Recreation Advisory Board Meeting Minutes - May 5, 2014

Minutes of the Recreation Advisory Committee held on May 5, 2014.

Members present:   Kristin David Cawn            Jonathan Meltz                

Michael O’Hara                  William Reich                   

Christia Alou White            Ken Whittaker

Bill Wolk


Members absent:    Kendra Borja                     Amy Wiborg                      


Also present:           Jerry Estep, Recreation Director

Leslie Rackl, Executive Assistant

Aimee Green Blumstein, Travel Soccer

Carlos Cuevas, Travel Soccer

Veronica Dumas, Travel Soccer

Yiannis Dumas, Travel Soccer

Andrea Gromelski Edwards, Travel Soccer

Joe Fedele, Travel Soccer

Joel Hoppenstein, Travel Soccer

Sheila Lopez, Travel Soccer

Santiago Maggi, Travel Soccer

Alison Mark, Travel Soccer

Silvia Majorca, Travel Soccer

Anne Mennes, Travel Soccer

Charles Prokopiou, Travel Soccer

Bob Sammons, Travel Soccer

Carlos Silva, Travel Soccer

Michele Togno, Travel Soccer


The meeting was called to order at 7:10 p.m.

Ms. Cawn made a motion to approve the minutes of the April 7, 2014, meeting. Motion seconded by Mr. Meltz and unanimously approved.

Mr. Estep gave a summary of the recreation programs at this time. The Egg Dive was divided with the first one comprised of 50 spring break campers and the second one with the public at 3 pm totaling 460. There were approximately 2500 in attendance at the Marshmallow with 900 bags of candy distributed. It was also noted that Shipwreck Cove is now open on weekends. Mr. Estep noted that the recreation department will be hiring 20-30% more summer counselors/lifeguards this year due to Obamacare with staff able to work a maximum of 30 hours/week.

Discussion turned to Travel Soccer which has grown to 17 teams and a lack of field space to accommodate the program. Amy Green Blumstein who has a daughter on the U13 team commented that the program is disorganized with inconsistent coaching. Ms. Blumstein is considering leaving the Shores to play elsewhere. Her son’s team (U10) is better organized due to the quality of the coaches. Andrea Edwards who has three children in the travel program (U13 girls/U11 girls/U9 boys) said the U13 team is disorganized and the kids are discouraged. The team asked Coach Bruno to help the team for the last six weeks of the season so the program could end on a high note; better management of the team is needed. Allison Mark commented that her daughter was hurt early in the season but said the coaches need to be trained in properly dealing with injuries. She also said that technical training is nonexistent. Anne Mennes said parents are paying thousands of dollars for nothing; Miami Shores is being misrepresented. The team is not playing games and will go and lose tournaments. Bob Sammons said there is a leadership issue; no guidance, no direction, no management, no schedule notification until midweek for a weekend game. Sheila Lopez also agreed there is no leadership and her daughter is losing passion for the sport. Carlos Cuevas said that a good quality coaching staff is needed; the facility is great. Michele Togno, the Team Mom, does not feel that Dave Ocampo can manage the team. Ms. Togno has offered to help Mr. Ocampo and the team. She noted that proper management and better coaches are needed. Shores Soccer should be hosting tournaments and using Barry’s fields. Joel Hoppenstein said that travel soccer needs to run professionally; it is now a full-time job. Silvia Majorca said her child tried out for the team but did not hear back until it was too late to go elsewhere; she said it is very disorganized and destroys the morale of both parents and children. Veronica Dumas does not want to go and play outside the Shores but said other programs are very well organized. Ms. Dumas noted bad experiences with the coaches and management issues. Country Day coaches have offered to come and coach but have not been offered positions. It was noted there are 18 kids with one coach. Joe Fedele said he has seen inconsistency with the coaches; some good and some bad. Mr. Fedele said the program is badly organized with a lack of leadership.

Mr. Estep said the recreation department ran the travel soccer program through 2006. There is an ordinance in Miami Shores to allow all residents to play regardless of ability which cuts out the nonresident players. The program was cut due to the recession. Presently Shores Soccer has 200 players; 70 residents and 130 nonresidents. This year the large number of player required some of the teams use Constitution Park for practice. It was noted that the parents will need to find a replacement if Mr. Ocampo were to leave the program. There is presently no contract between the Village and Shores Soccer Club but there will be one in the future which will require a charge to Miami Shores but these monies will go back into field maintenance. Mr. Estep said that tackle football is requested to utilize the fields between October-November which would impact travel soccer.

Mr. Whittaker said the next step is to present ‘packages’ for potential travel soccer replacements. Mr. Wolk said it seems as if the travel soccer program has become too big, too fast. It was suggested that one organization could be brought in to run the travel and intramural program. Mr. Estep said the Village would like the recreation program to remain in house. Mr. Estep said Miami Shores is polling other cities to see what they charge organizations to run travel programs. A proposal would be needed to go through the recreation department for a change in travel leadership. They will need to sign a one year contract, renewable yearly. It was observed that there is no cap on the number of participants with travel soccer. A suggestion was made to set a establish a maximum number of teams and have the program work within this number. A final decision will be made based on the residents currently in the program.

The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.