Tri-parish area’s recreation boasts increased interest

Lafourche anticipates completion of several projects in ’13
November 13, 2012
Expert knowledge, resources keep travelers going
November 13, 2012
Lafourche anticipates completion of several projects in ’13
November 13, 2012
Expert knowledge, resources keep travelers going
November 13, 2012

There’s more to life than Facebook, video games and NetFlix.

That’s the message local recreation officials want to preach to children in the Tri-parish area.

In another year on the job, recreation officials tout that their numbers are up and more local children are taking the field in various sports offered in the area.

“We feel like it’s important that every kid in the parish gets the opportunity to come out and enjoy the world of sports and sporting programs,” Terrebonne Parish Recreation Director Sterling Washington said. “The ultimate goal of this is to get the kids to come out and to teach them some life skills that they can carry on when they leave the recreation program and progress through the school system on their path toward becoming adults.”

In Terrebonne, Washington said the organization is enjoying a boost in numbers across the board.

TPR currently provides football, basketball and baseball for boys and volleyball, cheerleading, basketball and softball for girls.

“Our numbers are definitely up,” Washington said. “We’re seeing more interest.”

In both Lafourche and St. Mary parishes, similar youth leagues are in place to provide sporting activities for local children.

Both parishes report a similar story to TPR and say that numbers are increased. In Lafourche Parish, South Lafourche Biddy Basketball has boosted its numbers for the third-straight year and is now one of the biggest youth basketball organizations in the area.

A flag football organization in Lafourche Parish has also taken root and is steadily growing in enrollment.

Through the youth programs, children are able to learn success.

Washington said sporting teams in TPR advanced to nationals in Biddy in several age groups. Biddy organizations in South Lafourche, Raceland, Lockport, Thibodaux and Morgan City also achieved that level of success.

“It’s great for the kids,” Washington said. “We had a great year with our teams and it’s great for them because they get to learn a lot about themselves through sports.”

While the children get most of the love, several adult sporting leagues are also beginning to surface throughout the area.

In TPR, Washington said his organization offer adult league basketball and also men and women’s softball leagues.

In Lafourche Parish, similar leagues are also in place throughout the parish.

Washington said the popularity of the adult leagues are growing all across the area. He pointed to softball as an example of the growth.

Washington said that those leagues used to mix both men and women in the same league. Because so many people have joined, men and women are able to have their own leagues.

“We want the adults to have an opportunity to get out there during their leisure time and have some activities that they enjoy doing,” Washington said. “We’ve had people locally, as well as teams outside of our parish who have wanted to come and play in our program. It’s been a pretty big success.”

While programs continue to operate without a hitch, new facilities are getting polish in the area.

In Lafourche Parish, the biggest project to be completed is on Nicholls State University’s campus.

The Harold J. Callais Memorial Recreation Center was completed in the past year. A project funded by student fees, the recreation center is available to Colonel students, faculty and will eventually be open to alumni.

Featured in the building are basketball courts, volleyball courts, exercise studio, cardio equipment and strength training equipment.

The complex also contains lighted outdoor fields for softball and flag football.

Nicholls State director of campus recreation Michael Matherne said the center places the university in Louisiana’s top tier for recreational facilities.

“Our equipment is second to none,” Matherne said over the summer. “For example, every piece of cardio equipment will have its own screen on it similar to an iPad, which will be touch responsive. … These cardio machines will set the standard in the state. There’s not another recreation center in any college in Louisiana that will be as advanced as our facility will be.”

Also in Lafourche, Hero’s Park in Thibodaux underwent a makeover in the past year and now more modern in its walking tracks and softball fields, among other areas.

In Terrebonne, Washington said TPR wouldn’t be adding to its facilities in the future.

“We’re just looking to maintain what we have in place,” Washington said.

But a citizen group is currently in the preliminary stages of trying to raise money to help add lights and some polish to the Southdown football stadium in Houma.

If completed, that’d allow TPR to expand the times that it plays youth football.

“We currently play from early in the morning until right at the time when the sun goes down and we can’t play anymore,” Washington said. “We’ve got it timed just about right.”

It’s all about the kids – that’s what everyone involved always emphasizes.

Recreation is a vital stepping stone designed to developing children’s personalities.

Washington said he believes his organization helps shape leaders in the community.

“We’ve seen it before,” he said. “Our kids leave the recreation program and head into the junior highs and high schools and are leaders in their sports. With a lot of things in the world going on, the more kids you can have doing the right things, the better it will be for everyone in the end.”

A pair of South Lafourche Biddy Basketball All-Stars compete in the organization’s All-Star Showcase last season. Local recreation officials tout that youth sport enrollment is up across the board in the Tri-parish area.