentine's Day. At the Municipal Auditorium, at 400 N. Bell Ave., children ages five to 11 years old can play games and make a Valentine’s Day craft,” the site states.

Children are welcome to bring a sack dinner and come in their favorite pajamas since it's a school night, the site reads.

The website also reads, “forms must be completed before a child can be left in the care of the Shawnee Parks and Recreation staff.”

Forms will be available online or at the door. Visit shawneeok.org/parks to register.

Cost is $10 per child — if registered online or $15 per child at the door.

• On Feb. 16, since Shawnee Public Schools are out for parent/teacher conferences, a movie camp is slated from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. for children in first through fifth grade.

Registration ends Feb. 14 — all children who wish to attend must be registered.

“We will be singing songs, playing games, coloring and so much more with your favorite movie characters,” the site states.

Children must bring a sack lunch, but an afternoon snack will be provided.

All forms must be completed before a child can be left in the care of the Shawnee Parks and Recreation Staff. Forms will be available online or at the door. Visit shawneeok.org/parks to register.

Cost is $3 per child.

For more information, call (405) 275-3986 or visit the parks and recreation Facebook page at facebook.com/shawneepr.