In looking at Christmas lists of area recreation agencies and administrators over the past decade, one might deduce that Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick would have needed extra reindeer power and super-wide chimneys to respond to wishes for new gymnasiums and additional athletic fields. In short, while space may be the final frontier, athletic space was first and foremost on wish lists.
This year, Santa might consider swapping out his sleigh for a school bus—maybe even a military transport plane. Content with the local play space reflected in the availability of local gyms and local fields, administrators are now in need of people power: volunteers are the top wish of “rec. execs” for 2012. Perhaps Santa could offer up an answer from his pool of the “elf-employed,” but it’s unsure whether the height-impaired might lend much help as, say, basketball coaches.‘Jolly old St. Nicholas’ “ ... lean your ear this way! “Don’t you tell a single soul, what I’m going to say…”
“The main thing is that we’d like to receive information from interested volunteers in youth baseball and girls’ volleyball,” Carrboro recreation supervisor Charles Harrington said. “Those are definitely the top things on our wish list.”
“We’re fortunate to have access to good facilities and the appropriate equipment, but it’s the volunteers that we’re always seeking,” Harrington added. “As we grow with our programs, we rely a lot on our volunteer help.”
Ralph Yohe, the Interim CEO at the Chapel Hill / Carrboro YMCA at 980 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard agreed with Harrington.
“We have great volunteers,” he said, “but we could always use more.”
“The main thing is that we can always use more volunteer coaches,” Chapel Hill parks and recreation athletics specialist Michael Troutman said. “Right now, basketball season has just started, and we have enough people helping that we’ve gotten started, but we could still use more, and for baseball too.”‘Christmas Eve’ “... is coming soon; now you dear old man Whisper what you’ll bring to me; tell me if you can;”
For Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation director Butch Kisiah, the wish list is a bit more farsighted.
“This year on my list, my wish would be for the (Chapel Hill) Town Council to adopt the Greenway and Park and Recreation Master Plan, which will be presented to them in February,” Kisiah said.
“That includes an update to the existing Greenways Master Plan and a new Master Plan for parks and recreation.”
Kisiah said the ratification would include approval of a two-fold plan that first addresses maintenance needs of existing facilities, then recommends new facilities to be built in Chapel Hill over the next 10 years.
Kisiah is hoping his next Christmas is more on the green side than white, at least at Cedar Falls Park on Weaver Dairy Road, where plans are to install artificial turf.
“We should be going out to bid on that project (this) week,” he said. “We’ve got the funds, and we’re ready to go with that. We’ve just had to get some permitting done.”
Kisiah also noted that sorely-needed renovations were already underway at the tennis courts at Ephesus Elementary School and at Phillips Middle School.‘Johnny wants...’ “... a pair of skates, Suzy wants a sled…” “Billy wants a picture book, yellow, blue, and red…”
While Holiday stress may have some shoppers climbing the walls, UNC Recreation Director Marty Pomerantz is hoping that the entire UNC community will be climbing the walls by the New Year.
“I guess my only wish would be that our climbing program’s climbing walls re-open,” Pomerantz said.
“I’d wish that certified climbers have a wonderful opportunity to climb again as soon after the New Year as possible. Let’s get that re-opened.”
But just when you thought everyone in town had all the space they need, the YMCA has added the request for more square footage to its wish list.
“We need twice as much space to meet the needs of all of our members,” Yohe said. “If Santa could magically double the size of our building, that’s what we need.”
“As a result of (member) feedback, we’ll be making some improvements to the facility in 2013,” the YMCA’s website stated. “We’ll be increasing the size of the wellness facilities in order to offer expanded health and fitness options. We’ll also be exploring improvements to the front lobby of the Y and the parking area.”‘Now then...’ “ I will tell to you, what to give the rest… ...Choose for me old Santa Claus, you will know the best.”
In terms of stocking stuffers, wish lists veered toward the idealistic.
“Volunteers would always be a great,” Chapel Hill Park and Rec’s Kisiah said, “and partners in Chapel Hill to help us do the things we want to do.”
“I’d just wish for Santa to let people know that the Y is for everyone. No one’s turned away,” Yohe said.
“Of course, I’d wish everyone good health, and that they stay fit and active,” Pomerantz said.
Indeed, perhaps these wishes are more logistically sound in any case. After all, one delivery of volunteers from the North Pole could leave area recreation administrators a bit “elf-reliant.”