City Council recognizes Parks and Recreation Month
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula City Council
Published: September 14, 2012
It was a few months late, but the City Council presented a proclamation for the July Parks and Recreation Month at the September 4 meeting.
The meeting was the first for the council since June 18 when they started their summer hiatus. Interim Community Services Director Ed Mount accepted the proclamation from Councilman Fred Robinson acting on behalf of the mayor.
Robinson noted the parks and recreation programs also “help preserve and protect natural cultural resources” while strengthening communities, improving image and providing a sense of place. Such programs and locales also provide “cultural unity, health, wellness,” and actually reduce healthcare costs.
“They help kids grow into healthy adults, adults to live longer,” and provide places of safety and security that reduces juvenile crime. Robinson noted the Community Services Department has dedicated staff that is a “valuable commodity.”
Mount noted although the proclamation was after the fact, “I thought it was important to recognize what we provide and what my staff does.” During July alone, the Community Services Department provided Summer Camp to area children and youth with one of the several camp locations “at full capacity,” with 130 kids attending. Camp activities include arts and crafts, field trips and special events.
Recreation programs go up and down the age ladder: “We have many activities for our seniors,” including yoga, Tai Chi and ballroom dancing, and the Senior Lunch program served more than 200 seniors in July. In addition, Mount noted, seniors have started a garden in the Community Center’s back patio area where they grow tomatoes, lettuce and other produce as well as a “variety of flowers.”
Also in July, Mount said Community Services staff assisted the Santa Paula Kiwanis Club with the Citrus Festival including securing food and merchant vendors for the weekend event. The department also offered assistance and special event permits for such community events as the Hot Summer Jazz & Art and the Citrus Classic Balloon Festival, among others.
Mount said the Community Services Department also coordinates youth sports including baseball and soccer. Mount said T-Ball drew enough 4 to 6 year olds that there were 14 teams.
When Mount concluded, Mayor Bob Gonzales noted the Community Services Department is always busy: “Hats off to you... you did quite a bit. It’s amazing how much work gets done” by staff.
Parks and Recreation Month recognizes the positive impact on all aspects of life that such programs incur, from healthy lifestyles to creating livable communities, the hallmarks of recreation programs.
The National Recreation and Park Association notes that public parks and recreation systems are dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for millions of residents in communities through recreation programming, leisure activities and conservation efforts. Such recreation programs and activities also generate socialization opportunities and pay dividends to communities by attracting businesses and jobs, as well as increasing home values.