Point of View: Let’s bring together the community through recreation

Eudaemonia, Koinonia, Gemænscipe.

All of these ancient words are a description of “community” — the fellowship, happiness, welfare, human flourishing and prosperity of a group of people united by interpersonal relationships.

Community is why my husband and I moved to Homer after we both retired in 2010. We are both lifelong Alaskans having lived in Anchorage for 50-plus years before moving to Homer. Recreation has always been the gateway for me to meet people and establish long-lasting friendships.

As stated in the 2015 PARC (Parks, Arts, Recreation & Culture) Needs Assessment: “Community parks and beaches, indoor and outdoor sports, visual and performing arts, cultural events and festivals are all part of the local quality of life for residents of all ages.

“This is part of what makes Homer what it is, part of what brings new friends and family to live in the area, and part of what keeps residents healthy and engaged in community life.”

Homer’s rich system of parks and trails provide exercise and spaces where neighbors can meet. Our diverse community recreation programs (karate, volleyball, basketball, flag football, pickleball, jewelry making, introductory Spanish, etc.) provide a means to learn new skills and have fun while meeting new people.

To date, the City has treated indoor and outdoor recreation as separate entities when they should be considered one. Over 60% of Alaska communities have taken steps to combine parks and community recreation into one department — communities like Soldotna, Seward, Kenai, Kodiak, Wrangell, Bethel, Wasilla, Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau. The benefit has been both increased collaboration and greater efficiencies.

The 2015 PARC Needs Assessment recognized this when they recommended the City consider a centralized City Parks and Recreation Department. It’s time this recommendation is implemented. It would send an important message about how our City values recreation.

The usage of indoor and outdoor spaces demonstrates how much our community values recreation as it continues to provide for the welfare of our people which in turn builds community — Eudaemonia, Koinonia, Gemænscipe.

Janie Leask is a lifelong Alaskan with a love of recreational sports and a strong belief in community involvement.