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July celebrated as Parks & Recreation Month in Ceres
The Ceres Community Center is home to many but not all of the recreation programs offered by the city of Ceres Recreation Department. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/ Courier file photo

Mayor Chris Vierra recently declared July to be Parks and Recreation Month in Ceres and urged Cereans to enjoy its parks and recreational opportunities.

City of Ceres Recreation Supervisor Cambria Pollinger and Recreation Manager Traci Farris accepted the proclamation. Just prior to the July 11 City Council meeting Pollinger and Farris held an Open House at the Community Center to show the public "all the different facets of what we do." Demonstrations were held and tours were given of classrooms at the center.

"Surprisingly enough there are still citizens who haven't been in our building," said Pollinger.

She shared information noting that the government spends $40 per day to house a child at Juvenile Hall with most offenders staying 13 days in a detention center, thus $520 per child. She cited a study that says juveniles who start offending before they are 12 are more likely to be offenders early into adulthood. "For $520 a recreation department could provide a positive foundation for each child before their 12th birthday," said Pollinger. "That equates to 12 sessions of swim lessons, five weeks of enrichment camps, 13 cooking classes, or five seasons of youth basketball. Five hundred and twenty dollars spent in recreation affords a child an opportunity to build friendships, gain job skills, engage in the arts, learn about team work, become physically active and be a part of their community which in turn raises future invested and educated taxpayers."

Farris said that Ceres has three full-time and five part-time employees. Since last year the department gave out 38 scholarships to low-income families.

"Something we're really proud of is that we exceeded our recreation self-support revenues by $36,000 this year so we know we're doing something right," said Farris. "We have a lot of repeat customers."

The top programs offered by the city are swimming lessons, dance, gymnastics and summer camps constituted 1,300 hours of class time among 1,100 participants.