Athletes are returning to Nelson’s two most popular youth sports organizations.
Glacier Gymnastics restarted classes June 17, while Nelson Soccer Association plans to start skills camps — but no games — on Monday.
Glacier head coach Sandra Long said participation is currently limited to older gymnasts, with just two classes of 12 athletes total present at any given time.
“We’re lucky we have a great staff that’s very passionate and wanting to come back to work and focuses on children and not just their paycheques,” said Long. “So we have a lot of people who are putting in a lot of effort to get kids back into gymnastics.”
Long added there are plans to expand programming to younger athletes in July while allowing 24 kids to be active in the facility. Glacier typically had up to 60 athletes present before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Athletes are now required to sanitize their hands and feet, and parents aren’t allowed inside.
Long said there’s a waitlist to return, and that Glacier has tentative dates in mind for the return to full programming.
“I don’t foresee anybody really feeling like they shouldn’t be sending their kids here,” she said.
“It is very sterile environments in here now, way more than it used to be, that’s for sure. … People drop their kids off, they can’t even come into the facility, and they haven’t had any problems with that.”
Nelson Soccer Association meanwhile will begin hour-long skill sessions at Lakeside Park on Monday.
The practices, which run once per week through July 30, are limited to children aged 10 to 12, rep players aged 13 to 18, and adults 19 and up.
Four groups of 10 players will be limited to boxed off areas to work on drills provided by BC Soccer. Spectators won’t be allowed to stick around.
Executive director Sveta Tisma said there are currently no plans for play in August, when Nelson Soccer is usually off on a break.
“Right now I’m just thinking to deliver really good programming in July and then if that kind of proves that we are doing a good job then we can think about September,” said Tisma, who hopes to have 300 athletes take part.
Nelson Soccer Association has been the city’s most popular sports organization for many years. Last year the association had 1,368 players take part in its outdoor programs, while another 712 played indoor during the 2018-19 season.
Tisma said the association is also refunding people who signed up for the season prior to its suspension in March.
Some Nelson sports organizations are already up and running.
Granite Pointe Golf Course reopened in May, and the Nelson Tennis Club followed a short time later. Nelson Boxing Club has reopened sans sparring, and gyms including Power By You and Maverick Fitness are offering classes tied to Interior Health restrictions.
But others are still waiting for the proverbial puck to drop.
Nelson Mixed Slo-pitch is waiting for approval to play at its Lakeside Park diamonds. In a statement released June 18, the city said it was considering re-opening sports fields for training and non-contact sports activities by user groups.
“At this point, the provincial health officer has not yet approved competitive activities or contact sports, so these activities cannot yet be considered,” said the statement.
The park’s tennis and basketball courts, as well as the skate park and new disc golf course in Rosemont, have opened, but only for use by individuals or small groups from the same household or social bubble.
Meanwhile, there’s no word on when the Nelson and District Community Complex will begin offering indoor programming. Cube Climbing Centre, which is located at Selkirk College’s Mary Hall, also remains closed.
At least one organization has also decided to wait until 2021. The Nelson Baseball Association opted to suspend its season, which usually begins in April and runs through June.
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