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Badminton to Jedi Knight training
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There were only about a dozen people using the Golden West Community Gym when Toni Lundgren opened the doors to the possibility of new programs that the Parks and Recreation Department could offer.

One of the suggestions that seemed unlikely to gain a following large enough to sustain any sort of league – badminton – is slowly starting to build up as a sport with classes that were offered over the summer..

While other suggested programs like organized volleyball have yet to materialize because of low numbers, Lundgren remains optimistic that some of the programs will eventually come to fruition. She is pleased that the public is taking a role in shaping the programs that the department is offering its residents.

“Even though we didn’t have a very big turnout at that meeting, it shows that people care and they want to get involved and that’s very important,” Lundgren said. “We’ve been able to make some concessions like open gym volleyball on Fridays and things like that, but it’s the input that allows us to move forward with programs that will garner the highest enrollment.”

Starting this weekend, Lundgren will oversee a 30-team senior softball tournament that will utilize five fields spread out over two different cities. This past Saturday a massive soccer tournament, sponsored by a Stockton-based company, was held at Woodward Park.

 “On our end, seeing the numbers rise is the best indication that people are enjoying themselves – they’re telling their friends and they’re coming back,” Lundgren said. “I’m excited about the possibilities that lie ahead in the future, and am stoked that we’ve been able to expand the way we have.”

And not all of the offerings have been traditional.

Over the summer scuba lessons were offered at Lincoln Pool to teach people the basics of underwater exploration in a controlled environment. Next month the city is offering a Star Wars Jedi Knight Training Program that has already filled up.

It’s the combination of the classic and the new, Lundgren said, that has helped raise the numbers.

“I think that people really like the variety,” she said. “It’s not the same old thing and people can try things that are different that they’ve always wanted to try.”

On Saturday, Oct. 3, the Parks and Recreation Department is starting a developmental basketball league for players who might want the more laid back environment before jumping into the fast-paced league that always draws big numbers. The program will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Golden West gymnasium. For more information call 456-8600.

To contact Jason Campbell e-mail or call (209) 249-3544.