After 17 years away, Jeff Hulsey has found his way back to his hometown.
Born, raised, and schooled in Cedartown, Hulsey has been a fixture in the Rockmart community for nearly two decades. But that changed last week in a shift that was felt across Polk County.
On Monday, Aug. 24, Hulsey took the helm as the City of Cedartown’s new recreation department director, a title that he knows is an important one.
“Recreation sports and programs are definitely a big part of our community. I had a great time over in Rockmart starting several programs there, and the opportunity arose to come back to Cedartown. I wanted to finish out my career here, so here I am,” he said with a chuckle. “I am excited to be here, to work with everyone here and ready to hit the ground running.”
Hulsey’s number one goal as head of the department is short and sweet: get those participation numbers up.
“COVID has put a damper on everything for sure, especially for 2020, but we’re ready to grow and get more kids involved,” Hulsey said, adding that youth involvement in team sports is critical to growing minds and bodies.
“You look at the data and you will see that kids who are active in rec sports go on to finish high school at a higher rate than those that are not involved. Kids that don’t have a physical outlet like sports have a higher rate of depression, anxiety and low self-esteem.”
Hulsey is an advocate of team sports, especially recreation teams outside of school.
“There are so many kids who won’t make a middle school or high school team, but they need the benefits of team sports. That’s where recreation departments step in. Sure, we want to help build great athletes and serve as a feeder for our schools, but I am not as concerned with winning championships as I am with building teams and character.”
When he’s not building teams, you can find Hulsey serving as pastor of Morning View Baptist Church in Rockmart. He has been married to the former Lisa Akins for 36 years and has one daughter and three grandsons.
“Give your kids a chance to play,” Hulsey said. “Help support us and we will make a great thing even better.”
For more information about the Cedartown Recreation Department, please call 770-748-7783.