New Rec Center leaders focus on improvement

By Sarah Meyer: PNT Staff Writer

The new management team of the Portales Recreation Center is focusing on fun and improvement.

Michael Doerr, athletic director for the center, and Andrea “Andy” Copenhaver, after school program director, want to see the center used by the community all day long, not just for children’s activities after school.

“Recreation is not only about youth,” said Doerr. “The center should be maximized to fit the recreational needs of the community.”

Copenhaver wants to have classes along with community events, and have the center open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. rather than just 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Doerr wants to improve the existing city sports leagues with organization and effective communication.

“I’d like to add a lot more adult leagues,” he said.

The two said they are working to meet the requirements needed to become a Boys and Girls Club. Those requirements include fitness, arts and crafts, recreation and education, said Copenhaver.

They also want to make the Rec Center more of a community center.

“We plan on being more involved with the schools and with Eastern New Mexico University,” said Doerr.

“We want to get kids more involved with the community,” said Copenhaver. “We’re trying to get kids connected with adults and adults connected with kids.”

And fun is part of the game plan.

“Me and Andy are big kids,” said Doerr. “We work hard, but we have fun all day.”

Doerr, son of Portales attorney Steven Doerr, has a degree in international cultural studies from California Lutheran University. He has coached teams and describes himself as a lifelong athlete. He’s also fluent in Spanish.

And though he’s traveled, he’s back in the town where he grew up.

“I want to give back to it,” he said. “I want to see these programs succeed.”

Copenhaver is a military wife with a 2-year-old son. She graduated from Culver-Stockton College in Missouri with a degree in recreation management. She has worked for seven years as a personal trainer and fitness instructor for people of all ages.

“I’m striving to create a center that I would want to send my own child to,” she said.

The management team began work Nov. 12. They said several of the proposed changes will be implemented after Jan. 1.

Membership in the Rec Center is $10 a year, which provides access to all activities offered at the center. Open registration for youth basketball is now taking place.

Information: 356-8598.