Three months ago, Carroll's planners of recreation for teens and middle-schoolers thought the summer looked promising -- with a slew of activities, ranging from bus trips to Hersheypark and Kings Dominion to pool parties.
But the much-planned and promoted activities fizzled like a bum firecracker.
"We had a trip to Cascade Lake, but we canceled everything else,"said Leslie Hinebaugh, coordinator of the county's middle school recreation council. "It was just too hard to get people involved becauseof vacation. I think a lot of people had activities already planned for the summer."
Canceled activities for both middle school and teen-age countians included bus trips to Hersheypark in Hershey, Pa.; a"lock-in," a party in which teens aren't allowed to leave until a designated time so their parents can rest assured they're safely off the roads; and a white-water rafting trip and pool parties, according to recreation council coordinators.
"We did go to Kings Dominion," said Lisa Sasala, the county's sports and special programs coordinator. "We had a good crowd for that. But we had to cancel trips to Hersheypark and for white-water rafting because of lack of interest."
Two pool parties were canceled because of inclement weather.
"Unfortunately, during a summer of drought, we had thunderstorms on both pool party dates," Sasala said. "We were not able to reschedule either of those. I'm afraid it has not been a real active summer."
The drought has provided some lessons for both the middle school and teen recreation councils.
Hinebaugh said she may have to change some scheduling because transportation posed a problem for many middle schoolstudents. Because their parents worked, students were not able to participate in activities that didn't coordinate with work schedules.
"If we have any programs next summer, I think we'll need to start them at 7 a.m. and run until 6 p.m.," Hinebaugh said. "I don't know ifwe'll have the money to do it. It would be real expensive. Maybe we could do it one day a week."
She also realized, though, that some people were just too busy.
Nick Atwell, a Westminster 13-year-old who has attended middle school activities in the past, said his summer was too busy to include the council's daylong trips.
"I would have liked to have gone to Hershey, but I didn't have enough time this summer," the West Middle School eighth-grader said.
Hinebaugh saidthat while there was interest in a lot of the activities, parents failed to register their children ahead of time. Shereceived many callsfrom parents after events had been canceled because of lack of participation.
"The interest is there," she said. "But I think parents need to realize that they have to call and register early. If we don't have enrollment, we have to cancel. We can't wait until the last minute to cancel because of no enrollment."
Matt Sedlak, a Westminster High School senior who has been active with the teen-age recreation council, said his participation slacked off in the summer because of other activities.
"I was just too busy," the 16-year-old said. "Most of my friends were busy, too. And I think a lot of people just want to relax in the summer."
Tom Bower Jr., also a Westminster High School senior, said he found teen-agers were busy with family vacations, taking summer classes or preparing for college.
"Most of ourinvolvement comes during the school year and the winter when we can get in touch with people," said Tom, who is the teen recreation council's treasurer.
Sasala believes lack of publicity may have been a problem.
"It's real hard to get a message across during the summerwithout school," she said. "We do send out news releases to newspapers, but not every home in Carroll County gets a newspaper. We might have to do some mailing next summer."
Both middle school and high school recreation planners are moving ahead with activities for the fall.
The middle school council again plans to offer drama workshopsat West, North Carroll and Northwest middle schools. The workshops include intervention programs, ranging from anti-smoking to building self-esteem.
Hinebaugh said the workshops were a hit with middle school students and parents last fall.
"Our goal is to have programsin every school by next fall," she said. "Eventually, we'd like to have programs at every school every day. We're looking to do some interesting things like maybe a bowling league or baseball card clubs."
In addition, the middle and teen recreation councils are sponsoringanother trip to Hersheypark on Sept. 21. Though the youngsters will travel together on the same bus or buses, they will be separated -- middle school and high school -- at Hersheypark, Hinebaugh said, noting the two ages groups don't like to mingle.
The teen council, Sasala said, is planning a haunted house for October and another lock-in in November. She said both events were popular last fall.
"We put in a proposal for a ski trip to Seven Springs (Pa.) in December," shesaid. "We're waiting to hear if that goes through."
In the meantime, she said, the council is soliciting more membership and volunteers. She said the council is trying to develop a mailing list of Carroll high school students.
"The cost of mailing is high, but we're looking to see if that's feasible," she said.
Realizing there are few activities for Carroll teen-agers besides sports events or school clubs, both Matt and Tom are gearing up to make the fall activities successful.
"We're hoping to get a lot of people to come to some of these things," Tom said. "Most of these things coming together hingeson student involvement. We seem to get a lot more of it during the school year."
But, he noted, "There are still some kids out there who won't give some of our activities a chance. They have some misunderstandings about the council."