The Vacaville Parks and Recreation Commission convened their regular September meeting on Wednesday. The main topics of discussion were youth and adult sports, park project updates, and upcoming events for the fall and winter. All commissioners, except for Ralph Beruman, were present at the meeting.
Vicky Williams-Jones, the recreation coordinator for youth and adult sports, addressed the board regarding various issues and upcoming events in those areas. Williams-Jones emphasized that the youth sports leagues prioritize fun in a safe environment, utilizing their trained contractors, staff, and volunteers.
During the fall, the city hosts tee-ball, volleyball, baseball, basketball, and girls fast pitch softball. Volleyball is offered to middle and high school students, and due to high demand, Volleyball open gym has been added. There are over 40 teams with 515 players participating in youth baseball this fall, and more than 1,100 participants involved in youth basketball. Unfortunately, due to a lack of coaches, some players interested in basketball have had to be turned away.
The city also hosts contractual camps and clinics, offering traditional sports as well as karate, grass volleyball, dodgeball, and horsemanship. However, Williams-Jones mentioned the challenges faced by city sports programs, including a lack of gymnasium space, issues with staff retention, a decrease in volunteer coaches, and a shortage of officials.
In the winter, basketball demand is high and does not allow for volleyball due to limited gym space. Additionally, retaining staff has been difficult as many are high school and college-aged students who move on after graduating. Williams-Jones noted that a lack of referees is also a result of behaviors conflicting with the group’s values on the part of coaches, players, and parents.
To address these issues, coaches and parents now sign a code of conduct that is kept on file by the league. The city has seen some success with this resolution so far. Williams-Jones mentioned that this problem is faced by youth sports leagues nationally. The sports staff makes an effort to be present at all activities, providing athletes the opportunity to spot them in the community while supporting officials and volunteers.
For upcoming events, the city plans to host High Impact Volleyball clinics for grades 9-12, a 7×7 football tournament, and new pickleball clinics for both kids and adults. As for adult sports, softball champions for the summer season were recently crowned. Banners are now hung at the ballpark to celebrate the winning team. Fall sports participation numbers have remained steady, and adult basketball will return later this year or early next year after a five-year hiatus.
Senior softball leagues and pickleball will also be available, along with a 3×3 basketball tournament and a one-pitch softball tournament. At Arlington and Centennial Park ballfields, lights have been installed and are ready to be programmed. Additionally, the handicap accessible spots at Centennial have been recently repainted. Construction at Pheasant Country Park is expected to be completed by early November.
As for upcoming city events, Paint on Main will be part of the art week program running from the 15th to the 22nd. The event will take place on the first and last days of the festival, with an admission fee of $5 per person per night. Hispanic Heritage Day will be hosted at Pena Adobe on October 7, and Merriment on Main is scheduled for November 28.