Serving Confidence and Fun
Garner, North Carolina
Imagine walking into a noisy gym. You duck (just in time!) as a ball sails over the net and flies toward you. It’s the first day of the park and recreation volleyball league, and the room is full of excitement and potential.
Garner, North Carolina mom, Lidia, and her daughters, Tationna, Charlize, Leilani and Mya, have come to know this scene well.
As a volunteer coach, Lidia has coached all four of her daughters in volleyball — and has experienced sports’ positive impact on other kids in their community, too.
“The most fulfilling thing about coaching is to see where the kids start and where they end up,” Lidia, who coaches for the Garner Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources league, said. “It amazes me every year, and it amazes their parents. I can’t believe what they are able to do by the end of the season.”
Her goal is helping players build their confidence while having fun. She intentionally makes the kids on her team feel welcome and accepted, but also focuses on building their skills. Lidia knows that when children build confidence while playing sports, that confidence can impact other parts of their life, too (like school or a future career).
The coach also loves how accessible park and recreation sports are for the whole community.
“Some sports, like volleyball, can get really expensive when you get into clubs,” Lidia says. “Park and rec programs are an economical way of getting kids started in sports and new hobbies.”
In addition to offering affordable programs, parks and recreation welcomes kids to many different sports and play options.
“My husband and I are the kinds of parents who want our kids to explore their options and start early so our kids can figure out what they would like to pursue,” Lidia says. “Local park and recreation departments are a great way of doing that.”
That’s why to many kids like Tationna, Charlize, Leilani and Mya, park and recreation agencies feel like home. The girls attended summer camps plus arts and crafts programs from a young age, then started playing sports, too.
When asked what she would tell families about park and recreation sports, Lidia has a simple message she knows her daughters agree with: just go for it!