A man who identifies himself as a sports aficionado has taken over the leadership of the Thomson-McDuffie County Recreation Department.
Trevor Welcher, 31, has been on the job as director at 180 Sweetwater Park Drive since Sept. 9.
Armed with a masters degree in sports administration and a bachelors degree in sports and fitness administration/management, the Augusta native says he is like the Rubik’s Cube, the 3-D combination puzzle. “It has many colors and facets but they are all connected. I’m just a big bucket of doing a lot of things that make sense to me,” he said.
The “huge sports head” is the youngest of four boys who all from an early age participated in sports. Welcher excelled at Richmond Academy in basketball and was named player of the year in 2007.
His academic and sports participation earned him 15 scholarships to attend college. He enrolled in Delaware State University and began to find the interlocking pieces of his Rubik’s cube connections. He began his career path in sports and also met a volleyball player and his future wife during their freshmen year. That piece of the cube was set and they graduated in 2011 and, today are the parents of a daughter and son.
He was previously an academic advisor at Augusta University and served as the assistant director of the CSRA All Star Classics as well as business manager and basketball coach for the University of South Carolina-Aiken. He is currently a professor at Paine College and he also served as the sports coordinator of the Family YMCA of Greater Augusta. “I have been in a lot of different areas. All of the jobs that I have had over the years formed into a complete Rubik’s cube for me,” Welcher said.
The past jobs and experiences groomed him to become the director of the Thomson-McDuffie Recreation Department, he said. “We all have a charge to keep to those behind us,” he said.
Recreation is any activity done for enjoyment when one is not working, Welcher said. “I sought the position because I saw a need,” Welcher said.
It is his desire to help the residents of Thomson-McDuffie increase their participation in recreation activities, increase the awareness of the recreation department facilities as well as increase programming. The director desires to market the recreation department to increase the visibility of the gymnasium, the multiple baseball and football fields and other sports played there. “We have to show everyone the department and show them something new,” he said.
Welcher seeks to transcend the high bar set by Robert “Bob” Howard, who retired in January after 28 years of leadership. “He set a huge example over his years being here. He set the bar high. It is not reinventing the wheel but adapting and elevating what we have here,” Welcher said.
The director has spent time visiting throughout the community and has been welcomed by the recreation department staff, the county commission, the senior citizens and staff at the senior center and other entities. “The staff at the rec department is great is what they do. It is time to take it to the next level, “Welcher said.
The next level includes implementing various initiatives that would foster community engagement and partnerships between the recreation department and the community.
The director plans to use social media as a visual advocate for the recreation department. There will be clips of games and activities, features of various facilities and programs as well as snippets from staff who will provide insight into what the department offers. “People are going to see a lot more updates and a lot more involvement,” Welcher said.
There also will be collaboration with the school system and with other recreation departments to have something for all ages at Sweetwater Park.
Recreation has evolved to include more than football, basketball and baseball. “Recreation is any activity done when not at work. It is now a broad topic and is more than football, basketball and baseball, which we do have here,” the director. Recreation today includes e-gaming and e-sports, activities that grab the attention of youth and the attention and participation of adults.
“We definitely service the kids but we want to do more,” Welcher said.
He wants to reach the adults who are not active after work hours, as well as get senior citizens more active and moving. He also envisions career and health fairs, events, tournaments and activities at the recreation department.
“We want to improve and get a lot more foot traffic in this facility,” Welcher said.
His mission is to elevate the recreation department and make it more relevant in 2019 and beyond. “It is 2019 and we just do not want to be behind. Using the resources that we have, we are going to make things happen.”
Welcher envisions the community and staff of the recreation department working together and rooting for success, as the community does at the Brickyard on Friday nights cheering and supporting the Thomson Bulldogs. “That is how we have to be at this rec department. When everyone is on one accord, everybody looks good. When everybody looks good, the community looks good.”
Change is required to get there, he said “We have a lot of land out here and we have things on it. We just need to get the community out and engaged and involved in what we are doing.”