Editorial note: Most often I write in hopes that my “rambling” thoughts might get others thinking from different perspectives or maybe just maybe might be inspirational. This post is more for my locality… and it still falls in-line with “getting one thinking” about recent issues with our Recreational Sports.
“Liquidation of Assets”… that phrase rings of FINALITY. You hear that term when a marriage ends and goes through divorce. You hear it when a business partnership fails or when a business closes. It usually means it’s “done”.
So when I recently attended a special meeting called for our local Recreation Authority wondering about the state of our Recreation program (being that I had heard the director had resigned), I thought I would hear about future plans. I didn’t realize it was a specially called meeting to discuss the liquidation of assets. I didn’t realize that the board had voted to dissolve the recreational authority though I had someone to mention to me a few weeks ago that it was now going to be “handled by the Town/County”.
There is so much unknown to me at this point and I’m left wanting to understand all the aspects of what’s happened, what’s going on currently and what the future plans are. I’m a parent who didn’t really have the opportunity to play sports as a child. My parents worked hard to provide for us and it didn’t leave much extra time to get me to practices and games and such.
Now, I’m a parent. I am blessed with the ability to have a flexible schedule and to be able to afford to allow my children to be involved in recreation sports. This year especially, I’m thankful for flexibility because practice schedules and locations change frequently due to weather conditions and limited field availability. I realize not all parents have the freedom of flexibility and if I did not, I would surely be frustrated.
My kids have always played recreational sports. We went with recreation ball rather than a travel team simply because I didn’t have the funds to pay expensive tournament fees for travel and hotel expenses when out of town nor the reliable transportation (my car has nearly 300k on it) to travel as I know some teams travel to North Carolina, Tennessee and the coast. I also liked the fact with recreational sports coaches are supposed to give everyone a fair shot of trying out different positions to find out what they are good at and help fine-tune those abilities and skills.
My kids have been involved in recreation sports since T-ball. They are now of middle school age. I have allowed them to pick and choose the sports they play and at their ages, they now have their favorites. Through the years there have been good years and bad with good coaches and not — it’s kind of to be expected when it is all volunteer based — but the option for recreation sports has been there. However, after attending the meeting on Monday, June 17th I’m worried about the state of recreational sports and whether it will continue to be there for the kids of our county or not. And if it is, how will it look as a “department” of the town/county vs. the “Authority”.
If Department vs. Authority has you stopping to ask yourself, “Wait, what?” then you are like most in not realizing there is a difference and that they operate differently also.
I’m in that same group.
I’ve always called it “The Rec Department” when in fact, it has operated as its own entity as the Authority. My understanding is that as an Authority it has been allowed to fundraise to obtain needed sports equipment for teams as well as to help maintain the Floyd Recreational Park. My understanding is that the Authority is currently being dissolved now to become a department of the County. What does this mean? How will it function? What is the plan for the future? All of these are questions I do not currently have the answer to, but I am asking as are other parents as they become aware and wonder what it means to the kids of our community and county.
Since starting to write this blog post, I have seen a post on Facebook mentioning that that the Department was forming and that the Authority would still be in existence. I commented to ask for clarification in hopes of helping those of us in the community to understand the differences, the benefits, the pros, the cons, etc. However, I can no longer find that post. Perhaps it was taken down for some reason? It did open up a conversation with the interim director and while he did share some insight and information, I still have many questions.
Again, “liquidation of assets” sounded so “final”. So how did we get to this crossroads? That’s another question I ask and I don’t have the answer to, and I realize has a few years of history wrapped up in it.
You can ask any citizen of the county and likely they will have an opinion about Recreation Sports and the Park… and you will likely hear a lot of complaints: poor field maintenance, price increases to rent the park facilities, overbooking of the park facilities, poor coaching, the “pushy” parent, coaches who can’t get along with each other, kids making an All Star team only to be told they can’t play on the All Star team, etc. As a parent on the sidelines… I’ve heard every one of those. I’ve heard it questioned about “stacking teams” and have heard that coaches pick who they want on their teams vs. being assigned a team to coach. Again, as a parent you HEAR a lot.
I’m sure the Authority hears some of the complaints, but likely not all of them. Also, in turn, I don’t believe they hear a lot of praise, either. After all, as a human in our current society, it’s just easier to complain than to give praise, which is a bit ironic, because we should be teaching our children to look for the positive. We as parents should try to set an example of giving them praise when they’ve done well and consequences when they haven’t.
I had thought the director who just resigned was doing a good job, even though in my limited knowledge, I felt as though he was probably having to do the job of three people (which might be a reason why he left?). I remember remarking to someone in conversation that I wouldn’t want the task of trying to schedule and coordinate all the teams and games. That one task alone could be one job position.
Perhaps due to complaints, nothing has been made blatantly “Public” about the current situation of recreation sports and maybe it has tried to be “resolved” as best it can by the current board? However, I’ve lived in Floyd all of my life, and one thing I know and feel confident about is that Floyd is full of many people who have good hearts and will step up to the plate when needed. So if Recreation Sports is in dire straights, it’s my hope and faith that more will step up to the plate to bring life back to the program and help build it back in a way that is stronger and sustainable.
Listening is key to understanding. I need to hear the history and the pros and cons of a department vs. authority. “Liquidation of Assets” sounded “final” to me and the interim director stated it had been voted upon and that it would become a department of the county as of July 1. So does the community get a say in the situation? Will we have more input if it functions as a department vs. authority? Are decisions made by a board as an authority, but by the director as a department?
I truly need to understand the differences and benefits of each. I think other parents and members of the community need to hear that, too. As I mentioned, I have just recently been able to have a conversation with the interim director via private message to learn more. He says this is the best option and that it is the standard way of doing such in other counties. Maybe it is the standard, but does that mean it’s the best option? One woman who spoke at the open public comments mentioned how she would like to see it go back to the schools. Apparently the standard of doing things then, worked in the 70s and 80s. While it may not be standard now, I wonder if we shouldn’t take notes from what worked about it then to implement into something new now?
The interim director explained it as moving from a small business model to a government model as is done in other counties. He mentioned that the pains of fundraising and running a business would be gone. Yet, I don’t understand where the funding will come from that wasn’t there before for the Authority. I need to see the numbers on paper. In my opinion a government model sounds limiting where a small business model would seem to have room and freedom for growth. The small business model seemed like it was governed by a board with input from the public, whereas a government model may not offer the same? I wonder as a government model, will it be governed by a board also, or will it be one decision maker (perhaps the new director)? Will there be opportunity for public input?
Again, I don’t know the right answer. I just know I have lots of questions to try to understand the situation, to learn how and if I should be involved beyond my role as a parent on our community.
If you care about sports for the kids of this county, I encourage you to write your board of supervisors, write the town council members and write the Floyd County Parks and Rec. Ask your own questions. Let them know you care, and that you want to know the plans for the future. Concerned citizens need to step up to the plate…. batter up!