The Statesboro-Bulloch Parks and Recreation Department (SBCPRD) hosted its annual Volunteer Appreciation Cookout at Splash in the Boro Waterpark earlier this month. In a special awards ceremony last week at R.J’s Steakery, SBCPRD presented Volunteers of the Year awards to 4 people—Brandon Williams, Ricky Allen, Lily Eighmie and Sarah Hall.
The Athletics Division Volunteer of the Year, Brandon Williams, has been coaching for five years. He is a Statesboro native who grew up playing in the SBCPRD baseball and football programs. Brandon is a graduate of Statesboro High School and Georgia Southern University. He was the owner Williams & Associates Roofing Co. as well as youth minister at First United Methodist Church. In 2008, he decided to step out on his own and founded Connection Church which has turned into a successful ministry for him and his family, as well as, the Statesboro community. Brandon served as a football coach for his son, Dake, last fall as well as his baseball coach this past spring. This current fall season, he is coaching two of his sons, Dake and Jackson, in football. His leadership and dedication to volunteerism is evident by the amount of time he has devoted to the SBCPRD organization alone.
“Brandon is committed to teaching not only the skills and fundamentals it takes to learn a sport but also the sportsmanship and teamwork traits it takes to become a successful athlete,” says Athletic Superintendent, Darryl Hopkins.
The Community Recreation Volunteer of the Year is Ricky Allen. “Each year we are pleased to offer a very special program in which we work very closely with Santa Clause to help and make sure that each child’s special list arrives to him in time for Christmas!,” says Alison Brown, Community Recreation Supervisor. “Ricky has had a direct connection with Santa Clause and helps to insure that hundreds of children in Bulloch County receive a phone call each Christmas. This program requires a lot of help from all of our Elves and for the last 15 years Mr. Ricky Allen has been the first to sign up when we ask for help! He has also always been willing to put in extra time if needed.”
Outside of his Elf duties, Ricky is the Minister of Education and Outreach at First Baptist Church. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife Susan have two daughters and two grandsons!
SBCPRD offers volunteer opportunities for youth ages 13 to 15 to gain valuable work experience for future jobs. These Counselors-in-Training (CITs) provide assistance in recreational activities with younger children during Summer Camp. This year’s award recipients gave up three weeks or more of their summer vacation to volunteer with SBCPRD.
The CIT of the Year were selected by the day camp staff that work directly with these volunteers. The staff had the following to say about this year’s recipients, Lily Eighme and Sarah Hall.
Lily Eighme is a very patient person who especially excelled at working with the younger children. She made sure to always stay busy either playing with kids, helping a staff prepare for activities, or cleaning. If she was unsure what needed to be done, she asked if there was anything she could do. The children loved playing with her. Lily was a great help to the camp staff.
Sarah Hall was the most energetic person in the CIT program this year. She always came in ready to work and asking what we needed her to do. Sarah is very knowledgeable about our summer camp program, having been around it for several years – 5 years to be exact. She is very playful with the children and friendly with the staff and children.
Volunteers are an integral part of a successful recreation department and its programs. SBCPRD relies on over 500 volunteers per year.
“Without the support of our many volunteers, SBCPRD would not be able to successfully run many of our programs,” says Mike Rollins, Director of SBCPRD.
“We’d like to thank all of our volunteers who give unselfishly of their time and energy each season, each year,” says Rollins. “It is you who makes our department successful and you who the children will remember for years to come.”
To become a volunteer with SBCPRD, please contact Kimberly Sharpe at (912) 489-9087 or pick up an application at the Honey Bowen Building or online at www.bullochrec.com.