Published: Nov 06, 2012 06:00 PM
Modified: Nov 05, 2012 02:00 PM
FUQUAY-VARINA - Boys lined up against the wall of the gymnasium inside the Fuquay-Varina Community Center, waiting for their chance to show coaches what they’re made of.
They dribbled, shot and passed the ball while coaches scribbled notes.
The scene wasn’t just a fall sports rite of passage – it was a demonstration of public interest in a new town-run youth sports program.
In total, 286 children are registered for town’s first youth basketball league, signaling a small shift in the way families participate in athletics in the Fuquay-Varina area.
For the first time, families had a choice when it came to sports programs – they could stick with the Fuquay-Varina Athletic Association, a popular nonprofit group, or enroll in the new town program.
The FVAA provided sports services for the town for years, but Fuquay-Varina cut ties with the group last year to start its own leagues.
So far, many families are staying with the FVAA, said David Butts, basketball commissioner for the group. Nearly 500 children ages 4 to 15 signed up for basketball, he said.
That’s lower than the typical 600 to 700 participants, he said, but the number was nearly double the group’s registration goal.
“We’ve got a lot of loyal members,” Butts said.
Meanwhile, the town is happy by the amount of interest in its program.
“We are very encouraged by the number of families that have registered their children for the inaugural season of youth sports,” said Fuquay-Varina spokeswoman Susan Weis. “We couldn’t have asked for a better start to a new program.”
Olivia Rogers, whose son, Grant, played football for the FVAA, signed him up for the town’s basketball program.
Rogers said the choice was hard because of her personal ties to the FVAA, but the town’s cheaper rates won her over.
Fuquay-Varina charges $40 for in-town residents and $65 for nonresidents. The FVAA charges everyone $65, regarless of where they live, and waived its $65 annual membership fee for basketball this year.
“I think it’s fair,” Rogers said of the town’s fees. “I also think it helps to attract a more diverse group of people.”
She said her family has had previous positive experiences with town events, so she figured she’d give the new program a try.
“We wanted to support the town,” Rogers said. “We’ve enjoyed the other programs we’ve come to here. I like the town of Fuquay-Varina and felt we needed to give them a chance.”
Willow Spring parent Mary Johnson said she didn’t realize the FVAA was still an option for her 11-year-old son, Caleb.
“I assumed it had completely changed hands,” Johnson said. But the FVAA is moving forward – it will begin basketball tryouts Nov. 10.