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Canyon Lake POA Board candidates discuss how they propose to enhance the environment for community’s youth

Canyon Lake Insider invited the seven Canyon Lake POA candidates to answer a series of questions in the weeks leading up to the election. During this period, residents will have the opportunity to hear directly from the candidates and learn what they hope to accomplish if they are elected to serve on the board.

This week, the candidates were invited to answer the following question in 350 or fewer words:

Young people are the future of Canyon Lake. How do propose to enhance the environment for youth in the community?

The order of the candidates is rotated each week to provide each candidate an opportunity to be heard first.

Carl Gardner

Diversity is the future of Canyon Lake. We want multi-use and shared use for all. We need to share our amenities. There is not one special interest that is more important than another.

Kalon Morris

My precious daughters, Sicilia (9) and Lianna (6), and my amazing wife, Jessica, are the most important things in the world to me. I know how to make Canyon Lake better for kids because my daughters constantly tell me how.

Take Skipper’s Island for instance (between Treasure Island and Happy Camp), every time we go by my daughters say they would love to see a splash pad built there. When I talk with them about the cost involved, they came up with the idea to just put a mound of sand at the edge of the shoreline so kids can make a boogie board ramp like they do at Happy Camp (Lianna also thinks parents should go to school, to learn how to play the games kids today like).

Canyon Lake’s transition from a vacation/retirement community to one for families with children has only accelerated in the last few years. We are an incredibly attractive city for outdoor-minded families with young children, and good jobs they can do locally or online. My first priority will always be to make Canyon Lake as kid-friendly as possible. Thanks for your consideration.

Alexis Prince

The development of young people is one of my greatest life passions. As a mother of four children and a grandmother of three, having been a foster parent and mentoring children in the foster care system, Girl Scout leader for 13 years, Cub Scout leader for several years, and a Sunday school teacher, I certainly know the importance of guiding and engaging youth in activities. 

The pump track when completed will be a great addition to our community.  I am happy to see the progress being made. I am very excited to be part of the C.L.E.A.R. Foundation that I have joined teaching children ages eight 15 about water safety, CPR, first aid, and learning to be a lifeguard. 

Our community has many talented individuals. I would like to create a volunteer program in Canyon Lake to instruct our youth in all kinds of life skills, such as auto mechanics, painting, woodworking, sewing, cooking/baking, landscaping, nautical safety, and various subjects and other skills. 

When our grandson was living with us, we participated in the Kids Club at the lodge. It was a great class for pre-schoolers two days a week learning about developing social skills, sharing, learning letters, numbers, storytime, and crafts. I would like to see this continued. 

If elected, this is an area I would like to be engaged in as it is very dear to my heart.

Tony Schwarzman

I believe it is our responsibility as parents to provide the safest and most productive environment possible for our children to thrive.

For this reason, I am a huge supporter of programs like C.L.E.A.R. where our kids can learn life skills that will lead to great careers in civil service, like firefighters or law enforcement. As well as providing value to the property owners by providing an additional pool of trained lifeguards to serve our beaches and pool areas.

Ultimately, it is this program and others like it that will allow our community to thrive.

Bill Van Vleet

I grew up in a small town and was fortunate to live in a safe place where I could ride my bike around town to meet with friends and play in parks. I believe it is now my responsibility to be a steward for the next generation.

We have many opportunities for the youth of our community and need to encourage our clubs to continue to hold events for our youth. The golf, tennis, and pickleball clubs hold camps and workshops throughout the year, Family Matters Club holds a number of annual events for families, and our ski and wakeboard clubs provide “learn to ski/ride” lessons.  Our equestrian center has horseback riding lessons available to all ages. 

Our Little League program is an excellent way for kids to learn to play and build confidence and teamwork. The C.L.E.A.R. Foundation is new this year to educate youth on water and boating safety and develop junior lifeguards for the community.  I will work to support and encourage these groups to continue to offer and expand their programs.

I’d like to augment our current programs and implement a recreation program in our parks during the summer for youth with a variety of games like Spikeball, Gaga (form of dodgeball), and other organized group activities during the day.  We could also have evening activities to teach kids about wildlife and constellations at night, and leverage our current facilities to add a teen center with ping pong and foosball.

As a board member, our primary responsibility is to ensure a safe place for kids to gather with a variety of programs and facilities to allow our children to grow and thrive. My entire 40-year career was dedicated to protecting the things that matter most – the security of our nation, state and local law enforcement and protecting children in school safety.  In our community, I served on the Security Committee and have insight to the challenges we face to create better solutions.  Through this experience, I understand the issues and will focus on creating better solutions for security and expand current programs to put families first. 

Rita Bendlin

This is the main reason that caused me to run for CLPOA is the future of our young people. Myself, as a mother, grandmother, and now great-grandmother feel our young ones are being handed a difficult task for the future.

I feel I am qualified because I have many interactions with young people today, and throughout my life, especially teenagers and young adults. I believe I can make a difference because of listening to them, seeing them, and working with them as a part-time Dual Diagnosis Counselor (suicide preventions) with myself being a credentials community college instructor, advocate with Riverside Behavioral Health System.

My motives are to help:  balance, bring common sense, clear understandings in communication styles, encourage and offer activities with educational in ways to learn and creating time, knowledge, fairness, equal opportunities, doing so with secure safe environments!

Perhaps, bring educations of different lifestyles, simplicity, availability in languages and interactions with safe, fair non-prejudice discrimination against ages, colors, religions, communication styles with truth and honesty and see the humanity rights enforced as it was and is written and to safeguard all our rights and beliefs.

I hope to lighten the burdens of our young people. This is hard work and common sense but with love, nothing is impossible. Canyon Lake can be a model city. If we learn to just get along and show respect and real-life answers.

Greg Doherty

It’s no secret that the demographics of Canyon Lake are changing, accelerated by COVID and younger parents’ ability to work from home. These and all parents are going to want a safe and secure place to raise their children. Can we do better at that than we are now?

I’ve heard many comments about our Community Patrol. And many of them are not positive. Did you know that the expense for Community Patrol is about one-fifth of the total POA operating budget? It’s a lot of money!

So, are we getting our money’s worth from Community Patrol, as it relates to our children’s safety? That’s a question that needs to be examined in more depth. People tell me that they see Community Patrol as an “observe and report” operation, rather than taking more proactive steps to protect and serve our citizens and their children.

Thankfully I can report to you that the Facilities Planning Committee has already created a series of suggestions to improve upon Community Patrol’s effectiveness. Some of these suggestions are:

-Reducing the “facilities checkpoint duties” and deploying officers to be at critical checkpoints such as at school bus stops when kids are going to or returning from school;

-More assistance at the main gate, expediting cars through to prevent long lines that back up on the RR Canyon Road,

-Stiffer enforcement of golf/bike lanes so that these are not clogged up with trailers/cars left parked in the street for weeks at a time.

-Being available for extras patrols for special events and other venues to prevent the gathering of teens who may be inclined to do vandalism or drugs

I will support these ideas if elected to the board.

Let’s also talk about facilities where children and families can stay inside the gates and have fun. We have amenities and many parks and playgrounds. Golf, pickleball, tennis, and others have instructors available to teach our kids. As a member of the Finance Committee, I have voted to keep these properly funded and vibrant for the benefit of the families and youth of our community.

Last week, Canyon Lake Insider asked the candidates how they plan to manage their existing responsibilities and the added responsibilities of a board member to meet the needs of the POA Board? To view their answers, click here.

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