The Statesboro Bulloch County Parks and Recreation Department depends on more than 600 volunteers each year in sports activities, recreational programs, and in the afterschool program.
Each volunteer is an asset to the department, but there is always one in each division that stands out over the rest.
Late last week, the Parks and Recreation Department honored four volunteers-one each from Athletics, Community Recreation, Counselor in Training Program, and the Recreational Advisory Committee.
The Athletic Volunteer of the Year award is given to someone who has shown exemplary service in coaching for a number of years.
The 2015 recipient, Phillip Story, has coached multiple sports over an eight-year period. On occasion, he coached two teams during the same season and has always helped recruit other coaches. This year, Story coached the 9-10-year-old tackle football team that won the department's League Championship.
Community Recreation decided to give their Volunteer of the Year Award to an organization that has been instrumental in providing college-aged volunteers to our department: the Office of Student Leadership and Civic Engagement at Georgia Southern.
This organization provides a liaison to the department who learns exactly what is needed and finds volunteers suited to the task. Whether it's an individual or an entire group.
Volunteers may offer assistance at the afterschool program, departmental special events, and/or summer camps. Service Learning opportunities by these individuals/groups are now provided to the afterschool programs to include an Honors English Class teaching kids how to draw comic strips, Biology and Nutrition students leading lessons and activities about seeds, planting, harvesting and cooking, and many more.
Accepting the award on behalf of the Office was Danyel Addes, coordinator of Community and Civic Engagement.
The Counselor in Training Program allows 13-15 year olds to volunteer during the department's summer camp program. The program requires the teens to complete a three-week program where they learn the skills it takes to become a camp counselor once they reach the legal age to be employed by the department.
The recipient of the CIT Volunteer of the Year Award, Mitchell Gardiner, has been a dedicated member of the program for three years.
"Mitchell always had a smile on his face and was willing to help wherever we needed him...no matter the task assigned," said Camp Coordinator, Kimberly Sharpe.
The Recreation Advisory Committee Member of the Year Award was presented to Steven Sanders. Sanders has given countless hours of service to the department through the advisory committee and through many years of coaching multiple sports.
"Steven is a very active member of the department and we value his willingness to serve in multiple capacities," said Mike Rollins, Recreation Department director.
"All of our volunteers are special to us and we could not continue to provide the service to this community without their help and dedication," says Rollins.
If you would like to volunteer with SBCPRD, please call the office at (912) 764-5637 or visit www.bullochrec.com.