Sunday, May 31, 2015

Hollister / SBC PAL Partnership

Public safety is a broad term used to identify safety elements such as emergency medical, law enforcement and fire protection. Also in this continuum is code enforcement, emergency management, engineering and environmental health. There is probably many more.

The very essence of public safety is we HELP people.

Sometimes I must make decisions that affect a lot of people. Sometimes those decisions affect a small amount of people. When I make decisions, I use my experience, my staff and research and apply it to my heart and then make the call. 

In 2014, I threw out the first pitch at a SBHS Varsity game. It was great chatting with the young athletes and Coach Aviles. If you know Coach Aviles, you know that he teaches respect, integrity and self worth. He is in the business of making men from boys and winning baseball games. He is great at both disciplines. We are lucky to have a coach of his caliber in our community.
As I sat there and watched the game, I wondered if any of these kids would be the next Brandon Crawford or Will Clark. I wondered if there were any others in our community. I wondered if there were kids that hadn't the opportunity to realize their dreams in sports or any other activity in our community. I felt that there was a possible void in service with those kids whose parents that could afford to send their kids to organized sports and activities and those parents that could not afford it. To me, this WAS a potential public safety issue as there were kids in our community that might need our HELP.

I thought; wait, this is Hollister, we are better than that. If a child in our community wants to participate in a activity, we need to figure out a way to make that happen. 

So, I spoke to the Hollister City Manager, William Avera in the summer of 2014. I pitched (pun intended) an idea that would integrate the City of Hollister recreation programs with our local San Benito County Police Activities League. I also felt with this partnership we could bring in new programs, such as Jr Giants baseball and others. I also asked that these programs be open to any child in the county. I figured we could do everything within five years.

As I've said many times before, I think great recreation programs are potentially great crime prevention. If you find a kids currency (interest) then you will have their interest. That interest could blossom into something truely great.

The City Manager immediately agreed with me and our City Council agreed as well. We met with SBC PAL that week and we all agreed to transform both programs into something bigger and better. In fact, Hollister Recreation immediately began working on this new concept. They contacted the San Francisco Giants and the United States Tennis Association (USTA) that same week and began the process of applying for new programs. In one months time of this new partnership, we secured the Jr Giants program and USTA's HITS Jr. Tennis program for our city and county. 

Fast forward to this week......On June 2, 2015 at 6:00 PM we will have our communities very first Jr Giants First Pitch meeting at Marguerite Maze School. We expect about 1,100 people at the meeting including about 530 kids signed up for Jr Giants inaugural season here in our community. I was told last week that with this number of kids in Jr. Giants, it makes our local Jr. Giants program one of the biggest ones in the Jr. Giants system. 
This program will work because of our partnerships are strong. This program will work because, many of you out there will help us. Hollister always helps when its needed.

What I thought would take five years, took a little over 5 months. Just think of what we as a community can do in five years.


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