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Keller says crusade a part of overall mission

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / July 27, 1998

LAPLACE – When Harold Keller went before the St. John the Baptist ParishCouncil last Tuesday to talk about recreation, many assumed the man whohas helped those with drug and alcohol addictions was going on anothercrusade.For Keller, however, it’s not a different crusade. It’s one that goes withhis overall mission.”It is the same crusade,” Keller said. “If you have healthy recreation withresponsible volunteers and kids having fun, that contradicts abusing drugsand getting in any type of trouble.”Keller’s plan is to form an ad hoc committee with himself and a minimumof four others with the goal of coming up with ideas to improve recreationin the parish. Keller said since he made the presentation, he has gotten anumber of calls from people, including some who have been involved inother recreation programs, volunteering to help.Keller said he has also been told by some that he is wasting his time. Buthe knows he cannot change everything.”My motive is to draw attention to some of the things that could be done,”Keller said.Keller said the parish could learn some lessons from private recreationcenters that have been successful. He also pointed to the residents of theCambridge subdivision who worked with the parish to create a pretty nicepark. They have to get people to volunteer in their own little communities,he said.Keller recommended different types of inexpensive programs that can beimplemented, such as recreation volleyball and soccer. At the pools, swimleagues could be formed and meets could be held.Another idea Keller has is to get local businesses and industry involved inan “Adopt a Park” program, similar to the Adopt a Road program.Keller said the people have voted down a millage for recreation in recentelections because they believe money is not the answer.”They realize all the money in the world couldn’t solve the problems ofrecreation,” Keller said. “People have to solve it.”Keller said he hopes to have the committee compiled by next week. Andwhile he realizes it can’t solve all the problems of recreation, it will atleast draw attention to them.”If we can just plant a seed and wake people up,” Keller said. “The onlything we might do is change attitudes, to get people to realize that maybethere is hope for parishwide recreation.”

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