Shawn Mills has been hired as director of the Long County Recreation Department. Mills, who medically retired from the military in 2004, has been a resident of the county since 2000, and works as a supply information management officer at Fort Stewart.
Outgoing head Kerry Hunt and the recreation board recommended Mills for the position.
He’s served as a volunteer with the department for the past two years.
When he took the job in June, he said he knew it would be a challenge because of all the growth in the county.
One of the problems he has had to deal with pertains to the complex itself. According to Mills, it is not large enough to accommodate the needs of the county.
“We have almost tripled the number of kids we have now from just two years ago. We just don’t have the fields to handle the number of kids who want to play the different sports,” Mills said.
Because of a lack of space, the recreation department had to obtain permission from the school board to schedule some of the baseball practices at Smiley Elementary School during the past year.
During football season, the county team was unable to host home game, because there was no football field, he said. This year, he hopes the board of education would approve the use of Veterans Stadium for the football program’s home games.
Mills said there are plans to expand the current facilities and add four new baseball fields, one soccer field, a football field, a concession stand, and increase the parking, but he doesn’t know when the work will be done.
“The county has been working on the land, and the commissioners have told me they are working on the future plans,” Mills said.
In addition to those concerns, the recreation department has several immediate need Mills hopes will be resolved in the upcoming year.
“We need a new roof on the building where we store our equipment, several pieces of equipment, and overall just a larger budget,” he said.
Mills also noted the recreation department was introducing several new programs this year including football for children, 7 to 8 years old, and a fall baseball program for those ages 11 and 12.
“We are taking applications for fall ball now because we know it will help the kids before they move to the next level,” Mills said.
“I want to make the program a better, safer, environment for the kids. There is nothing like seeing a kid improve in a sport, and helping him prepare for the next level.,” he said. “With the help of the parents and the county we can do this together.”
• Football, ages 7-12
• Cheerleading, ages 9-12
• Fall baseball, ages 11-12 (registration is under way)
• Soccer, ages 4-18
(registration is under way and culminates Aug. 28)
• Basketball, ages 7-12 (registration is Nov. 1-28)
• Baseball / T-ball, ages 4-14 (registration Feb. 1-28)
• Softball, ages 7-14 (registration Feb. 1-28)