Some positive things are happening with the White County Recreation Department as it begins to open some of it's facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
WCRD Joe Gailey the latest news this week, including announcing the opening of several fields for use with baseball, softball, and soccer.
Seven fields at the department's facility are now open for use, according to Gailey.
“The older fields up here, No. 1-7, are open for use,” Gailey said. “You can have up to 10 people in a group, including any adults or coaches, and six people in the batting cages, also including any adult or coach. There is no charge to use the field, unless a team wants to rent the field for practice. Obviously, social distances measures will be required for use of the fields and batting cages. There will be times the fields will be allocated for team practices or use. If anyone wants to rent a field, they have to contact us and reserve it. We will also have the restrooms open from 5-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday.”
Gailey said the outdoor basketball court is now open along with the fitness room, but the swimming pool and indoor gym remain closed.
“We've opened the basketeball court, and group of no more than 10 can use it at one time, but must follow social distancing measure must be followed. The fitness room is open, but by reservation only. Anyone wanting to use the fitness room can call us and set up an appointment to come in. As far as the swimming pool is concerned, it remains closed at this time. There are a lot of guidelines needed to open the pool, and we aren't ready to open the pool. We are also keeping the indoor gym closed for the time being.”
Registration for fall youth football, cheerleading, soccer and baseball runs through June 19.
Registration is www.whitecounty.net. Just follow the links on the county website, fill out the paperwork, and pay online. There is no on-site registration at the moment, since all county offices are closed to the public. If that changes at some point, we'll let everyone know.”
Youth soccer in White County has been played through the Habersham Rapids program for the past several years, but the department is offering a fall recreational league this year. The league will be an in-house league with schedule comprising only of in-country teams.
“It's going to be new for us this year,” Gailey said. “We saw a dip in the number of kids in the soccer program last year, so we asked the Habersham Rapids if we could do a recreational league. It will be a purely recreational league where we'll be in house. We're hoping to start practicing in mid-to-late August. I've found that the soccer teams only need a couple of weeks to practice before they are ready to play. Hopefully, we'll be able to start games by the end of August.”
The soccer program will offer four age groups – Mini Kickers (3-4-years old), 6U, 8U, and 10U.
White County will be part of the Mountain Football League again this fall, fielding teams for ages 6-11. The MFL consists of programs from Chestatee, Dawson County, Fannin County, Gilmer County, Lumpkin County, Pickens County, Towns County, and Union County.
Gailey said the start dates for the upcoming season will mirror whatever plan the Georgia High School Association uses for the high school season.
“We'll follow what the GHSA does,” Gailey said. “We want to start practice July 6, with a week of conditioning, and then have a week in helmets, and then move into full pads. If those things happen, we'll play jamboree games on Aug. 15 and Aug. 22, and then have Opening Day on Aug. 29. But all of these plans depend on what the GHSA does.”
The fall baseball program will feature leagues in four age groups – Little Hitters (3-4-years old), 6U, 8U, and 10U.
“Baseball is a little different this year too,” Gailey said. “Last year, we allowed teams to register and play together, but this year we are going back to registering as individuals, with the kids going through an evaluation process and then picked by the coaches in a draft. Fall ball is going to be more important this year since we lost the whole spring season this year.”