By Ken Brown
At their regular July 12 meeting, the Orcas Island Parks and Recreation District (OIPRD) knuckled down to four significant issues in running the facilities and programs agency:
- how to handle existing recreational activities that are struggling;
- the final stages of the OIPRD Director’s search;
- coordinating athletics with the Orcas Island Public Schools;
- acquiring bids for services and maintenance.
OIPRD Chair Martha Farish advocated for a systems approach to offer quality recreation and athletics programming that serves the largest number of participants.
OIPRD Commissioners spoke of the challenge of existing programs that have no continuity because parent/coach turnover consistently undermines team leadership. Commissioner Ian Lister said, “This is what Parks and Rec should be doing. We need continuity, not a new learning curve each time a parent volunteer coach steps up to the plate.”
Several sports teams have recently approached OIPRD for assistance with running and/or financially backing their team: the newly-formed LaCrosse team and the North Cascade Youth Football League. Going forward, written requests for such assistance will be considered by Commissioners Ian Lister and Vicki Vandermay.
Much discussion ensued about the format and design of the last stages of the interview process for the new OIPRD Executive Director. Two citizens will be invited to assist with this final stage and be allowed to ask applicants prescreened questions. Members of the community will be invited to observe. The Commissioners will meet 30 minutes prior to the start of these final interviews to formalize the structure of this last round of questions. All Commissioners were in agreement that a candidate will be chosen from these final applicants.
The OIPRD board addressed its new sub-committee, Athletics Solutions. This group is intended to find viable, out-of-the-box solutions to fund Orcas Island Schools athletics. Chris Sutton and Tony Ghazel, directors of the Orcas Island School District, parent/Fire Chief Kevin O’Brien, and OIPRD Commissioners Vicki Vandermay and Ian Lister will research the School District athletic programs shortfalls. Also, San Juan Island School District and Recreational District are invited to a meeting on Aug. 1 to share some of the ideas and solutions that have been tried on San Juan Island.
Lastly, Commissioner Bob Eagan clearly stated his determination to offer fair and timely notification to potential contractors for needed services pertaining to Buck Park. A call for bids for ongoing Buck Park maintenance will be advertised on the oiprd.org website.