Leon County resumes youth sports

Children at I9 split into two groups before playing capture the flag. Photo Courtesy Marissa Stubbs

Children in Leon County are ecstatic as fall sports safely resumed under CDC guidelines. Leon County made this plan effective on Sept. 29.

Recreational centers and parks all across the county are now open for sports activities. However, these facilities are required to follow strict protocols.

Leigh Davis, director of the parks and recreation, says the safety precautions being practiced have exceeded her expectations.

“I’ve been very impressed with our sports providers and how they are diligently working to make sure our kids are safe and the coaches are safe. Our sports providers are aware and conscious, so I feel very certain everyone has the best interest in our kids,” Davis said.

19 sports, a local after-school program, resumed its activities on Thursday. At I9 Sports children engage in homework time, indoor activities and have a chance to learn a weekly value. The program also focuses on cultivating a fun and relaxed environment where kids can learn all kinds of sports.

Erica Cucinella, program director at I9 Sports, said  the program emphasizes sportsmanship.

“What we do with I9, we share the experience and excitement of sports, playing together and cheering on your teammates. I’m so excited I get a chance to do this with these kids,” Cucinella said.

On Friday Cucinella and her staff played a wide range of games with the children. These games included; capture the flag and swim-fishy-swim. All sports activities are played outside, allowing social distancing. Each week the program highlights a sport and a full scrimmage is held on Friday.

While playing the games, children are split into groups, where they practice team building skills and character skills. The children range in ages from 5-13 and are split up in groups based on age.

Coaches and staff members are required to wear masks when engaging in activities with children. Children are also encouraged to bump elbows instead of clapping hands.

With safety protocols intact, coaches like Khalia Garvey are enjoying the fresh air.

“It’s a good feeling, the kids get to be outside and not have to worry about if they will get sick. We can just have fun, that’s what I missed the most,” Garvey said.

The I9 Sports after-school program, offers youth sports leagues, camps and clinics for ages 3 and up in local communities. During the fall season the center offers basketball, volleyball, soccer, flag football and baseball.

For more information, visit i9sports.com.