The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Recreation department gets children involved

 

September 12, 2016

Staff photo: Kurt Munz-Raper Jillian Garcia, 10, left, and Gloria Terrazas, 9, get ready to make paper apples Monday afternoon at the Portales Recreation Center. Arts and crafts are among the various activities offered to children at the center.

Staff photo: Kurt Munz-Raper

Jillian Garcia, 10, left, and Gloria Terrazas, 9, get ready to make paper apples Monday afternoon at the Portales Recreation Center. Arts and crafts are among the various activities offered to children at the center.

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series about various departments within the city of Portales, Roosevelt County and other entities.

By Kurt Munz-Raper

STAFF WRITER

[email protected]

The recreation department for the city of Portales is an important way to get children in the community involved with a variety of activities, according to officials.

“The after-school program is very essential,” said Portales Recreation Center Director Jodi Diaz. “There’s a variety of activities: Tutoring, dramatic play — there’s basically a subject of interest (for everyone).”

According to Diaz, the effort is to reach out to a variety of children.

“It’s very important for kids to feel welcome and be in a team and feel important,” Diaz said of the overall environment.

But the rec. center’s goal expands past offering a playful environment for children, according to Diaz, as the center also offers adult activities.

“It’s definitely important to get exercise,” she said. “You obviously feel better for working out.”

Diaz said in the 15 years the rec. center has been around, attendance has grown as the department has offered more activities.

“We’re reaching a larger population of kids through our sports,” she said. “(We also have) family nights and activities on weekends.”

Diaz said she enjoys applying her passions for physical activity and sports into the rec. center operations.

Ashley Nelson, youth director for the rec. center, agreed the program is important for the youth in the community.

“It helps out the working parents,” said Nelson. “They (the kids) can come here, play sports, board games.”

Nelson added the rec. center receives a lot of volunteer support from eastern New Mexico, including members of university sports teams.

“It’s mostly like a community and kids-based department,” she added.

In the four years she has been the youth director, Nelson said attendance numbers have nearly doubled.

“My favorite part is definitely the kids,” said Nelson. “I like being able to see them come here and express themselves. You can see kids develop throughout the year.”

 
 

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