Recreational activities promoted at Rotary Club

Published 4:57 pm Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Left to right, Loree McConnell, Valerie Faircloth, Al Kelley and Tim Thompson all visited Rotary this week to talk about the Recreational Authority.

Just about any sport or recreational opportunity in Bainbridge and Decatur County falls under the direction of the Bainbridge-Decatur County Recreational Authority, under the leadership of Al Kelley and a board of six directors. Kelley and three staff members came to Rotary this week to give an update on the activities overseen by the Authority since it was created as a result of the City and County Government Service Delivery strategy. Kelley, who has been a City employee for 34 years, said prior to the agreement, the City had been the sole financer of what was then known as Leisure Services. The new venture is now funded by a county-wide tax of 1.50 mills, which will drop over the years to 1.25 mills.

A slide presentation illustrated the organized sporting events beginning with TEE Ball for ages 3 to 6, which had 171 participants.

Others, listed with eligible ages in parenthesis, then numbers of participants are:

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Baseball, (7-15) 212; Softball, (7-17) 158; Flag Football (3-6) 62; Football (7-12) 166; Cheerleading (3-12) 90. Soccer is a new sport program that will be introduced this fall.

Kelley indicated the entire program is growing every year and there are long-range plans to build a multi-purpose building. He commended the nine full-time employees of the Authority, saying they deal with a lot of children, as well as some angry parents who may feel their children didn’t get to play as much as others. He said their staff has to handle “a lot of gray areas” and they do it well.

Adult activities include Co-ed softball for those over 18 and up; Boot camp, described as six weeks of strenuous exercise for those 18 and over.

Then there are the Senior Center activities, overseen by Program Director, Karson King. This year they went on Tuesdays to the center and held a cupcake decorating contest, a Senior Prom, collected and printed recipes for a cookbook and held an ice cream social.

Tim Thompson, tennis program director, then spoke on the tennis programs and opportunities where there are leagues for all ages, citing one 91 year old and a three year old who play regularly, and summer camps for those who want to learn to play.

The opportunity exists to host the Adult State Championship with 350 players, or the High School Tournament with 200 kids and the USTA Jr. Tournament with over 600 players. The Adult State Championship is bid on each year, and if we are successful, it will bring 350 people to town for three or four days to stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants and visit our retail stores.

Thompson also commented on the Level Up after school program. They have received a grant that has allowed them to go into the 3rd and 4th grades one day a week, where they can impact a large group of kids in a positive way. This fall it will increase to two days a week and be for elementary and middle school students.

Additional community activities were explained by Valerie Faircloth, the marketing and special events director, who explained the Sprint on the Flint Triathlon held in October of last year when 120 people did a swim, bike an stride. It will be repeated again this October. Muddy Buddy is a one-mile mud course for kids age 5 and above.

Rivertown Days, done in cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce, offers a one-mile bike ride for kids and a 5K race. Other activities mentioned were Films on the Flint and the Easter Egg Hunt, various summer camps, including the Oscar Jackson Summer Camps, one of which is underway this week.

There will be a soccer camp in July, and in two weeks Bainbridge and Decatur County will host the District/State GRPA Softball tournament.

Anyone interested in sponsoring or volunteering to help in any of these programs, as well as become a participant, is invited to contact Al Kelley and staff at 248-2010 or 248-2180. 

Tennis questions should be directed to the Tennis Center or Tim Thompson at 248-2020.