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Island Rec does more than you may know | Guest column

By John Kurtz

San Juan Island School District Board Director

San Juan Island has been my home for the last 25 years. Raising my family here afforded me the opportunity to be involved with youth sports on this island for 16 years. I have been President of FHAA, Vice President of the NCYFL, and Chairman of the Friday Harbor Fields Board and currently sit on the San Juan Island School District Board.

The experience of coaching our youth in football, baseball, and basketball made me appreciate the importance of volunteering and giving back to the community. When I was asked to coach in the Island Rec Youth Basketball league I jumped at the opportunity. I was able to see firsthand the joy that the youth of our community got from competing in a fair and balanced program. This experience opened my eyes to how much Island Rec does for our Community.

But that is just a small part.

Island Rec provides programs for our community for people of ALL ages. After school programs, the dog park, the Lafarge open space, fitness classes, and much more. Island Rec’s ability to provide these services is based solely upon the levy that this community has continuously supported.

In 2009, Island Rec asked the community to help save High School sports. Our community embraced this. Creating the most innovative partnership in the state of Washington. As a member of the San Juan Island School Board for the last 6 years, I can tell you without the support from this levy we would not have High School Sports on San Juan Island. Having attended the Washington State School Board annual conference for the last 6 years, other districts in the state are inspired by the partnership made with Island Park and Rec.

In 2016, the Friday Harbor Fields board brought San Juan Island school district, The Town of Friday Harbor, Island Rec, and all the youth sports organizations (FHAA, San Juan Soccer, San Juan Youth baseball/softball) together to get funding to build the John O Linde Fields at the end of Carter Street. This park was built with privately donated funds on school district property in the Town of Friday Harbor. The key to getting the funds was having Island Rec agree to maintain and manage the park.

Island Rec is asking us to simply renew the current levy. This is not an increase in taxes. I am asking everyone to return their ballots for the April 27 election. It will take 2,549 votes to validate this election. I hope I have persuaded you to vote YES, but regardless I am asking you to make your voice heard and take the time to vote by April 27.