BOONE — On the recommendation of the Watauga Parks and Recreation Department, the Watauga County Board of Commissioners on May 19 voted to cancel all day camps for the summer.
The commissioners also voted to cancel all youth baseball, youth softball, spring soccer, tennis camps and spring adult softball schedules.
“It’s not what we want to do, but right now based on everything we’ve got and timelines and the whole nine yards, we’ve canceled all of our spring and summer programs,” Watauga Parks and Recreation Director Stephen Poulos said.
The Parks and Recreation Department said in a statement that full refunds will be processed immediately. The statement said checks will be mailed by June 12.
“Our department did not enter into this recommendation lightly,” the statement said. “Through consultation with the health department, Watauga County Schools officials, guidance from the CDC and NCDHHS, meetings through the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Association and out of concern for our youth and our staff, the cancellation of these programs was our best option.”
Poulos said the youth baseball and softball teams, which were postponed when their seasons started, would normally be finishing their seasons and preparing for all-star tournaments.
Even if Watauga was to form all-star teams, the league’s parent organization, Tar Heel Baseball, has already canceled the all-star games Watauga would play.
The tournament Watauga uses as a warm-up for the Tar Heel tournaments, the Will Dicus Memorial, has also been canceled.
“We wanted to get about a month out, but we don’t see any way we could have crowds there,” co-tournament director Marty Lambert said. “It’s very sad and very disheartening, because I don’t know if we could get teams for the kids to participate.”
Poulos also did not know the overall financial effect closing those programs down would be.
“Fortunately we didn’t start the programs, so we didn’t order uniforms and some of that stuff, but it’s going to be a hit financially on the county,” Poulos said.
Poulos did not know when the new recreation center that is under construction would open.
“We’re going to keep monitoring the situation and if we can offer something sometime between now and a month or two months from now, whatever the case may by, we will attempt to do that in some manner,” Poulos said.
Those with questions are encouraged to contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 828-264-9511 or online at www.wataugacounty.org.