Concerns over West Deptford’s allotments for youth sports leagues have at least one coach raising alarm bells and questioning whether some of those programs will still exist after budget season.
Steve Schneider, who heads up West Deptford Midget Football, voiced concerns over the future of the seven-on-seven passing league, a summer football league that acts as a bridge between the midget league and high school football, and as Schneider pointed out, is one of just a few activities aimed at teens during the summer.
“That’s a big part of our football program,” he said at this month’s rec advisory committee meeting. “It’s a major concern.”
And delays in finding out whether the passing league’s allotment will be back in the budget—last year, it received $4,000 from the township—could mean the program, which draws teams from surrounding towns, might take a hit in attendance this summer.
“There’s a fear of losing those teams,” said football coach Clyde Folsom, who helps run the league, which will be in its 16th year.
Losing or damaging a program that draws huge crowds during the summer season and acts as a positive influence on teenagers is something Schneider said he doesn’t want to see.
“That’s always been a piece of what they could do in the town,” he said.
And the costs beyond the allotment aren’t much, if anything, Schneider said, specifically dismissing concerns about added insurance coverage, which he said is a non-factor, given it falls under the umbrella coverage provided by the township’s recreation department.
“That, in and of itself, is no cost,” Schneider said. “That’s a no-brainer.”
While he wouldn’t discuss specific programs, all the allotments—not just the seven-on-seven league’s—are up for debate in the budget this year, Deputy Mayor Sean Kilpatrick said
“It has been discussed as part of the budgeting process,” he said. “There’s no final decisions on that at this time.”