04/02/08 — Two join city recreation department staff

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Two join city recreation department staff

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on April 2, 2008 1:45 PM

The city's Parks and Recreation Department has added two new staff members in recent months.

Gladys McClary is the new assistant center leader for the W.A. Foster Center.

A former girl's basketball coach at Goldsboro High School and teacher and coach at WAGES Head Start, Ms. McClary said she has always have a genuine interest in the community that she grew up in.

And after 13 years in the coaching and educational setting, she decided to take the job at W.A. Foster to help the community in a bigger sense.

"I feel that it puts me in a position to work with the community in a way that's a little broader than coaching," she said. "I am able to touch not just one particular age group. I'm able to work with all age groups."

She wants to make sure all of those age groups feel at home at the center by offering programs for them.

And her target group is teens.

"I hear these teens say there is nothing to do, and they are right," she said. "But we are trying to offer them something here that they can do."

Starting April 3, every Thursday night from 6 to 8 p.m. at W.A. Foster will be Teen Night for children ages 13 to 17, the first of which will offer a dance, following with basketball tournaments, games and other teen activities the Thursdays after. Each night will include refreshments and snacks.

The first night, Ms. McClary said, they will have teens come in and hear the rules, including the necessity of photo IDs for entrance.

Requiring that teenagers bring identification will prevent a lot of potential trouble, she said.

"We want to know who is here with us," she said. "That's our way of securing them, and parents will feel safe leaving their children here."

Teenagers won't be able to just come and go out of the center as they please, she added.

"Once they come in, they stay," she said. "We want to know where they are, and that they aren't roaming around the streets unsafe."

Ms. McClary is hoping that teens will share their suggestions for programs with her and the other staff at the center.

"We want to encourage their suggestions. Teenagers have ideas and they know how to get it done. They don't just need us. We need them," she said.

She said she and other members of the staff are working to improve programming at the center, she said.

"We are working diligently to bring a positive outlook back to the center," she said.

Also added to the staff is new Parks Superintendent Daniel Lancaster, who said he was attracted to the job by department Director Sonya Shaw's ideas for a more active community.

"Sonya's vision and knack for getting things done and change really made me come here," he said. "I knew this wasn't going to be a complacent place."

He said he plans to start work at Herman Park, the city's most utilized park, cleaning it up first, then branching out to other parks.

Lancaster, a Wayne County native, said he hopes to add more personnel and see a new centralized storage facility built to save the maintenance crew time.

Lancaster has five years experience in recreation and parks and 10 years in golf course activity and agronomics. He said he believes Goldsboro should invest more in its recreation facilities. An athletic complex that could accommodate large tournaments and other activities could raise the city's profile and stimulate business, he noted.

"We need something new to bring recreation to another level in the city," he said.