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Rockbridge Area Recreation Organization

Rockbridge Area Recreation Organization

May 2023

"More than just talk"

Throughout the course of the year, we hear many compliments, as well as complaints. The latter are always the ones that seem to stick. I would challenge anyone to be better than a complainer. Help! Help make a difference!  We are turning a corner; one that is focused on providing awesome experiences for all that choose to participate with us. We are constantly evaluating each program and feedback is important for us to be able to properly serve the community. Our mindset is that we can always improve the quality of our programs. To those that provide feedback, thank you! To those that choose to participate with us, thank you!

We review every one of our programs and events to determine how we can improve. Some have this picture from the past stuck in their minds, but I am not sure that is the same picture that is seen today. Our programs, facilities, communication, and equipment have all improved. This is our way of listening. This is our way of showing how appreciative we are of the support that is shown to RARO throughout the year.

This weekend we will hold our 2nd annual RARO Appreciation Day. The intent is not just to say thank you to those that participate with us, but also to thank the communities for allowing us to serve you! Our kids are our future and deserve it! If you are curious about what we are providing or the steps we are taking to be better, please call and we can chat!

Consider joining us on Saturday, May 6th at Camden Field in Buena Vista from 11-2 for a public appreciation day filled with games, prizes, and food. Our appreciation is more than just words, its a gratitude that we live by!

April 2023


As the tiring work of the pavilion project was coming to close on Tuesday, 4/4, a newly forged weather vane was temporarily placed atop the structure. Something caught my eye and I could not get it out of my head. The picture with the quote at the top of this month’s newsletter shows what had my attention. All I could focus on was the W and E which are seen by most as cardinal directions, but for that instance, WE was what stood out!

WE all know how this word is used and what it means. WE is used by a speaker to tie themself to a group of people considered to be together.

RARO is solely built on “WE”. Working together in every aspect of our organization is what makes us successful. There is nothing about I or Me that makes any one thing happen. This project did nothing more than epitomize just that.

On Thursday and Friday, I met hundreds of people whose only interest was to collectively work together to provide for a community. Many from around the area stopped by to help or just watch; while many others followed along on our social media page as progress happened. Spring break for some of the local schools made it difficult for people to help, but difficult doesn’t mean they didn’t. WE had many people offer food, money, or services when they could.

The RARO staff each have their own families and happenings, but WE all sacrificed to make this a success. As they have done many times, the Mullen’s sacrificed their property and home for the work to be done. WE had people, not associated with any group, nor helping in the build offer what they could.

Over the next several weeks, the final pieces to the project will come together. WE hope that this community will use and cherish this beautiful structure for many years to come. Roofing, electrical, & tables are all yet to be completed, along with placing the weathervane in its final resting spot. WE hope for the pavilion to be ready to use by the Middle of May.

As you stop by to see or use this structure, I hope that the cardinal directions of “W” & “E” stand out to you in the same manner that they did for me. WE are working hard with and for you & WE is the only direction in which progress and moving forward will happen.

March 2023

I recently ran across this old quote I used a lot during my coaching days. Wow! This quote resonates with all that is going on in RARO right now. I have talked extensively about RARO’s growth, but lets be honest….it doesn’t happen without people coming together, keeping together, and working together. Brick by Brick, RARO intends to help this community thrive!

In this month’s newsletter, you will find RARO making connections with community members to combine efforts and revitalize an old field in Fairfield in the name of Coach Jerry Mace! RARO has worked with County personnel and the Rockbridge Regional Jail on this endeavor. County Schools have helped fix lighting in the old Rivermont gym.

In Lexington, a new timber frame pavilion will be constructed around the time of the next newsletter. There will be many to thank for this project; but currently: the Timber Frame Association, Lexington City Public Works, City Council & Planning Commission have led the way in making this project happen.

Another huge announcement is in our summer programming. RARO Adventures will begin this summer to provide recreation education. This summer we will be offering Kayaking and Hiking/Backpacking. For this program to take place, we have partnered with Journey Outdoors and Maury River Smallmouth for the Kayaking. Walkabout Outfitters will be working with us on the hiking/backpacking adventure in July.

We are super excited to be working with so many in the community, but as always, we need your participation to continue growing as an organization. Join us in making RARO an organization for all!

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is Success.”

February 2023

To start, I would like to say I’m Sorry for not getting a January Newsletter out. Not an excuse maker, so I won’t give one. But simply, I’m Sorry.

RARO has grown by leaps and bounds in mere months. For the last year, RARO has been fully staffed and been able to provide more for everyone. Educational clinics and practice support are now available to coaches. Development clinics and Skills competitions are being provided for most sports. More and more adult programs are being progressively added.

We are striving to provide something for everyone. Working for and with the community allows us to offer a variety of programs that, in turn, allows for that growth. We are listening to the concerns, the suggestions, and the demands. Through listening, we can make the needed changes that so many speak of. To grow, we need even more support from everyone in the community. Program Participation, Business support, Volunteering are all things needed.

It is safe to say that huge strides in providing for everyone have been taken. BUT, there are no signs of slowing down. 2023 is shaping up to be a banner year! There are many facility improvement projects in the works. RARO intends to be even more visible in the community. New programs and offerings are being unveiled with each passing season and until we can meet the needs of the community as a whole, growth will continue to be the only thing on our mind.

It's hard to miss all the things happening at RARO. With each improvement is a chance to prove ourselves. If you have tried RARO in the past and were not pleased, TRY again, I think you’ll be pleased. If you’ve never participated with us, you should!

If your not involved at this point, there’s a good chance your missing out!

December 2022

The Most Wonderful Time of Year

“Feeling Gratitude and Not expressing it, is like wrapping a present and not giving it!” A quote by William Arthur Ward succinctly wraps up this time of year. 

During the holiday season, we often find ourselves reflecting, giving thanks, and celebrating. For most, this is one of the most selfless times of year. If you find yourself doing any of the above, you will most likely be thinking about how to make a difference.

RARO is no different. We are super thankful for everyone that chooses to participate with us. Our participants are our #1 priority. In our reflection of the past year, we have seen a lot of growth and reasons to be optimistic about the future. We have so many volunteers that give of their time to help our organization reach its potential. From our coaches to project helpers to businesses offering discounts, we are truly thankful! There have been numerous projects completed recently and many more in the works; all with the same goal: to provide meaningful recreational opportunities for everyone in Buena Vista, Lexington, and Rockbridge County. 

While we finish the year reflecting, giving thanks, and celebrating; we are already planning how to continue making a difference in this community. We hope that you follow along and realize how special this area is.

From everyone here at RARO, please accept our deepest gratitude for everyone that chooses to participate with us. 

Cheers to ‘23!

November 2022

Growth and Passion

Over the last year, RARO has taken many steps to improve the overall quality of the programs we offer. In an effort to become a more complete and dynamic recreation department, we have branched back into adult programs. Our youth programs now have several new fundamental development and growth opportunities in different sports. Our coaches and officials have more training and help available to them, to help create better experiences for our youth. While a lot of change has taken place and been well received, we would love to hear from you! We do not have plans of stopping.

We have several new ideas and are beginning to plan for the future. We want you, the community, to be a part of that process. Please contact the office and let us know if there are programs or other opportunities you would like us to make available. While we cannot guarantee that we will act on every good idea, we would like enough feedback to guide our conversations on growth moving forward.

Your voice is responsible for year-round pickleball opportunities and the adult summer & fall softball seasons offered this year. We cannot grow just because we wish it to happen. If we combine your voice with our passion, growth is inevitable.

“Growth is never by chance; it is the result of forces working together! -James Cash Penney

October 2022

Volunteers, are they a dying breed?

In trying to grow as an organization, we often run into the dilemma of managing all that we do and having enough help to do it. With today's busy schedules, it is often very hard to find time to give back. RARO relies heavily on volunteers.  It seems that number is shrinking from one year to the next. We used to have 400-500 hundred offering to help, now that number is closer to a 1/4th. There are many ways to give back and hope that you consider giving back to our youth and our community. 

Our largest group of volunteers comes in the form of coaches, but there are many other needs for  volunteers. We are grateful for those that currently give their time. I am worried, though, that we are trending in a path where we ask for too much from the same people. It is our hope to have people repeatedly offering to help rather than getting burned out. When it comes to volunteering, a little goes a long way.

This area has been rich with good athletes and coaching at our high schools and colleges. These coaches have poured valuable information into most people taking the time to read this. Information that, I am sure, has benefitted you in your life and could benefit others. BUT...If you keep this information only for yourself, are you helping to ensure the success of the next generation?

There are so many ways you can help aside from coaching. As you read through the ways to help in this month’s newsletter, I hope that you will consider giving a little of your time in knowing that it will make a huge difference. It is often said that “it takes a village” to raise our youth and that couldn’t be truer in youth sports. There are so many people needed to run efficient and productive programs. While RARO does the facilitating and managing of these programs, we still NEED you!

In thinking about why the numbers of volunteers seem to be shrinking, I think of this story shared to me once by a Coach.

“That’s Not My Job”

This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody would do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

Helping our community grow and come together is a job Everybody should do! Somebody, typically, expects Anybody to do the things that need to be done, but more times than not, Nobody is the one that signs up.

Sorry to get philosophical, but we, at least, owe it to our youth to provide the best opportunities for them to grow. Without selfless giving of time, energy, and resources, our programs will fall short of the standard that we set so high! Any amount of help that can be given makes a huge difference.

By choosing to help, you are changing the current trend that makes offering new programs a challenge.

Please consider helping out! Our kids’, your kids’ growth depends on it.

September 2022


Wait List. The Dreaded Wait List. We receive numerous calls and questions about registering after the normal registration period. Participants that sign up after our registration deadline are placed on a wait list in the order in which they were received. As spots open up on teams or if the waiting list becomes large enough to form another team, then participants will be contacted and added.

While we strive to get every kid participating and on a team, sometimes it's just not feasible, as it can take away from the overall experience of those that signed up on time. We do our best to keep participant #'s on teams at an ideal level for growth, safety, and maximum participation. There is often a fine line between too many and not enough. BUT, we do find a way to make it work with every kid that registers during our normal registration period. 

Here at RARO, when people tell us that they didn’t know anything about registration, we find it very difficult to believe. We advertise through our website, email database, Facebook, newspaper, newsletter, and with signs in front of every school. There is a yearly program guide on our website and in our office as well that has all programs, seasons, and registration periods listed. 

We can only guarantee that your son/daughter will be placed on a team if they registered during our normal registration period. For your convenience, during our normal registration window, we also have online registration.  We are here to help! Help us, Help you, Sign up on time!


Rockbridge Area Recreational Organization
RARO Office 300A White Street Lexington VA 24450 

Phone: 540-463-9525
Email: [email protected]

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