Plenty To Do This Summer

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With local schools now in recess, preteens and teenagers will be scrambling to find sports and activities to fill the summertime void.

One of the real hot spots has long been the Town of Payson-sponsored Summer Youth Recreation Center that will be held June 12 to July 13 in the Rim Country Middle School gymnasium.

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Rim Country youths will soon be participating in a myriad of summertime activities.

Since the program's founding over 20 years ago by Bruce Haught and Wendy Joe, the rec center has been a popular spot to enjoy leisure summer hours.

After a long stint leading the program, Haught stepped aside three years ago, but the parks and recreation department has found competent leaders to fill the position.

This year, the hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday. There is no charge to participate, but some activities require a fee.

The organized activities include most all team sports, field trips and arts and crafts.

Another popular hot spot is Taylor Pool, where throngs of teens flock for open pool swimming from 1 to 5 p.m. each day. Admission is $2 per visit or pool passes are available -- 10 visits for $15.

The pool also hosts an organized swim team, formerly known as the Pikes, that was founded 20 years ago by Jim Quinlan.

During some summer seasons, the team roster featured more than 100 young swimmers, ages six to 18 years.

For more information about Taylor Pool or the summer recreation program, call (928) 474-5242, ext. 7.

At Payson High School, most all varsity coaches host summer sports programs for their athletes. Tournaments, practice sessions and weight training are among the activities.

Call (928) 474-2233 to inquire about a specific sport's summer program.

For girls fast pitch softball players, an ASA tournament will be held June 17 and 18 at Rumsey Park. The entry fee is $300 per team.

The inaugural Payson Sprint Triathlon will feature a youth division for aspiring athletes 7 to 14 years of age. It will consist of a 500-yard swim, 3-mile bike ride and 1.5 mile run. Participants can enter as a team or individually.

For more information on the softball tournament or Triathlon, call (928) 474-5242, ext 7.

An always-popular summer activities is the Turn and Burn progressive pole bending and barrel racing series held each Wednesday evening in August and September. Because it is a progressive format, there are no age groups but teenager riders are welcome to compete. Call Charlene Hunt at (928) 474-5242, ext. 260 for more information.

Also a popular outing on the summer agenda is the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball and softball training centers, to be held July 10 to 14 at Rumsey Park.

The camps are conducted each day from 8 to 11 a.m. and are open to both boys and girls 6 to 12 years old.

This summer, more than 95 week-long camps will be held in 35 Arizona towns over a nine-week period beginning Memorial Day. The camp fee is $150.

Visit www.dbacksoutreach.com or call (800) 821-7152 to register.

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