COVID-19 has directly impacted the Templeton Community Services District, with the Parks and Recreation Department receiving the hardest hit.
In an effort to continue providing youth programs safely, the Templeton Recreation Foundation recently held a Keeping the Dream Drive-Thru BBQ fundraiser, serving up tri-tip meals in the Templeton Community Center Parking Lot that included tri-tip, beans, salad, and bread for four. Tickets were $45 each, and by the end of the day, the foundation had raised $16,000, proceeds that went toward the Templeton Parks and Recreation Department.
When the district identified the department’s funding shortage in July, Recreation Supervisor Melissa Johnson said the foundation took the opportunity to help bridge the gap with a fundraiser.
“My job was to stand there, wave, and make people feel happy while they were waiting in line. The foundation pulled it off entirely and did a wonderful job raising $16,000 and all volunteers too,” Johnson said.
Templeton Market and Deli donated the bread and beans, Jimmy’s BBQ donated the crew, and the foundation purchased the tri-tip. Johnson said she has to give a huge kudos to the Templeton Recreation Foundation for stepping up and saving the day.
In order to keep the department youth programs running, Johnson said the department was tasked with running a pod athletic program—children stick to a specific group and do not interact with children outside of their athletic pod. With the help of volunteer coaches, the department successfully created 30 pods for the soccer season that’s coming to an end on Oct. 9.
“It’s really neat to see so many kids out running around and participating in healthy activity, because when we first started on coaching one of the pods, I think I had kids run a half lap. They came back too winded from sitting on the couch way too long,” Johnson said. “You’re 8 years old; you should be in the best shape of your life.”
The point of the youth athletics program isn’t to just teach them about the sport or about competitiveness but rather teamwork and individual skill-building.
“Kids are learning these important personal skills there even though we have to be 6 feet a part,” she said.
The department was also tasked with raising about $90,000 by the end of the year.
Johnson is confident the department will meet its goal. Her only concern is what will happen next year.
“If we can’t transition back to business-as-usual, how long are these pod programs going to be effective in helping to bridge that gap and what creative thing am I going to have to come up with next to make that happen? For a department that focuses on community gatherings, we can’t do that. It’s about getting more creative and finding ways to make that happen.” she said.
The department is always looking for more volunteer coaches, sponsors, ideas, and donations.
To get in touch with Johnson and the Templeton Parks and Recreation Department call (805) 434-4909 or email Johnson at [email protected] ∆