After a short absence in the city’s recreation department, officials have hired a new director just as the summer sports season is gearing up.
Earlier this month, the Lincoln Recreation Commission hired Jessica Clay to replace Sarah Hageman, who resigned in January. Clay is the third director in the department’s eight-year history.
Clay, who relocated to Lincoln from Durango, Colo., two years ago, worked at Lincoln Park Manor prior to taking the position. Despite the director’s position being part-time, Clay said it was in the best interest of her family to leave her job at the nursing facility at the end of the month to focus on her new role.
Clay said she decided to apply for the position with the hopes she could bring new insight and ideas to the recreation department.
“I feel we have a great program in our community, and there is no reason that it could not grow and become more,” she said. “Growing up in a small community in northern Colorado, we were lucky to have an outstanding recreation department that not only offered youth and adult sports, but other activities that would appeal to those who were not interested in athletics. I would love to see this program become so much more, and believe that with the support of the board and the
community, we can improve upon the strong foundation that we already have.”
After moving to Lincoln with her two children, ages 7 and 4, Clay got involved in the recreation department, coaching youth sports. In addition to coaching teams in Colorado, she also has experience working with non-profit organizations, including running committees, marketing and working with sponsors and business owners.
“Hopefully those experiences will help me in the different aspects of this position,” she said. “I am open and willing to listen to the comments and concerns brought forward to make the rec. program succeed.”
The recreation director is responsible for planning, organizing and directing both youth and adult activities and sports programs. In her new role, Clay will continue to oversee and expand on the current program offerings. Some of those activities include youth basketball, soccer, flag football and volleyball as well as summer baseball, softball and tee ball programs. Other activities include the annual Easter egg hunt, summer craft projects, contests, holiday events and adult exercise classes.
Although office hours currently vary, Clay said she sees the department having more regular business hours once she is in her new role. Until that time, the commission is still overseeing the department.
The Lincoln Recreation Department was founded in July 2007 when the City of Lincoln established a seven-member recreation commission and paid recreation director position. The department serves residents of both the Lincoln and Sylvan-Lucas Unified school districts. Board members include David Dohe, USD 299 representative, Deb Zachgo, USD 298 representative, Kae Hayworth, Lincoln City representative, Cody Flinn, Lincoln City representative, Lara Keever, Lincoln City representative, Linda Haring, Lincoln City representative and Sally Behrens, Lincoln County representative.