Newparksdirector

JACK BARNWELL/MOJAVE DESERT NEWS

Carlos Hernandez, Cal City’s new parks and recreation coordinator, introduces himself during a parks and recreation meeting on Friday, Nov. 13.

CALIFORNIA CITY — California City welcomes a new parks and recreation coordinator as the city attempts to recover from shedding of staff due to budgetary problems and a slump in its recreation programs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Carlos Hernandez comes from Palmdale, where he worked as a senior recreation program leader. Hernandez said he worked 12 years with Palmdale, starting in 2008 as a program leader. As a senior program leader, he oversaw two rec centers, special events, and some aquatics programs.

Hernandez was introduced to the Parks and Recreation Commission during its Nov. 13 meeting.

Asked about lifeguard training, Hernandez said he had some experience working with others

“I used to work hand-in-hand with the aquatics coordinator overseeing our first responder day camp,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez’s experience in sports was a little more extensive.

“I did staff-taught programming for youth programs like pee-wee soccer, tee-ball all-stars, volleyball fundamentals, basketball hoopsters and toddler programming to 12 years old,” Hernandez said. “When it came to leagues, it was more assisting but they had their own coordinators. It was on-site at rec centers, so it was more making sure programs were scheduled properly.”

Hernandez said one of his first goals will be outreach, including a Facebook and Instagram account. 

“I definitely want to engage the public which is important right now because of social distancing,” Hernandez said. “Perhaps just questions or something like that, so we’re thinking of implementing something tech-based.”

He added he’s been looking at past programs the city had including Torstise Day and Holiday Village.

“I’m trying to see how we get the green light ready and move forward from there,” Hernandez said.

In a brief interview on Friday, Hernandez said he sees a lot of potential for California City’s recreation department. 

“I can see a lot of growth in the programming,” he said, acknowledging the current slump due to COVID-19. “I just want to bring my expertise from my previous job.”

Hernandez also stresses the importance of recreation in a community as small as California City.

“It’s very important just because of the size out here and the programming of what’s to come,” Hernandez said. “I’m thinking that’s where some of it can start by being online and surely get into the programming for the future.”

He also noted some safety measures implemented during the pandemic may play some importance in the future.

“I think it is something that will have to be considered in our programming, depending on what the county’s requirements are,” Hernandez said. “I do want to enrich our community with our programs, but we have to make sure public safety is our priority ... if anything, I think there are certain measures that can be taken. I’m sure how it will look like right now but it is something to consider.”

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