Volunteering For Payson Parks And Recreation? Give It A Try!

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In today’s grim economy, many parks and recreation services and programs that communities nationwide have enjoyed in the past are disappearing. Adult softball leagues are being discontinued, facility master plans are being shelved, staffing is being reduced.

One of the most appealing reasons to live in Payson is the bountiful array of activities offered to children and adults year-round, many of which are provided by the Payson Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department. One may think that many of these activities will be discontinued due to the current economic crisis. However, despite the recent Town of Payson budget and staffing cuts that have affected all town departments, the Payson Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department staff, with financial assistance from the Friends of Payson Parks and Recreation, is moving forward with plans to continue to offer the town’s favorite recreation activities and sports. We cannot accomplish this task, however, without your help.

The key to continuing programs and activities is community involvement and support. Although fund-raising is ongoing from the Friends of Payson Parks and Recreation to support part-time staffing for programs like youth basketball, at the current fund-raising rate there will not be enough to support the summer recreation program, and spring soccer programs past April 2009.

Currently, volunteer instructors are allowing the following outdoor recreation programs to continue despite the budget crunch: youth archery, urban mountain biking, children’s outdoor survival skills and PATS hikes.

However, we are hopeful that more community members have the time and expertise to donate to our remaining recreation programs in need.

We need the retired bank CEO who has golf skills, the stay-at-home mom who has time to keep score during her children’s games, the former high school coach who would not mind refereeing for youth or adult sports.

The time it takes to volunteer is usually small, but the sum contribution from community members is the difference between maintaining our Payson quality of life with valued recreation programs or watching them disappear.

There are multiple benefits to volunteering. Contributing your time and expertise to challenged causes helps a community come together in tough times. It maintains programs people want to see continue. It can provide new social interaction opportunities for those needing a change in their lives and provides meaning for those who want to make a difference in society. Volunteering also looks great on the resumé and on college applications.

Currently, our department has the following projected volunteer needs for upcoming programs:

Youth soccer, ages 4 to high school — field referees.

Youth T-ball — field personnel.

Adult softball — Referees and scorekeepers.

Payson Event Center (equestrian) programs.

Courses are currently being developed to provide volunteer training in each specific sport, program or activity. Please contact Mary McMullen, trails and outdoor recreation coordinator, at (928) 474-5242, ext. 358, or mmcmullen@ci.payson.az.us for questions or to volunteer your services.

Remember, “Success in life has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself. It’s what you do for others.” — Danny Thomas

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