By Karen Billing
The Rancho Santa Fe Community Center is capping off the year with a new logo and a new slogan.
The new slogan is “Grow Together,” aimed at shining a spotlight on the fact that the organization is more than just a youth-oriented place, it is a place that can bring everyone in the community together.
“We live in such a unique area in terms of properties being spread out and private, which is a great benefit but families always want to feel connected as neighbors,” said Linda Durket, executive director. “The Community Center is one of the greatest resources in terms of everyone coming together.”
The RSF Community Center is being steered by two new leaders: Durket and Molly Wohlford, board president, have both been on the job since June 12.
While they are relatively new to their leadership positions, both women have been involved with the center for the last few years. Durket, a Carmel Valley resident with a background in marketing and advertising, was the center’s office manager for the last two and a half years.
For Wohlford, the center has been a second home to her family since she moved to Rancho Santa Fe three years ago.
“I found it necessary to get involved because I was here all the time,” said Wohlford, whose two children have been enrolled in a wide variety of the center’s offerings.
New members on the board also include Alexia Bregman, Sue Schilling, Rachel Douglass and Cindy Moran.
As a board, Durket said they undertook a new strategic plan to put even more emphasis on reaching out to the community at large. They want to meet the needs of everyone in the community—children, adults, seniors and business owners.
“I want the community to get involved, this is their community center and we welcome all the input we can get,” said Durket. “If we’re not reaching you, we want to know why.”
The center offers everything from woodshop to dodgeball. Junior Dunkers keeps the gym crowded with children playing basketball, and morning yoga and Jazzercise appeals to active adults.
“You name it, we have it here right in your backyard,” Wohlford said.
They host Business and Newcomer’s Sundowners — the next one will be held on Jan. 30 — and new offerings such as Hip Hop and fashion design have been added, as well as a new partnership with the Rancho Santa Fe Tennis Club for tennis clinics.
Targeting adults over the summer, the center started its Supper Club, which was a series of three dinner events held at a private home in the Ranch. Each dinner had a different theme and about 60 people were in attendance for each one.
“It was very successful,” Durket said. “It was a nice way to get affirmative feedback from people that this is what the community is looking for. It got us thinking that we’re not confined by just the community center building, we want to bring the experience out into the community.”
As a mom, Wohlford said the center is especially helpful to families through its after-school programming. Staff members accompany children to the center from R. Roger Rowe after school and a shuttle brings children from Solana Santa Fe School. Drop-in programs are an option for parents who might find themselves stuck and unable to pick up their child right after school.
Wohlford said with the way Rancho Santa Fe homes are situated, it’s not a normal experience for children to be out riding bikes or meeting new friends.
“This is a great place for play dates because all of their friends are here at once and they have so many things to offer,” Wohlford said. “Parents don’t have to worry about having their kids here.”
The Community Center is unique in that it does not receive any state or federal funding and is completely separate from the Rancho Santa Fe Association.
The center gets big boosts from its two big annual fundraisers, the annual gala (which will be held on May 18, 2013 at the Fairbanks Ranch Country Club) and its annual golf tournament, which was held this fall in October.
The year-end appeal for donations is being made now and, after the new year, the center plans to launch its new membership drive.
“We do want to get the word out to get more people to be a part of the Community Center if they want it to continue to be a community resource,” Durket said.
Registration is now open for Winter Break Camp, Jan. 2-4. Activities on the schedule for kids ages kindergarten through fifth grade include rock climbing, ice skating and a movie outing. For more information, visit www.rsfcc.org.