More Community Involvement is Needed, says New Brunswick Citizens Recreation Committee

By: Kiarra Lyles

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. Feb. 1 – The 9-member New Brunswick Citizens Recreation Committee made a call for more local volunteer engagement to supplement recreational community outreach programs at their first quarterly meeting of the year Thursday, January 21st at the Hub Teen Recreation Center.

Superintendent of Recreation Edward Spencer said he would like to see more volunteer involvement in recreational programs, particularly from Rutgers University students who realize that they are a part of the New Brunswick community as well. Spencer and the committee’s Chair, Christopher Coulthard, agreed that the number of people involved in local recreational programs, including the number of attendees, remains a huge issue.

“When you see fields, basketball courts, and tennis courts not being used, that’s something that needs to be addressed,” Spencer said. “We aim to make New Brunswick happy. But we need more volunteers to help us.”

DaShun Cathcart, a long-term New Brunswick residence and Rutgers alum, said volunteer involvement was never an issue in the past.

“When I was growing up and attending after-school sports programs, lack of volunteers was never a problem,” the 31-year-old said. “No one seems to care anymore. And if there are volunteers, they don’t take it serious. Now it’s just young kids who participate because they need something to put on their resume.” Cathcart also attributed the absence of volunteers to lack of community unity. Not one member of the public attended the committee’s meeting.

There was a small debate on what initiatives could be implemented to bring in more volunteers. According to Spencer, getting more volunteers involved ultimately begins within the committee itself – by personally reaching out to the community.