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Turlock Recreation strengthens community ties through expansion

Turlock Recreation strengthens community ties through expansion

A Little Gigglers Summer Camp student runs from friends during a game of tag.

POSTED February 26, 2013 5:23 p.m.

In recent years, the Turlock Recreation Department has significantly grown in size and function, thanks to additional scholarship programs, after school programs, and adult services.

With 14 years of experience under his belt, Recreation Senior Supervisor Mark Crivelli believes that the additional influx of programs has helped acquire a greater neighborly camaraderie from all members of the community regardless of age.

“I get to work with people of all ages. There is a sense of satisfaction in that. You get so many people involved and they return. When they come back, they actually bring more people with them. A lot of people come back and work for us, too,” Crivelli said. “They know what it is about and they what we are about. They get to help out younger members of the society.”

Since 2011, youth programs have not only upheld active participation, but have grown extensively. T-ball, pee-wee, and spring league baseball players alone have jumped from 300 active youths to 557 in just one year.

Ballet and tap dance classes have also seen an influx of pupils, ranging from 2 years of age to 18 year olds, and have 350 youths participating as of 2012. Additional dance classes have been added to keep up with the demand, and have incorporated adults as well. Line dancing is currently one of the newest classes offered for adults, and provides “pleasure, exercise and therapy.”

Adults are also getting involved in Tai Chi Ch’uan, the Chinese art of self-defense and self-discipline. The exercise incorporates slow movements to promote grace, health, circulation, concentration and relaxation. Pre-existing adult programs, such as the Turkey Trot Family Fun Run and softball program, have also added over 150 members alone in just one year.

A new modeling class for kids is also in the works for this year, and has already received a large amount of attention within recent months. As of now, there are 15 active programs for spring, and more to come in the future. Many of the programs are at capacity, and can no longer hold any more participants.

“We are looking at new classes and bringing back old classes with other agencies,” said Crivelli. “We are looking at flag football in the future, and enhancing programs or changing them up a bit. We’ve been getting people from all over who like to come here for these programs; people from Modesto, Hughson, Hilmar and Denair.”

The Turlock Recreation Services not only focuses on expanding programs, but also fostering growth in the community's youth. The Yerby Center, sponsored by the Housing Authority of Stanislaus County, helps cultivate human development by providing recreation, arts, crafts, and homework assistance.

The Positive Leisure Programs for Youth is a program that serves Dennis Earl, Denair, Julien, Sandra Medeiros and Walnut elementary schools by providing assistance, group games and active participation with others.

After School Education and Safety Programs are also available to provide academic assistance in math, history, English and science and can hold up to 917 participants.

Even with a tight economy, the Turlock Recreation Department is willing to help.

The Recreation Department has incorporated shopping as a way to provide funds for youth scholarships through the S.H.A.R.E.S. card and Raley’s Quality of Life card. A percentage of every grocery dollar supports the youth in Turlock and allows them a chance to sign up for activities and sports. Other programs, such as R.E.A.D. enables children in need a chance to receive books.

“I think it is great how the community gets involved, even with the way things are going financially. We are fairly priced, and businesses and sponsors in the area help us out quite a bit,” Crivelli said. "We do offer scholarships in our department for families in need. People who qualify can earn an amount that would offset the fee with the scholarships.

“Year to year, our position is different. To keep growing, the programs have to be developed, and enhanced for changing times. We have to adjust and make changes and be accommodating for everyone. Everyone should get a chance to have fun or learn something that can benefit their lives.”

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