Recreation Authority reps speak to Rotary Club

Published 4:24 pm Tuesday, June 12, 2018

A team from the Bainbridge Decatur County Recreational Authority, led by Executive Director Al Kelley, came to Tuesday’s Rotary program to speak of the various athletic programs available to the community.

Kelley began by explaining the Authority was organized three years ago, is overseen by a board of six members and explained how it was funded before turning the program over to Karson King, project director.

King gave a detailed list of the sports activities available throughout the year, the ages they cover and when they are played.

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Included are such introductory sports as flag football for children ages three to six. This is to give the youngest a basic background for the sport so they will be ready to start playing tackle football beginning at age 7 to 12.  Also covered were cheerleading, baseball, softball and soccer, the newest program, first offered in 2017. King was especially proud that the new soccer team achieved the goal of becoming the district champ in the U8 Division.

T-Ball is another very popular program for ages 3 – 6 offered March through April. There were 151 participants who made up 12 T-Ball teams this year.

Next speaker was Tim Thompson who spoke of the tennis programs offered for all ages, beginning as early as three years. There are even tennis teams offered for some with disabilities, such as those in a wheel chair.

He also explained the Level Up program, a premier free tennis and academic program that attracted 80 kids this past academic year. They were actively recruited from the elementary schools. First they learn basic tennis, then focus on community events and problem solving.

Thompson stressed the importance of tennis to Bainbridge, as the sport brings many from other communities here to compete. They place ‘heads on beds’ and spend money in the community for food, gasoline and lodging.

He commented on Bainbridge being the site for the state tennis tournament in October, when there will be approximately 300 coming to town. Individuals may be interested in renting out their homes to some of the players.

Once again King took the microphone and spoke of the summer exposure camp run by all of the staff members. It gives youth, both boys and girls, a chance to taste a sample of each of the sports offered.

Other events in which the Authority is involved are the Easter Egg Scramble, the Egg Hunt, Films on the Flint and Rivertown Days. Sprint on the Flint, a relatively new event, is described as a “beginner triathlon,” where participants swim 400 meters, do a 12 mile bike ride and a 5K run.

King said they are always seeking new ideas, especially for working with those in the community who are disabled.