Mixed re­sults for sum­mer pro­grams

Bay Roberts sees sig­nif­i­cant drop; Car­bon­ear on the in­crease

The Compass - - ORTHTE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER THE COM­PASS

The two big­gest towns in Con­cep­tion Bay North ap­pear to be mov­ing in op­po­site direc­tions when it comes to en­rol­ment in sum­mer re­cre­ation pro­gram­ming.

Bay Roberts saw a sig­nif­i­cant de­crease — nearly 50 per cent — in reg­is­tra­tion this year, while there was a noted in­crease in Car­bon­ear.

The is­sue was dis­cussed at a reg­u­lar pub­lic meet­ing last week of the Bay Roberts town coun­cil.

Turns out the town had about 170 chil­dren signed up for the seven-week pro­gram in 2012, while more than 300 took part in 2011.

In Car­bon­ear, mean­while, the num­bers grew by up to 30 chil­dren, with a to­tal en­rol­ment of some 150.

Bay Roberts re­cre­ation di­rec­tor Ian Flynn seemed un­fazed by the de­cline.

“We find it comes in waves,” Flynn ex­plained. “One year, we’ll have 180 kids and the next year, we’ll have over 300.”

This year will ob­vi­ously be recorded as a lull in the tide, and has prompted Flynn to start look­ing at ways to spark a re­newed in­ter­est.

For starters, the for­mat could be dra­mat­i­cally over­hauled.

“I’m look­ing at fol­low­ing some other town mod­els and do­ing a week-by-week reg­is­tra­tion in­stead of the seven-week pro­gram,” said Flynn. Flynn is also look­ing to add themes. “One week would be a jun­gle theme, and you’d gear your en­tire week to­ward what­ever that theme was,” he said. “It adds va­ri­ety.”

Flynn said one rea­son be­hind the de­cline is the va­ri­ety of pro­gram­ming avail­able to young peo­ple in the re­gion, in­clud­ing a surge in the pop­u­lar­ity of mi­nor soft­ball and soc­cer, and the fact that so many fam­i­lies are away for ex­tended pe­ri­ods dur­ing the sum­mer.

“One week we have 80 kids and the next week you have 20 kids,” he said.

Flynn said the pro­posed change in struc­ture is an at­tempt to breathe new life into the pro­gram.

Coun. Wade Oates said there are also fewer chil­dren. Oates is the town’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the re­cre­ation com­mit­tee.

“Ev­ery­one is start­ing their own as­so­ci­a­tion, and you’re fight­ing for the same kids at the end of the day,” added Flynn.

Did ‘fairly well’

In Car­bon­ear, re­cre­ation di­rec­tor Rob But­ton said his pro­gram did “fairly well” this past sum­mer.

“There’s more aware­ness of recre­ational needs in this day-and-age,” he said.

“We dropped a bit be­cause other towns be­gan run­ning their own pro­grams, so we weren’t get­ting the out­side chil­dren,” added But­ton.

He at­trib­uted this year’s in­crease to a greater fo­cus on the de­tails.

“We made sure we fol­lowed our les­son plan,” he ex­plained.

nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Com­pass file photo

Bay Roberts re­cre­ation di­rec­tor Ian Flynn is look­ing at ways to im­prove the town’s sum­mer pro­gram af­ter a nearly 50 per cent drop in reg­is­tra­tion.

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