The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Progress 2013

March 30, 2013

A cure for the summertime blues

EJRT sports and educational programs keep local children occupied, active during break

ENID, Okla. — The long, hot, lazy days of summer can sometimes be hard to fill, especially for parents trying to keep their children active and entertained.

Enid Joint Recreation Triad’s summer program offers a variety of activities to help keep children occupied, and keep them moving.

EJRT is planning its 38th summer program, with activities including tennis, swimming, volleyball, golf and bowling, as well as a morning’s worth of learning and fun at Booker T. Washington Center.

“All this is basically to get a lot of kids introduced to these sports,” said Randy McClendon, EJRT summer director.

EJRT is funded by the city of Enid and through fees paid by participants. It is administered by a 12-member board, four appointed by the city commission, four by the board of education and four by the EJRT board. The board’s current president is Troy Enmeier.

EJRT also administers baseball and football programs, but those are self-funded through team entry fees and are separate from the summer program.

Swimming lessons are offered for a $15 pool fee. Students must be at least 6 or 42 inches tall to participate. The classes are taught by Susan Glasgow and are held at Champlin Pool.

“That definitely wouldn’t cover what it would cost for someone to go take private swimming lessons,” said McClendon.

Students are encouraged to take multiple swimming lessons, said McClendon.

“They go through several levels,” he said. “Just because you go through level one doesn’t mean you’re a swimmer. They like for kids to go through, over the summer, or over the years, different levels, to become a pretty good swimmer.”

Water safety is a key aspect of the EJRT summer swimming program, McClendon said.

“Swimming is something everybody needs to know how to do,” he said.

Last summer there were 415 paid participants in the EJRT swimming program, said McClendon.

Lessons are held in mornings and evenings. The evening sessions are relatively new and very popular, McClendon said.

“We haven’t had to cut people off, but we’ve come awfully close,” McClendon said. “We’ve had to call in extra instructors, because the parents are off work at that time. It’s very, very popular.”

Both the swimming and tennis programs go in the hole each summer, McClendon said, because of the cost of paying instructors and supervisors.

“That’s what the city gives us money for, is to run the program,” he said.

No child will be denied the opportunity to participate in EJRT summer activities because of an inability to pay, McClendon said.

Golf lessons are $35 per child and are open to those ages six through 12. Classes are taught by Meadowlake Golf Course pro Cody Lack, and others, in two one-week sessions at the city layout.

“That’s one of our booming programs,” said McClendon. “We’ve had more interest in golf the last couple of years than some of the other sports.”

There were 36 participants in EJRT’s golf program in 2012.

Tennis lessons cost $25 for two days a week and $40 for four. They are taught by state-ranked player Bruce Hess, assisted by local high school players. EJRT tennis is conducted at the Crosslin Park courts. There were 188 players enrolled in EJRT tennis last summer.

“We don’t have it definite yet, but we’ve talked about a tennis tournament for the kids at the end of the tennis lessons, to give these kids some tournament experience,” said McClendon.

Booker T. Washington Center’s summer program includes tutoring, computers, arts and crafts, swimming, bowling and out-of-town field trips. It costs $40 per month, which includes breakfast and a snack for each child in grades kindergarten through sixth. It is run by Clifford Porter at the Booker T. Washington Center, 800 S. 5th. Booker T. Washington Center averaged 55 children daily last summer.

Some of the children in the BTW program also participate in EJRT swimming lessons.

Oakwood Activity Center hosts the week-long volleyball clinic, conducted by Enid High volleyball coach Steve Bloom, his staff and players. There are two 90-minute sessions daily, one for children in grades three through five and the other for those in sixth through eighth grades. The cost is $35.

Fun bowling is offered in two sessions each Wednesday during the summer. The cost is $3 per day for two games.

“It’s open to anyone who wants to come out and enjoy a cool afternoon under the air conditioning,” McClendon said. “The kids can come out and have a good time.”

McClendon said the people running the EJRT summer programs make his job easier.

“They handle things very well,” he said.

Dates and times for this summer’s programs haven’t been set, but brochures will be distributed to local schools in early May. For information, visit EJRT’s website at www.ejrtsports.com.

Over the decades, EJRT’s summer programs have touched thousands of lives.

“There are some weeks that over a thousand kids participate, just in those programs,” McClendon said.

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Progress 2013
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