New CWJRD director named

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By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

Messenger photo by Linda Dillman
Greg Pearce, CWJRD’s new executive director, sorts through boxes of uniforms and supplies as the joint recreation district gears up for a new season of programming.

Greg Pearce has been named the Canal Winchester Joint Recreation District’s first executive director.

Pearce, who previously served as Pickerington’s recreation coordinator, was hired late last year and started working for the CWJRD Jan. 10. He said becoming a director has always been a career goal.

“I felt that my prior work experiences had prepared me to lead a department at this time,” said Pearce. “The city of Canal Winchester has shown their commitment to recreation by investing in McGill Park, and having Canal Winchester Local Schools as a partner with CWJRD makes this position very exciting to be a part of as we move into the future. Having a heavy involvement in youth activities was also attractive to this position. While there is a lot of planning, communication, and administrative work that goes on behind the scenes, being able to see the participants and their families have a great experience is very rewarding to me.”

Pearce’s work experience also includes a position as the Outdoor and Satellite Facilities Coordinator with the Department of Recreational Sports at The Ohio State University for several years. He oversaw programming, facility rentals, and special events in his job with Pickerington.

The CWJRD is jointly operated by the city and the Canal Winchester school district and administers athletic and recreational programs. In Nov. 2021, Canal Winchester City Council approved an agreement with the CWJRD that runs through Jan. 31, 2027. While the money was not tagged for a specific purpose, it provides funding to cover the executive director position.

In 2021, the district received $20,850 which was a prorated amount, followed by $83,400 per year for 2022-25. In 2026, the prorated amount drops down to $61,550. City, council and school district representatives worked throughout the spring and summer to draft the job description.

Pearce will oversee the operation of over a dozen programs that range from youth athletics to adult programs. He hopes to add additional programming in the future including summer camps and non-athletic programs including music, art, and STEM/STEAM programming.

“My responsibilities as the director are to provide general oversight of all programs to offer safe and enjoyable experiences to the community, while also being financially responsible by working within a budget,” said Pearce. “I will be offering support to our sport commissioners in regard to communication, organizing various leagues in which we participate, evaluating rules, purchasing equipment and uniforms, and overseeing facility schedules.”

Adjusting to an ever-changing youth athletics mindset that has transitioned over the years is one of the challenges Pearce anticipates facing. He said the emphasis on winning as a priority or picking a sport at a young age and specializing in one that trains year round are aspects of youth sports he finds challenging.

“I think that it is important to offer as many programs as possible and encourage participation in as many activities as possible so that young participants can be exposed to various experiences that ultimately allows them to determine what they enjoy doing the most as they transition to middle school,” said Pearce. “There are many life lessons that you learn through youth athletics and most importantly meeting new friends and having memories with their friends is the environment I would like to provide in Canal Winchester.”

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