Crookston Park Board approves of fall programming for youth football and swimming

Jess Bengtson

    The Crookston Park Board approved of city staff moving forward with “skills and drills” style youth football plus limited swim lessons for the fall after discussions about safety, sanitization, and participant numbers at Monday’s meeting. Parks and Recreation Supervisor Scott Butt started the conversation saying he didn’t feel comfortable just putting equipment on fifth and sixth graders, but felt skills and drills would still allow him to teach the fundamentals of football.

    Parks and Rec Director Scott Riopelle added that they looked into flag football, but there would be just as much contact as tackle football which led to the skills and drills style programming. He mentioned they’d have to limit the number of participants and all activities would be outside.

    Fall programming like youth football would begin in September, said Parks and Rec Administrative Assistant Andrea Prudhomme, and would be held Tuesdays and Thursdays for six weeks. Staff also mentioned that there would be temperature checks for each group, there would be no “intermingling”, groups would be kept in their pods and they would not encourage anyone to watch practices due to congregating issues.

    “The idea is to drop off the kids and let the kids go have fun,” Riopelle added.

    “Do the kids have to wear masks if they participate?” asked Park Board member Derek Martin. He was told that kids can wear masks until they get to their station within their groups and then wouldn’t be required after the health and temperature check. Riopelle added that if someone didn’t feel comfortable unless they were wearing a mask that they would be allowed to wear them the entire time.

    When tackle football was brought up again, Butt said other communities have moved their tackle football programs to the spring and the city could look into that at a later time if it was of interest.


    Pool Director Cody Brekken said they’re currently in the fourth week of the pool being open and he’s had steady attendance for lap swim, exercise classes, and open swim which has seen between 30-50 swimmers a day. He added that he has nine new certified lifeguards and is partnering with Choice Fitness on curriculum for a “Parent and Me” class which is a swim less for infants as young as six months old to four-years old with their parent.

    Brekken is also planning on doing an “abbreviated” group of swim lessons which would run twice a week for four weeks on Mondays and Wednesdays during open swim in the evenings starting in September. They would offer limited registration for children of various ages and levels.