Pamiers. Las Parets Leisure Center: a summer paradise for children

the essential
More than 150 children attend Las Parets leisure center daily during these school holidays, with the entire entertainment team offering activities, entertainment and excursions every day.

For the past eight days, a few clouds have finally blocked the rising sun in the sky. In Las Parets, the air became breathable this Tuesday morning. The illusion will be short-lived.

The first children who arrive at the leisure center take advantage of this and storm the garden, planted with majestic chestnut trees. Installed behind a counter, Michel Sabatier, one of the four directors of the structure welcomes its tenants for the day. At the start of the week, not one is missing. “They will be 158 today, he explains. We are almost at the leisure centre’s maximum capacity”. With a touch of Stabilo, Michel Sabatier ticks off the arrivals one by one, noting possible food allergies or prohibitions. Information that he will send a little before

“You are in a place where you feel good”

While a group of young boys run behind a football, the girls have stormed a plastic castle, others have taken the handlebars of small tricycles. This whole little world swarms around under the watchful eye of the ten activity leaders present every day. It takes people to run the store. “The first children are welcomed from 7.30 in Las Parets, but also in Lestang and Cazalé schools”, explains Michel Sabatier. From there, a bus takes you to the leisure centre, where the first activities start at 9:30. If everything seems like a happy mess, nothing is actually improvised. Thought at the last minute.

Aurélie, one of the animators is with a group of small “three-year-olds”. Cleverly installed around a table, the children listen to the instructions. With scissors with rounded ends, they rub true colors. While a fine powder is deposited on the plates, the hands are colored. “Then, explains Aurélie, we will mix the powder with coarse salt. For the children, it’s a bit of magic”. The salt’s absorbency does the rest by turning it yellow, orange or blue. The mixture thus obtained is then placed in layers in small glass jars. “But we don’t make the workshops last more than 45 minutes,” warns Aurélie. One must know how to vary the pleasures. Change scenery with Helena, an external lecturer at the leisure centre. The young woman plays the Zen card. “You put yourself in a comfortable position on a mattress…ideally on your back and imagine that you are in a place where you feel good”. To “condition” her small group, Helena launches soft, soothing music. The kids seem to let go. “You become like a heavy stone,” she said softly before pulling her audience out of the torpor they had settled into. “Now you are in a state of readiness, ready to draw”.

But at the moment, the popular swimming pool, where all children in small groups are entitled to a good 45 minutes of refreshment, is also for the little ones who benefit from a safe space. At the end of the morning, the lunch break is welcome before a restorative siesta for the youngest and a quiet break for the “grown-ups”.

Upcoming work at the holiday home

School, nursing home for nuns, holiday center in 1968, Las Paret’s premises have been in the municipal fold for many years. The buildings are often redesigned to become the city’s main leisure center and the buildings are not yet finished. The town hall should invest in that again this year. On the south facade, a courtyard flanked by two staircases will give access to the first floor “but above all Michel Raulet, elected delegate for school affairs and childhood-youth, specifies to meet safety standards”. This work will make it possible to move the reception to one of the activity rooms. Outside, between the swimming pool and the Appamean archers’ shooting range, another playground will also be set up. The covered playground will alternately offer a protected shooting range for archers but also a place for ice skating. “We also wanted to install a city stadium, but the sky-high prices, explains Michel Raulet, mean that we have postponed the investment”.

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