Recreation Authority provides update at Chamber Connect Luncheon

Published 4:38 pm Monday, November 6, 2023

Members of the Chamber of Commerce gathered at the Kirbo Center last Thursday for this month’s Chamber Connect luncheon. Doug Young took to the podium first, briefly speaking about Young Recycling and Scoops, and encouraging those in attendance to support the Chamber businesses. He then introduced the main speaker for the day, executive director of the Bainbridge-Decatur County Recreation Authority, Joel Holmes.

Holmes gave a brief overview of how the Rec Authority operates, before giving some highlights from the past year. According to Holmes, the rec sports have grown with the community over the past year. Some sports, such as youth tackle football, experienced decent growth rates like 36%, while youth cheerleading experienced the biggest growth, increasing participation by 237%. In total, the Rec Authority went from 744 participants to 1,124, a 51% increase.

Holmes also discussed the new programs introduced by the Authority, including the youth track and field team, as well as the introduction of programs for special needs children.

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Another area the Authority is looking to expand upon is hosting more tournaments, with several tournaments for several different sports having been hosted this year. Holmes moved on to talk about their goal of increasing awareness about Rec Authority activities. “One thing we hate hearing is when people say ‘We don’t know what’s going on’ or ‘We didn’t know that you guys had registration.’” To that end, the Authority has been improving online registration, increasing social media presence and outreach, and even using the Remind communication app.

The Authority has also begun focusing on the professional growth of its staff, allowing them to attend training sessions and workshops; on that note, Holmes also recognized Ana Baty, the Authority community development manager, for her participation in the Georgia Recreation and Park Association.

Other topics Holmes discussed included the Rec Authority’s new 5-year contract with Pepsi, which will see the Authority serve Pepsi products at its facilities. Additionally, the contract will see a $1,000 yearly donation from Pepsi, which will go toward the Rec Youth Scholarship; the Authority will also receive an annual $4 rebate on each case of Pepsi products purchased by the Authority.

Holmes also updated attendees about progress on the new indoor recreation facility, which is expected to be completed in December.

After concluding the speech, Holmes and Baty took questions from the audience.