With overnight camps cancelled and many day camps following suit, a group of local residents is working to provide outdoor opportunities for local kids.
Their primary concern: the mental health of children and their need to socialize and play outside with others their own age. But with playgrounds still closed and physical distancing measures in place, that can be near impossible to accomplish.
The grassroots group has come up with one viable option for parents so far—pickleball.
The game, which has likened to a mash-up of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong, is fun, easy to learn, and allows kids to play together while still being apart.
Local pickleball enthusiasts and instructors Jim and Lorna Poploski are volunteering their time to instruct and organize games for kids aged nine and up. Beginning July 6, they’ll be at the Meadow Park courts every Monday from 4-6 p.m. for two, one-hour sessions. Another volunteer will be there to coordinate. With groups no larger than 10 allowed to gather, that means up to seven children per time slot—from 4-5 or 5-6—can register to attend.
Parents will need to remain at the park, although they won’t be allowed to stand at the fence to watch. Hand-washing will be mandatory for players and they’ll use marked balls to ensure each child knows which ones are ‘theirs’.
The program is free for attendees. Paddles and balls will be provided for their use. Participants just need to wear running shoes, and bring a hat, sunscreen, and water.
The program is being supported by the Town of Huntsville, who is helping the group to meet the needed requirements.
Because there’s only space for seven children per time slot, you must preregister by emailing co-ordinator Mary Spring at email@example.com
“Many thanks to Jim and Lorna for their time and energy,” said Spring.
The group is hoping to coordinate other activities for kids this summer.
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