Rick Meyer

Rick Meyer

More than nine in 10 Americans agree that parks and recreation is an important local government service. Support for local parks is widespread, spanning different age groups, income strata, household types and political affiliations. According to a study by the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University and the National Recreation and Park Association, America’s local park agencies generated more than $166 billion in economic activity and supported more than 1 million jobs from their operations and capital spending alone in 2017.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that increased access to places for physical activity led to a 25.6% increase in people exercising three or more times per week. Living close to parks and other recreation facilities is consistently related to higher physical activity levels for both adults and youths. Children that have easy access to a playground are approximately five times more likely to have a healthy weight than children that do not have easy access to playgrounds.

This week I will continue to highlight members of the North Augusta PRT staff who help make North Augusta a better place to live, work and play. Our spotlight in this column will shine on the athletic staff led by Program Coordinator II, Jeff Williamson, Program Coordinator I, J.R. Williams, Program Coordinator Derek Boyd and Center Program Coordinator Ryan Webb. The athletic staff has worked hard during this pandemic to provide summer athletic programs and camps for the young people and their families in our community. We are extremely proud of their efforts in 2020 as our department is one of the few across the area and the state that did not cancel their spring sports programs. This staff was patient and persistent in doing their homework on providing as safe an atmosphere as possible to our players, coaches and parents. They knew that the summer leagues would not be for everybody but wanted to accommodate those still wanting to play.

The athletic staff work predominately second shift of 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. during the week overseeing the athletic leagues of baseball, basketball, cheerleading, football, softball, soccer and volleyball. They are the frontline employees who organize the leagues by finding volunteer coaches, supervising the evaluations of the participants, conducting the drafts of the teams, making the league schedules, distributing the uniforms and equipment, recruiting and scheduling the game officials, and providing onsite supervision of the games. They take countless numbers of phone calls, texts and emails trying to answer questions and listen to the coaches, parents and spectators. These are the same staffers making the decisions on when to play or not to play on bad weather days and rolling up their pants legs to help the maintenance crew work on getting fields ready after rain delays. Athletic competition through team sports provide great memories for the young people in our community and we are so thankful to our athletic staff for working hard to make these opportunities possible.

Adventure Camp 2020 is in its eighth week at the North Augusta Community Center. The last week of camp begins Monday, Aug. 3, for rising first graders-sixth graders. Camp is $100 per week with the daily sessions running from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Early drop-off at 8 a.m. is available as well as late pickup at 6 p.m. Camp registrations are accepted online at www.northaugusta.net and at the front counter of the Riverview Park Activities Center. Eight weeks of Adventure camp has totaled 170 participants to date.

Riverview Park is having a great week of camp participation this week with 64 participants in the Yellow Jacket Baseball Camp and 46 participants in the Pat Carpenter Cheerleading camp.

Stay tuned to our North Augusta PRT Facebook page at www.facebook.com/northaugusta.recreation for information on our programs and facilities.