At Howard County Recreation & Parks, we encourage residents to get up, get out, and get active.
Jobs & Volunteer Opportunities
Activity & Camp Guides
We welcome you to view our seasonal activity guides and summer camp guide. We offer programs and activities for all ages and abilities.
Spring/Summer 2023 Activity Guide
Sports & Leagues
Our goal is to provide quality sports, fitness and adventure programs, classes, camps, and events for all ages. We aim to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle and have fun doing it!
Jobs & Volunteer Opportunities
We are looking for creative people who are natural leaders, have a friendly nature, upbeat positive attitudes, integrity and respect for others.
5 Easy Ways to Register
Phone: 410-313-7275 (voice/relay) (8am-4:30pm, M-f)
Mail-in: Howard County Recreation & Parks Headquarters
7120 Oakland Mills Road, Columbia, MD 21046
Howard County Recreation & Parks Headquarters
7120 Oakland Mills Road, Columbia (8am-4:30pm, M-F)
Gary J. Arthur Community Center
2400 Rte. 97, Cooksville (7am-8:30pm, M-Sa; 9am-5:30pm, Su)
North Laurel Community Center
9411 Whiskey Bottom Road, Laurel (8am-8pm, M-Sa; 9am-5pm, Su)
Robinson Nature Center
6692 Cedar Lane, Columbia (9am-5pm, W-Sa; Noon-5pm, Su)
Roger Carter Community Center
3000 Milltowne Drive, Ellicott City (6am-10pm, M-F; 7am-10pm, Sa; 7am-9pm, Su)
The Howard County Department of Recreation & Parks can provide limited financial assistance to Howard County residents who qualify. In addition to a completed application, you must provide one of the following:
- Verification of qualifying household income with your Federal Tax Transcript and
- Any proof of assistance from the Department of Social Services.
Funds are limited and a deposit of 25% of the program fee is required at least one month prior to start date with the application/registration form. Call 410-313-4659 for additional information and guidelines.
Only individuals who are registered may participate. Where age or grade restrictions apply, “age” usually refers to the age of the participant at the start of the program and “grade” to current grade. If any other standards apply, they will be noted in the Guide. We reserve the right to question grade or age and may request a birth certificate or other proof of eligibility.
For many programs, registrants or parents/legal guardians of minor registrants will be required to provide a signed Participant Information form at the first meeting. The purpose of this form is to ensure that participants willingly share responsibility for their own safety. All activities contain certain inherent risks that each participant assumes. Due to the strenuous nature of some activities, each participant is urged to consult his or her physician concerning his or her fitness to participate. Please note that many programs will require confirmation that immunizations are current.
A parent or legal guardian must accompany a child each day for both checkin and pick-up. It is your responsibility to sign your child in at the beginning of the program and sign your child out immediately following the program. Staff is not responsible for your child before or after scheduled activities. A fee may be assessed if your child is not picked up at the close of the program.
Children must remain with the program for the full period scheduled. To leave before a day’s program is complete, a child must have written parental consent or the parent/legal guardian must pick the child up after notifying the program director. No refunds will be issued for time missed for this or from dismissals resulting from disciplinary action. In determining whether child is ready to participate in these activities, please be aware that our staff does not change diapers.
Click the button below to view the Camp Safety Guidelines.
The Department of Recreation & Parks is a recognized leader in opportunities for individuals with disabilities and is pleased to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations.
Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to register for general recreation programs. With your registration, please include information regarding your disability and any accommodations needed.
We will make every effort to provide reasonable accommodations on an individual basis. Interpretive services are available for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities. These and other accommodations can be provided to Howard County residents at no additional cost. To ensure the best experience for all participants, we need your accommodation request along with your registration a minimum of two weeks in advance of the first program date.
For transportation, contact HT Ride Paratransit Certification at 1-800-270-9553. For more information, contact Therapeutic Recreation & Accommodation Services Manager Susan Potts at 410-313-4628.
For more information please visit our Therapeutic Recreation & Accommodation Services webpage.
The following rules must be observed while participating in Recreation and Parks programs. Specific rules may be added for individual programs and needs.
- All tobacco products are prohibited in buildings, school property or County parks
- No food or beverages in unauthorized areas; glass containers are prohibited.
- No soliciting or loitering
- No interference with employee or volunteer duties
- No harassment, bullying, or inappropriate or indecent conduct, language, or clothing
- No unauthorized use of alcohol, drugs, intoxicants or weapons
- No parking in unauthorized areas or driving/parking on field areas
- No alteration or installation of equipment (such as basketball hoops, fences or lining)
- No defacing of property (indoors or outdoors)
- No conduct that may jeopardize the safety of others.
Many of our children’s activities request that you supply a snack or lunch. Due to health concerns, nut products are not served or permitted.
Check with your instructor about exceptions to the following circumstances and make-up dates for canceled sessions.
- If it rains, only some outdoor classes will be canceled.
- When it appears that lightning is a potential threat to participants, scheduled outdoor activities or activities in progress may be canceled.
- If it snows on a weekday and the snow emergency plan is in effect in Howard County, scheduled programs will be canceled. Drop-in programs at Recreation & Parks facilities may run, call the facility inclement weather number, 410-313-4452.
- If it snows on a weekend and the snow emergency plan is in effect at 7am, programs held in public schools for that day will be canceled. If a snow emergency is declared after 7am, programs in schools in progress may be completed but those later in the day will be canceled.
- If schools are closed or dismissed early due to inclement weather, programs in schools will not be held.
Inclement Weather/Program Status Lines
Programs (Events, Trips, Selected Sports, Adventure & Outdoor, Child Care & Therapeutic Rec): 410-313-4451
Gary J. Arthur Comm Ctr, Meadowbrook Athletic Complex, N Laurel Comm Ctr, Robinson Nature Ctr & Roger Carter Comm Ctr: 410-313-4452
Belmont Manor & Historic Park: 410-313-0200
All School Fields: 410-313-6827
Alpha Ridge, Western Regional: 410-313-4372
Cedar Lane: 410-313-4453
Cypressmede & Hollifield: 410-313-4457
Dayton Oaks Parks & Schooley Mill: 410-313-4458
Dickinson, Hammond, Hawthorn, Heritage Programs: 410-313-0421
Huntington & Martin Road 410-313-4459 East Columbia Library, Guilford Savage & N Laurel Fields: 410-313-4456
Howard County Center for the Arts, Hollifield Station, Rockburn Branch & Skills Park, Troy, Waterloo & Worthington Off-Leash: 410-313-4455
Space is limited in most activities — early registration is advised. If a program is filled when we receive your registration, we will contact you; you may then cancel your application at no charge, select an alternate program or place your name on a waiting list. There is no fee to be placed on a waiting list.
We reserve the right to cancel or postpone any program. An activity may be canceled due to circumstances beyond our control, low enrollment, or unavailability of an instructor or location. If a program is canceled, registrants will be contacted immediately and a full refund credited.
We recognize that you may wish to withdraw for a variety of reasons, but our policy encourages early decisions so as to not affect other customers or our ability to efficiently deliver the programs. At a minimum, all refund requests are subject to a 20% administrative fee. Additional fees may be assessed to recover costs associated with the program. Class programs require at least two weeks advance notice of withdraw to avoid the additional fees. Trip refunds may reflect pre-paid admissions; but the option to transfer your ticket may be considered. Competitive sport program time frame for refunds reflects planning time and team selections; check refund details on website. There are no refunds for missed sessions.
Camp Refund Policy
We recognize that you may wish to withdraw from a camp for a variety of reasons, but we encourage early decisions so as not to inconvenience other participants or affect our ability to efficiently deliver activities.
Customers requesting a refund prior to three weeks before the camp starts will be charged a 20% administrative fee, however if you request the credit to be placed on your Howard County Recreation and Parks account for future use, no administrative fee will be charged.
All refunds requested within three weeks of the camp starting date will be charged at minimum a 20% administrative fee. Additional fees may be assessed to recover costs (e.g. for shirts, supplies, tickets, equipment etc.) associated with the camp. There are no refunds given for missed camp days.
Volunteer opportunities are available in several areas including preschool and youth programs, sports, senior adult programs, natural resources, outdoor recreation and special events. If you'd like to share your time and talent, visit www.hocovolunteer.org to view opportunities and register.
All required forms can be found on our forms and publications page.
Awareness of the following information is required by law to register for sports programs.
What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?
Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is a potentially fatal condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. When this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs. Student athletes' risk of SCA is nearly four times that of non-athletes due to increased demands on the heart during exercise. SCA is caused by several structural and electrical diseases of the heart. These conditions predispose an individual to have an abnormal rhythm that can be fatal if not treated within a few minutes. Most conditions responsible for SCA in children are inherited, which means the tendency to have these conditions is passed from parents to children through the genes. Other possible causes of SCA are a sudden blunt non-penetrating blow to the chest and the use of recreational or performance-enhancing drugs and/or energy drinks.
Warning Signs of SCA
- SCA strikes immediately.
- SCA should be suspected in any athlete who has collapsed and is unresponsive. (No response to tapping on shoulders, does nothing when asked if he/she is OK).
- No pulse.
Emergency Response to SCA
- Act immediately; time is most critical to increase survival rates.
- Recognize SCA.
- Call 911 immediately and activate EMS.
- Administer CPR.
- Use Automated External Defibrillator (AED).
Warning Signs of Potential Heart Issues: The following need to be further evaluated by your primary care provider.
Risk of Inaction: Ignoring such symptoms and continuing to play could be catastrophic and result in sudden cardiac death. Taking these warning symptoms seriously and seeking timely appropriate medical care can prevent serious and possibly fatal consequences.
- Family history of heart disease/cardiac arrest
- Fainting, a seizure, or convulsions during physical activity
- Fainting or a seizure from emotional excitement, emotional distress, or being startled
- Dizziness or lightheadedness, especially during exertion
- Exercise-induced chest pain
- Palpitations: awareness of the heart beating, especially if associated with other symptoms such as dizziness
- Extreme tiredness or shortness of breath associated with exercise
- History of high blood pressure
How Can We Minimize The Risk of SCA & Improve Outcomes?
The risk of SCA in student athletes can be minimized by providing appropriate prevention, recognition, and treatment strategies. One way to minimize risk is through an annual pre-participation screening evaluation, often called a sports physical, performed by the athlete's medical provider.
- There is a "Pre-Participation Physical Evaluation Form" available here.
- Since the majority of these conditions are inherited, be aware of your family history, especially if any close family member:
- had sudden unexplained and unexpected death before the age of 50.
- was diagnosed with any of the heart conditions listed above.
- died suddenly/unexpectedly during physical activity, during a seizure, from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or from drowning.
- Take seriously the warning signs and symptoms of SCA. Athletes should notify their parents, coaches, or school nurses if they experience any of these warning signs or symptoms.
- Schools in Maryland have AED policies and emergency preparedness plans to address SCA and other emergencies in schools. Be aware of your school's various preventive measures.
- If a cardiovascular disorder is suspected or diagnosed based on the comprehensive pre-participation screening evaluation, a referral to a child heart specialist or pediatric cardiologist is crucial. Such athletes should stop playing sports pending further evaluation and clearance by their medical providers.
- Notification of Suspected Concussion: parents/guardians will receive this from HCRP Staff
- Medical Clearance Following Suspected Concussion: parents/guardians must have this form completed and submitted to HCRP Staff prior to returning to play
Awareness of the following information is required by law to register for sports programs.
What is a concussion?
A concussion is a type of brain injury that changes the way the brain normally works. A concussion is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. Concussions can also occur from a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. Even what seems to be a mild blow to the head can be serious.
What are some warning signs of a concussion? — For Immediate Attention Call 911
Signs Observed by a Parent/Guardian
- Appears dazed or stunned
- Is confused about assignment or position
- Forgets sports plays
- Is unsure of game, score, or opponent
- Moves clumsily
- Answers questions slowly
- Loses consciousness (even briefly)
- Shows behavior or personality changes
- Can’t recall events prior to hit or fall
- Can’t recall events after hit or fall
Signs Reported by the Athlete
- Headache or “pressure” in the head
- Nausea or vomiting
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Double or blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensitivity to noise
- Feeling sluggish, hazy, or groggy
- Concentration or memory problems
- Does not "feel right"
What should you do if you think a concussion has occurred?
- Seek medical attention right away.
A health care professional will be able to decide how serious the concussion is and when it is safe to return to play.
- Keep your child out of play until medically cleared.
Concussions take time to heal. Don’t let your child return to play until a health care professional says it’s okay. Children who return to play too soon, while the brain is still healing, risk a greater chance of having a second concussion. Second or later concussions can be very serious. They can cause permanent brain damage, affecting your child for a lifetime.
- Inform all coaches about any recent concussions.
Coaches should know if your child has had a recent concussion. Your child’s coach may not know about a concussion your child received in another sport or activity unless you tell them.
- Help your child return to sports safely after a concussion.
As your child’s symptoms decrease, the extra help or support can be removed gradually. Children and teens who return to activities after a concussion may need to:
- Take rest breaks as needed;
- Spend fewers hours at activities; and
- If in doubt, sit it out!
For more information on Concussions: http://www.myheadfirst.com/.
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