Wednesday, April 10th, 2013
By William Kincaid
Enrollment in parks programs expected to increase this year
  CELINA - Participation in youth sports programs organized by the Celina Department of Parks and Recreation is expected to increase this year, director Jeff Fortkamp says.
Fortkamp, the keynote speaker at the Celina Rotary Club meeting Tuesday afternoon, spoke of popular long-standing activities such as baseball, softball, soccer and football, as well as new events planned for this year.
He initially worried the recession the last few years would result in decreased participation.
"It's happened the opposite way," he said. "I think people are taking less vacations; so why not for $25, my kid can be busy with (sports). That's why we're trying to do the extra things ... keep these kids active."
Some parents even give additional money to help pay for other kids, he said.
"We don't let anyone not play because they can't pay," Fortkamp said. "Even if we run out of the money that's kept, we don't exclude the kids."
Preliminary sign-up numbers are good for this year.
"We've got 500 kids signed up right now," he said about the upcoming baseball and softball programs. "We've got 40 teams."
He said the department is going to try a kickball program to run between baseball season and soccer and football seasons. Sign-up cards will be distributed at the schools.
Details about eligible ages and exact schedule are pending.
"We really don't know yet until we know how many kids sign up," he said. "We'll just play it by ear."
Flag football started last year attracted 60 kids from grades K-5 and will return this year.
"We didn't really know how it would go, how many would sign up," he said. "You want to see something adorable, watch a little kindergartner play flag football."
A home-run derby will be back too this year. Last year 47 kids ages 5 and older tried to smack a baseball over various lines painted on the grass field.
"We also started a fall festival last year," he said. "It was probably over 500 people out there."
The day started with a morning fishing derby and included a punt-pass-and-kick contest, hay ride, face-painting and more.
"We've already started meeting for this year," he said.
More adult-centered activities such as a golf tournament and scotch doubles tournament likely will be back too this year. Funds generated help the department purchase equipment for various programs.
For more information about upcoming events and activities, visit the department's Facebook page at Celina Parks and Recreation.
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