Ongoing problems that wreaked havoc in last summer's youth summer recreation program could be only glitches of the past, town officials say.
Fueling the fiasco of '99 was the construction of a music classroom on the stage in the Rim Country Middle School gymnasium. Since the inception of the program 15 years ago, it has been housed in that area. Not having that facility severely limited what activities recreation leaders Bruce Haught, Chuck Hardt and Cheri Brennen could offer.
Unable to conduct many of the most popular games and sports, attendance in the once highly popular program dwindled as youngsters searched for other recreational outlets.
Also, due to construction, the program's start was delayed a full week and on occasion it shut down without notice.
"It was a disaster ... it had me considering retirement," Haught one of the founders of the program said.
This summer, there will be limited construction occurring in the RCMS gymnasium but it shouldn't adversely affect the recreation program, school officials say.
Payson's Recreation Coordinator Beth Kreider said she has her fingers crossed. "Let's hope it goes as we've planned," she said.
Traditionally, the operating hours of the town-sponsored program have been 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. weekdays. But that will change this summer ...the hours have been expanded to 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
According to Kreider, the hours were lengthened because in past years, a handful of working parents would drop their children off at RCMS as early as 8 a.m.
Some preteens also stayed at the school after the program shut down waiting for their parents to pick them up. Those arriving early or staying late were without adult supervision.
Lengthening the hours, Kreider said, "was the responsible thing for us to do."
Once the program makes its 2000 debut Monday, it will continue operating weekdays except for July 4, 19, 20 and 24 until July 30.
The closure July 4 is for the Independence Day holiday. The closures in mid-July will allow for police training exercises at the school, Kreider said.
On hand full-time to supervise the youngsters will be both Haught and Hardt. Brennen will work from noon to 4 p.m.
The trio ask that attendance be limited to youngsters who have just completed the fourth grade to those entering their junior year in high school. The program is conducted free of charge and no registration is required.
Activities available include board games, foosball, bumper pool, table tennis, basketball, softball and a myriad of other offerings.
According to Haught, air hockey has long been one of the most popular activities attracting throngs of eager players.
However, the hockey table fell into disrepair last summer and won't be available for use.
Haught says the recreation leaders are exploring ways of acquiring a new or used table.
He asks that anyone who has a table they would loan or give the program contact him at 474-9293.
Lots of Goodwill
As part of the summer's recreational offerings, the leaders will conduct the 2000 edition of the Junior Goodwill Games June 20. Both boys and girls ages 8 to 13 are eligible to participate in one or all three sports of the competition.
The track and field events, which include a 50-meter sprint, standing long jump and Frisbee throw, begin at 10 a.m. on the high school track.
Basketball tips off at 11 a.m. in the middle school gym and will involve competition similar to the Pepsi Hot Shot event. Youngsters earn points for successful shot attempts from varying locations on the floor.
At 2 p.m. the games wrap up at Taylor Pool with swimming, which consists of a timed 25-meter freestyle event
Last summer, the Goodwill Games were not contested due to the construction problems.
For more information about the Goodwill Games or the summer program, call 474-5242, ext. 7.