Kids returning to youth sports in the NRV

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) – The Town of Blacksburg, Town of Christiansburg and Montgomery County say they were happy with this past spring’s participation numbers in recreational sports.

In Montgomery County, youth baseball exceeded pre-pandemic levels.

“I think people just feel safer to get back out and do stuff again and everybody wants to go play, get off the couch, get outside, and we were ready for them,” Montgomery County Parks and Rec’s Chris Slusher said.

Slusher says over 330 kids played baseball and softball this past spring. Now, they’re hoping to get that same turnout on the football field this fall.

“Right now we’re probably looking at four teams, so it would be nice to have six teams countywide,” he said.

In the Town of Christiansburg, participation in rec sports is soaring.

“I just went back and looked over our annual report numbers from this past year to the year before, and we’re at about 1200 participants compared to the year before; we were at about 800,” Christiansburg’s Parks and Recreation Director Brad Epperley said.

He says the pandemic slowed youth sports but now it’s full speed ahead.

“We want kids to be active, we want people in our community to be active, and we’re just excited to be able to provide that opportunity for them,” Epperley said.

Dean Crane with the Town of Blacksburg’s Parks and Recreation Department says they’ve also seen a big return to youth sports, especially on the gridiron.

“This summer, there are lots of people coming back, lots of camps going on,” he said. “Programs have been very well participated in. We did offer a football camp this year, and we had over 63 people come out to it and that’s over double of what we had last year.”

All three localities agree the more kids who come out for sports, the better the experience is for everyone.

“The more kids we can get, the more teams we can get, so the better competition we can get,” Crane said. “If we only get 16, it’s really hard to field the team. If we get 30, then we can split into two teams and the kids can get more playing time.”

All three localities say their fall registration for sports is open now and there are plenty of sports and activities for children to try out this fall.

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