The Bowling Green (Ohio) Parks and Recreation Department is changing its admission policy at the BG Community Center with the hope that allowing younger children to use the facility unattended by a guardian will encourage activity and help fight obesity.
According to WTOL, Toledo's CBS affiliate, the center's long-standing policy required children younger than 13 to be accompanied by an adult, but starting Wednesday, children as young as nine can be dropped off at the facility. Those children will need to sign in upon arrival and have emergency contact information on file at the front desk. Caregivers are still encouraged to join youths during visits and take advantage of the center's fitness offerings themselves, "but now parents will have the opportunity to tend to their busy lives of running errands, transporting siblings to various activities, and keeping up with the demands of running a household while dropping their children off in a warm, welcoming, safe, and healthy environment," according to a news release.
Though common, community center age restrictions vary, with Bowling Green's seemingly on the looser end of the spectrum. By comparison, the Brighton (Colo.) Recreation Center allows youths ages 12 to 14 to use fitness areas only if they have completed a Jr. Weight Training class, have their Jr. Weight Training card with them and an accompanying adult in the same room. Last year, residents of Maryville, Mo., questioned the restrictive nature of the city's community center admission policy, which at the time required children ages eight and younger to be accompanied by a parent or guardian who is at least 13 years old and always in the same room as the child. The policy required children ages nine through 12 to have a guardian somewhere in the building, but not necessarily in the same room, while anyone age 13 or older had full access to the facility.