By Matt de Simone
The Botetourt County Parks & Recreation Department and Botetourt County booster clubs have agreed to work together to offer youth baseball and softball this spring. The agreement was reached earlier this month.
Botetourt County follows the Virginia Department of Health’s (VDH) safety guidelines to ensure the spring sports season is safe for the players, coaches, and parents.
One of the silver linings of the 2020 pandemic came in discovering alternative routes toward reaching goals. Mandy Adkins, the director of Parks & Recreation for Botetourt County, believes this partnership is another alternative route that will prove successful.
“We weren’t sure that we were going to be able to offer [sports] programming,” Adkins said. “We have a great group of volunteers that serve on our booster club board. They stepped up and were willing to offer help. It just seemed like a win-win for both parties to be able to change the way we’ve done things in the past.”
The booster clubs usually have helped provide support for the Parks & Rec Department. Now, the booster clubs will be responsible for more of the logistics of spring recreational programming. The boosters will now be in charge of registrations for spring sports and hiring officials for games with the county’s support.
The Rec Department will provide all of the fields and work maintenance free of charge.
“We’ll work with [the booster clubs] on what their need is in terms of fields, availability, and when they want to host games,” Adkins continued.
In terms of inclement weather, Adkins stated that the maintenance department would closely work with her in field availability decisions.
Many parents are excited to have their kids outside once again competing on the ball field. Adkins understands that, over the past year, children throughout the county have faced their share of obstacles in playing rec sports. The parents are right there with the children in terms of dealing with changes to everyday life, she said.
Fortunately, the parents of Botetourt’s youth athletes won’t see many changes on their end. According to Adkins, online registration for spring baseball and softball could open sometime in the next few weeks. Everything revolves around the guidelines set by the VDH.
“It will not look like your traditional sports season, pre-COVID,” Adkins explained. “There will obviously be safety measures in place. The booster clubs are taking the lead on creating all of those guidelines and what they’ll walk through. As soon as they have everything nailed down, they’ll release them to the public.”