Cambria Pollinger, who has been instrumental in running the city of Ceres’ Recreation Division and its programming for over the past two decades, is leaving her post to become the New Civic Community Center Coordinator for the city of Elk Grove.
“It was an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up,” said Pollinger. “I will have the extraordinary opportunity, again to be a part of the development, grand opening and facilitation of a new (construction not yet completed) community center.”
Her departure comes following the hiring of Matthew Lohr as Ceres’ new recreation manager and months after Traci Dayton Farris left the department. Pollinger and Farris are good friends and will be about “two miles and five Sushi restaurants away from each other,” said Cambria.
Pollinger had become the “face” of recreation in Ceres after she started working for the city on Jan. 13, 1998 at the age of 22.
“Though I had been working in the recreation field since I was 14, this was a whole new experience,” Pollinger recalled. “I was naive and totally overwhelmed with all the firsts in my life.” Those firsts included giving birth just weeks prior to her hiring and a new marriage.
She worked in the Management Services Department and was working part-time as the only person in the Recreation Department.
“I had four programs, an afterschool collaborative project, the Christmas Festival, Concerts in the Park, park rentals and the American Legion Hall,” said Camrbia. “Between 1998 and 2002, I had another baby, I added dance, aquatics, preschool baseball and helped build the skate park and the task force committee.”
Help came in 2002 when the city hired Doug Lemcke, Cara Butler and Traci Farris to become the Parks, Facilities and Recreation Department.
In 2005, Pollinger said she was given the “rewarding task” of creating the Ceres Youth Commission in memory of Ceres Police Sgt. Howie Stevenson who was murdered that January. A year later she gave birth to her third baby.
From 2007 to 2019, her title went from coordinator to supervisor and she became involved in all of layers in the development of the Ceres Community Center along with Lemcke. She also supervised over 50 different part-time employees and over saw 300 volunteers, helped create an arts and nature program and co-chaired a “ton” of special community events.
“I spent my entire adult life here, gained life-long friends, got divorced, went through hard times, went through good times, made mistakes, learned valuable lessons and most importantly, despite my faults, gave my heart to the city of Ceres.”