A proclamation passed on July 23 declared July as “Parks and Recreation Month” in Ceres and extolled the virtues of a strong recreation program.
Mayor Chris Vierra said parks are “vitally important to establishing and maintaining the quality of life” in a community.
The proclamation went as far to say that recreation programs “aid in the prevention of chronic disease, provide therapeutic recreation services for those who are mentally and physically disabled and also improve the mental and emotional health of all citizens” and also provide children “with a safe refuge and a place to play which helps to reduce at-risk behavior such as drug use and gang involvement.”
The mayor encouraged all residents to enjoy the use of city parks and recreation programs.
Recreation Supervisor Cambria Pollinger, a 20-year employee of the city, accepted the proclamation.
“Recreation is a unique animal,” said Pollinger. “We are one of the only divisions to have part-time staff – 26 to be exact – and the only division where our business is optional and our success is solely based on our customer service. Despite economic ups and downs, the loss of teammates and the surrounding cities offering similar programs, Ceres Recreation has not only survived but we have thrived.”
Pollinger noted that when she started in 1998, the whole division consisted of herself and another part-time worker and only three or four programs to operate while being in charge of Concerts in the Park and the Ceres Christmas Festival and building the skate park at Smyrna Park. In 2002 three divisions were combined into one department with a director, full-time secretary and a part-time coordinator.
From 2002 to 2009 the city built the Community Center and soccer complex at Ceres River Bluff Regional Park, increased classes, created a Ceres Youth Commission, and gained five special events.
“In the last nine years we went from a family of three divisions to one,” said Pollinger, “found ourselves under the wing of police, city manager and now Planning. We’ve been on the forefront of bringing art and nature to our community but most importantly we continue to be a place where people know that we care.”
She read a letter that a parent of a recreation program participant to employee Angela Mendoza who said the city’s programs have made a huge difference.