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Parks reaching out to kids with programming

Horaces parks will be hopping with activity once again this summer, as kids learn the basics of sports. Meanwhile, parents will send prayers of thanks for people like Jean Fisher and Julie Dahlin, as the kids get out of the house for a little bit during summer vacation.

All of this, of course, will be weather permitting. Or, maybe rain or shine.

Actually, if its raining, we have been using the gymnasium at Horace Elementary for a lot of activities on those days. Obviously, there wont be games, but the kids will at least have practices, Fisher said, drawing more words of praise from parents all over the Bean City in her direction.

All kidding aside, the Horace Park Board is gearing up for a summer that will feature activities old and new for an ever-expanding population of kids. As the community keeps growing, so does the interest in local summer activity.

Thats where Fisher, along with Dahlin, have stepped in. Fisher has headed up the park programming for several years, and said she expects 125-140 kids to participate in everything from T-ball seasons to two-week golf clinics. She said the growing community is giving the park board new opportunities that they havent necessarily had before.

Weve added girls softball recently, and were now expanding that to a new age group just because the kids who started it are moving out of the old one, but they want to keep playing, she said. Thats pretty neat.

Girls softball started with a group of 9-12-year-olds who showed interest in the game. The teams play at the ball diamonds just east of the four-way stop right in the center of Horace, and practice almost daily. Now, the older kids, age 13-16, are continuing the tradition they started just three years ago.

I see them out in public and they tell me how excited they are about it, Fisher said. They cant wait until the fields are ready to go.

The deadline for the girls to sign up is coming soon, with sign-up on May 6 at City Hall. Kids and parents can also mail in their entries to the Horace Park Board at P.O. Box 161, Horace, ND, 58047. Or, just call Jean Fisher at (701) 277-0733.

Were a little bit worried about getting the word out to those kids because that age group is out at the Cheney Middle School, so we cant just put it up on the board there. Its just for Horace kids. We couldnt handle all of them (in that age group), Fisher said.

T-Ball, of course, is back for another big run in Horace. The season runs from June 1 to July 27 and is targeted for all kids ages 5 through 8. Teams practice Monday through Thursday, and play games an average of six night games throughout the eight weeks of the season (not counting scrimmages) and will play teams in town and out of town, taking on squads from Kindred, Colfax, Walcott and Hickson.

They (the kids) absolutely love it, she said. And the parents like it so much because it gets them involved in something.

For those not ready to commit to a full softball or T-ball season, there are other mixed sports that run for a couple of weeks. Badminton, basketball, sand volleyball, tennis and golf clinics are planned throughout the months of June and July. And kids can sign up for one or all of them. Even those involved in t-ball or softball can come on out for mixed sports.

The practice times are usually different, so they can do both if they want to, Fisher said.

The biggest surprise, Fisher said, was the popularity of the golf clinic, which was just held in the outfield of the ball diamonds. She said someday, that program might get to the point where the kids utilize the new golf course in Osgood, but she said the kids are happy swinging away in the grass, for now.

I guess if it gets that big, someone else will have to teach it, she said with a laugh. I enjoy golf, but Im not that good. I dont know enough about it.

Fisher said the Horace Park Board has been great to work with as the programming needs have expanded for the community. And working with the West Fargo School District and the Horace Elementary School staff has been a breeze for those rainy days.

Weve really enjoyed that cooperation, she said. It would be a bummer if the kids had to stay home every time it rained. June has been a pretty wet month lately.

For more information regarding all of the Horace Park Board activities, call Fisher at (701) 277-0733, or sign up at the Horace City Hall this Saturday, located at 215 Park Dr. E.