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South Salt Lake Journal

South Salt Lake rec kids sports program continues steady growth

Aug 05, 2019 11:16AM ● By Brian Shaw

Recreation sports programs continue to thrive in 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ned T. Johnston/Released)

By Brian Shaw | [email protected]

A few years ago, the South Salt Lake recreation department was struggling. Often it had trouble finding enough children to compete in the sports it was offering, according to Dustin Permann, recreation coordinator. 

And so the department had to become creative. 

In 2019, the department is thriving. No fewer than nine sports and camps are, or have been, offered and that's not even counting the activities in which the department teams up with the Police Athletic League and Promise South Salt Lake to oversee and operate. 

Starting with the city's first-ever traveling youth baseball teams, South Salt Lake now has three baseball leagues in which boys and girls can compete: Machine Pitch for 7-8 year olds, Minors for children ages 9-10 and Majors for 11-12-year-old children. 

The league ran through April, May and June according to Permann, culminating with team pictures and awards and a ticket to a Salt Lake Bees baseball game. 

Basketball has always been a hugely popular sport in the city as well, according to Permann. Dating all the way back to the early-to-mid 2000s when department officials like recreation director Aaron Wiet, a former Utah Utes basketball player and now-retired city official Tony Fabela laid the groundwork for that program, it's always been a major draw. 

To that end, the city now offers a summer basketball camp in addition to its popular winter leagues. Beginning on July 15 and going through July 19, kids in grades two through seven will learn skills not only from city officials like Wiet but also get to visit with a Utah Jazz player who will make a special appearance. 

However, by far the most popular sport in the city is still soccer. For residents in fourth through sixth grade, and for only $25 per player, the fall recreation soccer league is still the biggest show in town. 

Starting September 11 and running through October, kids will have the opportunity to play soccer this fall at the Central Park Community Center. Like the baseball league, participants will receive a T-shirt, an award and a team photo and play anywhere from six to eight games depending on the weather. 

While soccer may well be the most popular sport offered among the city's programs, flag football is also now available for children in the fourth to sixth grades. 

On Tuesday and Thursday evenings at the Columbus Center field in June and July, kids will learn football skills, play games and get a T-shirt and award for their participation. 

Finally this summer, a fun golf summer camp for kids returns to the city July 29-Aug. 9 at the Central Valley Golf Course. 

A youth volleyball camp also made its return to the Columbus Center Gym this June after debuting last year. High school and club team coaches not only come out and evaluate talent for their programs, they also teach volleyball skills in a fun but competitive setting. 

For information on these programs and more call the department at 801-412-3217.