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Program aims to emphasize youth activities

Youngsters in Clayton County will have plenty of activities to keep them busy in the new year, according to Nicole Horne, an administrator with the county’s Parks and Recreation Department.

“In general, with us being Parks and Recreation, [our focus] is to get kids active and involved, to promote health and wellness,” said Horne.

Horne said all recreation centers in Clayton County will offer an array of activities and classes this winter for youngsters looking to stay active. She said some of the more popular classes include arts and crafts, dance, ballet, tap dance, karate, cheerleading, and the fundamentals of basketball.

Registration for leisure classes ended on Dec. 31, she said, but late registration will be held Jan. 3-7, with a $10 late fee. She added that residents will not be able to register for basketball, at that time, because the athletics department will open registration for organized sports on Jan. 30. “Youths can register for soccer, track and field, baseball, and softball,” said Horne. “The organized sports will begin sometime in the spring.”

The recreation centers’ swimming pools and gyms are also available to youths and adults for a nominal fee: ages 3 to 17, Clayton residents, $2; adults 18 to 54, $3; for seniors, $5 per year. For residents outside Clayton County, Horne said, the fees are: $3 for those 3 to 17; $5 for adults, 18 to 54; and $15 per year for seniors.

The outdoor activities are a collaborative effort between the parks and recreation department and State Rep. Glenn Baker (D-Jonesboro) to push the “Getting Kids Outdoors” program, which is part of the Georgia Children’s Initiative, sponsored by Baker.

Baker has said the initiative was created because of a lack of exercise by many of the state’s children, and a corresponding rise in obesity and health issues among the young.

Horne agreed with Baker, and said, in her opinion, the reason why many youngsters are not getting the exercise they need is due to the advancement in technology.

“Because of 21st Century video games, computers, and cell phones, young people are sitting in their living rooms and not being active,” she said.

Horne said residents can visit the Clayton County Parks and Recreation web site at www.claytonparks.com, to get a complete listing of classes offered in the new year.