Thursday, February 19, 2009

Recreation Program for Swanton Kids!

Several months ago, our Superintendent, Paulette Baz, put together a committee made up of herself, Mike Wiederman, myself, and Pam Moore and Mike Rochelle from Village Council. The purpose of this committee was to evaluate our existing Park & Rec program, top to bottom, to see how it could be tightened up and improved for the benefit of our kids and our community. Several meetings were held, and all of us did our level best to look at every angle and opportunity that had potential.

The net result of these meetings is this: there is a new Swanton Recreation Program!

At our school board meeting this past Tuesday night, the Board of Education voted unanimously to rescind the resolution of 1986, which had created the existing joint Park & Rec entity with the Village of Swanton. In its place, we have instituted a new program that has great potential for our kids. I am really excited about it!

Here is a press release prepared by Paulette:
February 18, 2009
108 N. Main St.
Swanton, OH 43558

Last night the Swanton Board of Education voted in favor of a resolution to withdraw from the joint parks and recreation department, which will dissolve the Park and Recreation Board that was created by the Swanton Board of Education and the Village of Swanton in 1986. Superintendent Baz said, "We want to assure residents of the Swanton Local School district that we will continue to provide recreational activities and programs for the children of our community. The board is confident that the programs can be self-sufficient,
and our goal is to keep fees as close to the current rates as possible. The board does not intend to ask voters for another levy." A.4 mil levy for these programs was allowed to lapse December 31,2008 and the remaining funds collected from this levy will only be used for recreation programs.

The spring and summer Park and Recreation programs will continue with soccer, baseball and softball. The current fees for the Park and Rec. programs will remain the same, but travel soccer will see a slight increase to cover tournament expenses.

For the fall and beyond, which includes football, basketball, cheerleading, and soccer, a board
committee will be set up to oversee the recreation programs. The new committee, which will be appointed by the superintendent, will make recommendations to the Swanton Board of Education for programs and budgets. Swanton varsity coaches will be a part of the committee because the recreation programs are a feeder program for sports at the middle school and high school. The varsity coaches are examining fundamentals, sportsmanship and competition as a part of the complete recreation program.

As this transition moves forward, it is hoped that all programs will continue. Decisions will be made based on interest in a program and the willingness of volunteers from the community to assist. If you are interested in volunteering for any of these programs, please contact Paulette Baz, Superintendent, at 419.826.7085 or via email at
The fact that this new program will be completely fee-based is good news for taxpayers. Plus, these fees will remain very close to current rates, with the exception of travel teams which will have slighly higher fees. While the Village needs to assess taxes for the physical maintenance of the parks themselves, no tax dollars will be used for these sports programs. Our new recreation program will look more like that of Anthony Wayne and other local recreation programs, with volunteer staffing and direct involvement of our coaching staff (also on a volunteer basis).
Our coaches are excited about getting involved. Plus, we have many members in our community with the skills and desire to help coach as well, and we plan to use them to their fullest potential. Our kids have never had it so good!
The former Park & Rec program had a few adult programs as well, which we hope to continue also. We haven't forgotten about the adults!
The new Swanton Recreation Program will be an great opportunity for our kids to really develop the skills and knowledge of their chosen sports. We fully expect to see this new focus show dividends in our regular school sports as well.
It is an exciting time to be a kid in Swanton right now!
As Paulette's press release said, if you are interested in being part of the new Swanton Recreation Program, please contact her. We need dedicated, energetic adults to train and mentor our kids, and we would love to have You involved!

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