Editorial: Youth recreation needed

A look at the program offerings from the South Dundas Recreation department fails to offer much to youth in the winter months.

There appears to be very few options available to keep kids active. Organized sports are not readily available unless you registered your child for it in September. This is an ongoing problem.

At the start of the school year in September many parents are not ready, and many students are not ready to commit, to a five or six month sports season. Getting settled into the routines of school should have more priority. And the fact is that not all kids have the maturity to make such long-term commitments. Many kids frankly do not want to play a long season of organized sports.

Once the routines of school and family life have been settled, many families will have missed the boat for enrolling in sports programs unless they are willing to travel outside of South Dundas. And that’s only if there is room for them. Program costs and transportation are also hinder the creation of more recreation.

South Dundas does have the benefit of many smaller recreation spaces available, as well as four public school gymnasiums. But other obstacles exist including insurance issues and setting up registration.

Many of the great recreation programs in this community are run solely by volunteers. Could the municipality step forth and become a facilitator working with recreation groups and volunteers to start more youth programming? Could the municipality provide blanket insurance coverage for these programs, see to booking space, and help with forms? Such commitments would go a long way to growing youth recreation opportunities.

And recreation does not necessarily just mean sports either. The arts – music, drama, and visual arts – are just as important. Could the municipality foster support for other kid-centric programs?

Given the results of last year’s youth engagement survey which South Dundas undertook, expanding recreation opportunities would go a long way to retaining our current residents, and encouraging people with families to move to the area.

Work needs to be done to establish viable, accessible, varied recreation programs in South Dundas. The alternative could be families travelling outside the community to get what they need: if that becomes the case, why stay?

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