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Stop complaining and join the fun

Despite many recreational opportunities here in the Roanoke-Chowan area, adults still seem to complain there’s nothing for their children to do.

My advice to them is either open their eyes and witness what this area has to offer or get off their duff and become a volunteer to a wealth of recreational outlets we are blessed with here.

For well over 25 years, maybe longer, the town of Ahoskie has offered numerous activities for children. Personally, my association with the town’s Rec Department dates back to my days of covering sports for this newspaper (the mid-80’s to 2000). The majority of my work was centered on the spring/summer youth baseball and softball leagues, but the town has added youth basketball to the mix. Plus there are other area groups that sponsor youth soccer and football.

Bertie County’s youth recreational programs are as old as Davis Park, and I don’t know when that was built. While the leagues at Davis Park are private, that doesn’t prevent any young person from participation as the county has its own recreation program.

Just last week, this newspaper published a half-page of activities hosted by the Bertie County Recreation Department. The list included T-ball, tennis, swimming, football, soccer, cheerleading, gymnastics and flag football. And have you seen the new Bertie Recreation Complex? It’s just off US 17 North in Windsor and it’s a sight to behold. Bertie County officials, along with the Town of Windsor, have not cut any corners to offer a spacious area for youth to stretch their legs and their athletic imagination.

It did my heart good to see the folks over in Aulander, namely the Aulander Ruritan Club, give rebirth to youth baseball and softball at the old ballpark. I spent a lot of my youth, and later playing adult men’s softball, at that park. The league is up and running, providing recreational opportunities for the children in that area of Bertie County.

Over in Northampton County, the new Health & Wellness Center is now open. There, the Northampton County Recreation Department has plans for many activities for young people. Call James Roberts (534-1303) for all the latest news.

Back in February, Hertford County officials accepted a $250,000 grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation. That money is earmarked to develop recreation programs for young people. The best is yet to come.

Ditto for the folks up in Gates County. They landed an $800,000-plus grant from Golden LEAF to renovate the county’s Community Center. Part of that renovation plan is the construction of a skateboard park, the first of its kind in our area.

I write this to remind all those pessimists that despite having limited resources, we are fortunate to have local leaders dedicated to providing recreational opportunities to our young people. There are ample recreational programs here…one just has to get off their duff and discover what we have instead of complaining what we lack.

And what we do have is not limited to town or county sponsored recreation. There are active and extremely successful 4-H programs in our neck of the woods as well as Boys and Girls Scouts.

Stop complaining and become a volunteer to help make these programs better. If enough parents get involved in these aforementioned recreational outlets or get in on the ground floor of new ones in the works, we’ll be better off by maintaining and developing wholesome, educational and fun programs that help young people learn that it is possible to laugh and have fun without resorting to vulgarity, illicit behavior and rudeness.

Cal Bryant is Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and Gates County Index. He can be reached at 252-332-7207 or at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com.