Return of youth football, kickball headline Siler City Parks and Rec’s ‘relatively normal’ summer operations

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SILER CITY — If you’re looking for ways to stay active this summer, Siler City Parks and Recreation has you covered.

After two years of modifications, restrictions and regulations, Siler City Parks and Rec is fully open for business, allowing some programs and athletic leagues to return after a lengthy hiatus.

“The first year of COVID was tough,” Jack Clelland, the director of Siler City Parks and Rec, told the News + Record last week. “There were a lot of mandates, a lot of requirements. As far as capacity limit requirements, last year was a lot less strict, which was nice. … This year, though, we’re operating relatively normally. Of course, COVID is still around and it’s still an issue, so we do remind folks about that, but as far as restricting our operations, it’s not doing that anymore.”

Less restrictions means that some of the town’s primary athletic facilities are up-and-running for the public, including Bray Park Aquatic Facility — an outdoor pool open from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. every day with a $5 admission fee for ages 3 and up — and Ernest Ramsey Gym, located at 512 E. Sixth St., which features an indoor walking program and free open gym times for both youth and adults throughout the week.

This is in addition to Siler City’s six local parks — equipped with a variety of baseball/softball fields, playgrounds, walking tracks, basketball courts, soccer fields, tennis/pickleball courts and more — and three tracks/greenways, including the Loves Creek Greenway at 623 S. Second Ave., which stretches 1.4 miles in length.

While registration is closed for some of the department’s early summer programs, including softball and baseball for 10U and 12U age groups, Siler City Parks and Rec has recently opened online registration for a few athletic leagues beginning in early August, including cheerleading, flag and tackle football and kickball.

Cheerleading is open to both boys and girls aged 5-12 and will follow the same schedule as football with the goal of “providing positive encouragement and spirit for Siler City’s youth football teams,” according to the department’s website.

There are four levels of football available for registration, too, with an 8U, 10U and 12U Jets tackle football team competing alongside Alamance County Parks in a league that’s new to Siler City for the 2022 season. Previously, Siler City Parks and Rec participated in the QUAD County Recreational Football League with teams from Randolph, Orange and Wake Counties, which the department had been partnered with for years.

However, the town’s flag football league, hosted only for children aged 5-6, will continue to play in the QUAD County Recreational Football League this season.

For the second time ever, Siler City Parks and Rec is bringing back its youth kickball league with the addition of a new 10U age group.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Clelland said. “That league was developed to kind of give an idea of what we used to play when we were kids. It’s an alternative to baseball and football and basketball. It’s a lot simpler game that’s a lot easier to learn, but it keeps you active and it’s really fast-paced. … It’s roll, kick, run — all the things kids need to do during the summer and fall to burn off some energy.”

Registration for all of the late summer/early fall leagues, including cheerleading, football and kickball, ends on July 22.

On Sept. 10, Siler City Parks and Rec is partnering with AFE TKD Martial Arts Studio in Siler City, located at 1334 E. 11th St., for “Taekwondo For You,” a series of classes for children aged 3-13 that’ll offer “a strong foundation in essential character qualities such as courtesy, respect and discipline,” according to the website.

The $50 registration fee will be good for eight Saturday class sessions between Sept. 10 and Oct. 29 and include a uniform. Each class will be taught by Master Antonio Ara, the founder of AFE TKD. The deadline to sign up is Aug. 26.

“Our main goal is to put on quality programs that provide positive experiences for youth and their parents through recreation,” Clelland said. “It’s an opportunity to get out, be active, make friends and learn something new. … I think we do a great job of providing those experiences and we want folks to come out and be a part of them with us.”

For more info on programs, facilities and registration, visit the Siler City Parks and Rec website.

Reporter Victor Hensley can be reached at vhensley@chathamnr.com or on Twitter at @Frezeal33.

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