Candidates discuss enhancements for youths


The five-member Canyon Lake Property Owners Association Board of Directors are collectively responsible for the management and operation of the CLPOA’s business affairs. The board members are elected for staggered two-year terms.

Two of the five seats are up for election on May 10 when the two-year terms of Paul Queen and Dale Welty expire. The candidates, in order they will be listed on the ballot, are incumbent Dale Welty, Dudley Thompson and Jim Barringham.

In the weeks leading up to the election, The Friday Flyer is feature a series of questions to the candidates. During this period, residents will have a chance to hear directly from the candidates and learn what they hope to accomplish if elected to serve.

In this fifth installment of questions for the candidates, The Friday Flyer invited them to answer the following question in 500 or fewer words:

Question: Young people are the future of Canyon Lake. How would you propose to enhance the environment for youth in the community?

Dale Welty

Dale Welty. Photo by Donna Rtichie.

I have adult children who have been raised in Canyon Lake as well as an 11-year-old growing up here now. One of my goals for the community is to create a culture of success for our children. Canyon Lake has wonderful youth programs in place that add to this culture of success. We also have great amenities that create a place for these programs to happen. We have baseball fields for baseball and softball, a pool for swimming and water polo lessons, a golf course for kid’s golf programs, an equestrian center for horse camps and tennis courts to develop competitive tennis players.

I was the chairmen of the Recreation Committee and I am currently the committee’s board liaison. The committee members have ties to the equestrian center, campground, Bassmasters Club, Little League, senior center, pickleball and tennis center. We have been working together to promote activities for Canyon Lakers including the children.

There are also a number of other clubs that provided programs for our children, such as the golf club community, Jr. Women’s Club, Family Matters club, theater group and Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. The recreation committee works to bring programs for children to the community. This summer, we hope to add science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs to the community.

Children involved in afterschool activities behave better, do better at school, score higher on academic tests and are in overall better health. Physical fitness improves achievement on standardized reading and math tests and helps fight obesity rates for our children. Tennis players have the second highest graduation success rates for college students, second only to lacrosse.

The community benefits when the community is focused on the success of their children. Redfin, a national realty broker, issued a study that found that people would pay $50 a square foot more for a home in top-ranked school zone. “Forty to fifty years of social science research tells us what an important context neighborhoods are, so buying a neighborhood is probably one of the most important things you can do for your kid,” says Ann Owens, a sociologist at the University of Southern California. “There’s mixed evidence on whether buying all this other stuff matters, too. But buying a neighborhood basically provides huge advantages.”

At the end of the day our children are our best assets and the most important factor in the success of our children is the Canyon Lake parents. I want to encourage canyon lake parents to get their children involved in the programs offered in Canyon Lake and in the surrounding communities; your family and the community will be better for it. Working with the clubs and organizations we can develop a culture of success for our children that is critical to the long-term success of our community.

Dudley Thompson

Dudley Thompson. Photo by Donna Rtichie.

It’s estimated that there are twice as many children and young people (under 18 years) in Canyon Lake as there were 20 years ago. When one looks at Canyon Lake and compares the youth recreational facilities at nearby developing communities, there is little doubt that we fall short. It’s important that new ideas for youth recreational and social activities be investigated and implemented to meet the needs of this significant portion of our population.

There is an ongoing effort by the Facilities Review Committee (FRC) to identify activities that would be feasible and compatible with our community for younger residents. The planned pump track and splash pads are good examples. They are identified as number one and two on the priority list published by the FRC for new amenities. I salute these actions and I would continue to move them forward if elected.

In the past, initial planning for projects has fallen by the wayside after further study. I suggest that a “Youth Summit” be hosted by the POA to find out what they would like. This forum could be used to listen and learn about what they are really interested. The “wish list” could also serve as an aid to the POA Board when planning for new amenities and activities. There could also be consideration to have a youth representative (high school age) on select POA committees, such as the Recreation Committee. It could be used as a learning platform and they would be part of the process. This is used in education on school boards and in cities on appropriate commissions involving youth – the ones that are being served are involved. Just a thought for the committee’s consideration and comment.

Canyon Lake has innumerable amenities, parks, tennis courts, equestrian center, golf course, ball fields, lake and swimming pool in place that could be utilized for planned youth activities. Professionally run lessons and activities could provide an opportunity for participants to learn athletic, artistic and musical skills. Year-round activities that are safe, fun and intellectually challenging should be included along with programs that provide outdoor fun and strengthens the imagination and facilitates face-to-face communication.

In addition to amenities, existing Canyon Lake clubs and organizations should be challenged to develop programs and events for youth. Field trips to places of interest like the March ARB Air and Space Museum, Griffith Park Observatory and the Presidential Libraries are an example. Younger children might enjoy a trip to Station 60 to see a fire engine and station close up.

Finding productive use of time for the youth of our community can pay dividends in reduced vandalism and other anti-social behavior. Idle hands and minds can easily drift into less than productive activity. We say that young people are our future. We need to take the time to invest in them as we would other issues affecting our future. There’s a lot of talent in Canyon Lake that can be utilized to benefit everyone’s future, especially that of the youth in our community.

Jim Barringham

Jim Barringham. Photo by Donna Rtichie.

Since young people are one of my major concerns when thinking of the health and well-being of our youth, we need to have a meaningful participation and involvement of our young people in sports, programs and activities. In addition to building leadership skills, engaging youth in the community will also create a sense of belonging and purpose for our youth.

We need to get the kids off their phones, their computer games and keep them connected to the real world. Considering the recent shootings at various schools, I would say now more than ever, we need to be plugged into our youth. They are our future. They are very important.

Let me go over some different areas in our community. I hear there’s already an active golf program for the kids. I know the Kid’s Golf Camp that is offered during the summer has always been a very fun week for the kids. I think our golfing community does an excellent job with our kids for that event. I would support any programs that would benefit golf and our youth.

As you know, I was the Tennis Club president since Jan. 2017 but recently stepped down as to not have a conflict of interest. Marga Kidd did a great job building up tennis over the years as the president but there was a need for a full-time tennis director to run the tennis program. I was involved in working with the POA and board of directors setting a new system into place. We look forward to our tennis kids benefiting with potential college scholarships.

I’ve been reaching out to so many of our residents as to their ideas of enhancing our community. I have heard a few times about how great it used to be when there was a summer camp offered for our kids at the equestrian center. I think it’s something I would like to look into and perhaps bring it back.

I live near the ball field and I hear all the excitement and see the families enjoying this amenity. I am aware of safety issues around Gault Field, we need to make sure everyone is safe when crossing the street.

I know that kids need to be more active and enjoy the outdoors. At the “Meet the Candidates,” it was quite clear that all three candidates for the POA Board support the youth of our community. When asked if we would support a family friendly park, we were all on board. Seems we all supported the proposed BMX bike pump track and splash pad projects that the committees have been working on.

When young people realize their voices and opinions are being considered, they will feel that they are a true part of our community. Finally, empowering youth to be engaged in the community has shown to decrease traditional problem behaviors.

Our community then will become a place where youth and adults share the common interest of making our “Little Bit of Paradise” a better place.