La Jolla Recreation Center gets new assistant director, plans holiday festivities and more

The La Jolla Community Recreation Group meets online about matters pertaining to the La Jolla Recreation Center.
The La Jolla Community Recreation Group currently meets online about matters pertaining to the La Jolla Recreation Center.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

Amid its growing popularity, the La Jolla Recreation Center has hired a new assistant director.

Jon’nae McFarland will replace former Assistant Director Quinlan Olds, who left in June, Recreation Center Director Nicholas Volpe told the La Jolla Community Recreation Group during its Oct. 26 meeting. The CRG oversees the Rec Center.

McFarland will start Saturday, Oct. 29, joining Volpe, Brittany Mitchell and Jesus Hizon on the staff.

Also, San Diego Parks & Recreation Department District Manager Salome Martinez has been promoted to program manager in the department.

Parks & Recreation Area Manager Rosalia Castruita said Jaime Diez is acting as interim manager through Friday, Nov. 11. The department then will rotate others during the vacancy.

The staffing changes come as increasing numbers of people of all ages are using the Rec Center at 615 Prospect St., Volpe said.

“It’s great to see everybody coming out and enjoying this lovely park that we have,” he said.

Other CRG news

Rec Center as vote center: The Recreation Center will be open longer hours starting Oct. 29 so people can vote in person in the November election. The hours will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Nov. 7 and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8 (Election Day).

Every active registered voter was to have received a ballot in the mail around Oct. 10.

Oct. 28, 2022

Return to in person?: The Community Recreation Group discussed whether to keep meeting via Zoom or resume meeting in person, though it delayed a decision until its next meeting.

The Parks & Rec Department is asking all CRGs in San Diego to meet in person, “as we did before the pandemic,” Castruita said.

However, those that want to stay online may do so, but must notify the department, she said.

The La Jolla Community Recreation Group meets Oct. 26 online. It discussed whether to return to in-person meetings.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

Zoom is “the most efficient way” to meet, CRG member Jon Wiggins said. “It’s a lot better way to be inclusive with the community. … It’s really the standard of the industry now.”

CRG member Pat Miller said she prefers Zoom as well.

Member Jill Peters said “we end up taking care of more business when we meet in person. And I think it brings us together and makes us a more cohesive group when we’re meeting in person.”

“I do appreciate Zooms because it’s a difficult time of day,” Peters added, “but once a month, I can make the time to get down to the Rec Center and … meet some people that might have some questions in person and have a chat with them before or after the meeting.”

CRG secretary Jan Harris agreed with both Wiggins and Peters, suggesting the group alternate each month between meeting in person and on Zoom.

Holiday lights: As it is every year, the Rec Center will be decorated with exterior holiday lights and donated inflatable decorations. The lights will be turned on the week of Thanksgiving, Castruita said.

“We’re continuing to make sure that the facility looks festive,” she said.

Volpe said he wants to decorate the inside of the building as well.

Movie, Santa and more: Volpe said the Rec Center will host a holiday movie night on Friday, Dec. 16, featuring a screening of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” plus a visit from Santa Claus, an inflatable bounce house and obstacle course, face painting and more.

Next meeting: The La Jolla Community Recreation Group next meets at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7, online. To learn more, call (858) 552-1658. ◆