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D.C. parks offer kids summer programs

(Published July 1, 2002)

By KEVIN NASH

Staff Writer

Even though itís July and summer recreation programs are in full swing, officials say itís not too late for young people to register for city-run sports leagues and camps or to drop in at neighborhood recreation centers to participate in free athletic activities.

Programs offered by the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation, with various sessions throughout the summer, include sports camps, sports leagues and 53 urban specialty camps. They focus on sports like baseball, basketball, tackle football, soccer and cheerleading.

Swimming and field trips also are part of the recreation center programs. While participating in the camps requires a registration fee, each neighborhood recreation center also has free activities such a tee-ball, basketball and soccer. There is no late fee for registering at a neighborhood recreation center or "Camp Central," located at 4301 Connecticut Ave. NW.

"Some [participants] may do an urban camp in one session and a sports camp in another session," said recreation department spokesman Terry Lee.

Lee estimates about 10,000 young people will take part in organized city programs this summer, about the same number that did so last year.

"Most of these programs are 30 years old," he said. "Last year, we had a small drop in attendance because D.C. Public Schools offered summer school to more students. This year, itís going to be back to normal because DCPS didnít offer summer school to as many students."

Most sports camps are $40 per one-week session for D.C. residents and $60 per one-week session for non-residents, with the exception of the half-day baseball and tackle football camps. Specialty camp fees also vary.

Sports camp programs include the following:

Three specialty camps, with various sessions, are being offered this summer:

The recreation department also offers two youth leadership programs Ė the Roving Leader Program and the Junior Roving Program. The Roving Leader Program focuses on youth gang prevention and other crime deterrence strategies.

"This program has been around for 20 years," Lee said. "This is not only a summer program, it is year-round. The Roving Leader Program is most important during the summer when kids are not in school."

Copyright 2002, The Common Denominator