La Quinta is most commonly known for its beautiful golf courses and annual La Quinta Arts Festival; however, it is much more than that. Over the years, it has transformed from a sleepy desert resort community into one that is full of life, action and activities for its residents and visitors. Dotted with walking trails and biking paths, La Quinta laid the foundation for building greater healthy living opportunities, and continues the quest to encourage residents to be the healthiest they can be by getting out of their homes, away from the t.v., and moving!
With a population close to 40,000, a quarter of which are children, the City was eager to engage its youth in recreational sports leagues. Through collaborative partnerships with a variety of agencies and organizations including the American Youth Soccer Organization, La Quinta Youth Sports Association, Friday Night Lights Youth Flag Football, Palm Desert/La Quinta Roadrunners, Family YMCA of the Desert, and the Desert Sands Unified School District, hundreds of La Quinta children are now enrolled in various low-cost sports programs throughout the year.
The City established these ongoing partnerships to provide sports program management, program volunteers, and registration assistance, while the City provides field space and lighting, field maintenance, and marketing efforts. Through a memorandum of understanding, the City has established a cooperative effort with the Desert Sands Unified School District to use field space at the La Quinta Sports Complex and Colonel Mitchell Paige Middle School (the school district maintains control of irrigation, while the City provides field maintenance, field lighting, and janitorial services).
The list of offered activities is long, including programs for children ages three through teens. Adult sports programs have also benefited by cooperative efforts with outside agencies. Through a Facilities Use Agreement with the Boys and Girls Club of La Quinta, adults can participate in free volleyball and basketball four nights a week (open gym night). Other adult activities include the summer golf league with 13 different golf courses (including private courses) agreeing to host and reduce green fees for the City, free nature walks and hikes (some quite vigorous) sponsored by the City with volunteer guides from the Stewards of the Cove, and disc golf (adults/youth) offered six times per year in cooperation with Helix Disc Golf, which supplies the nets and scorecards, while the City provides on-site staff and prizes.
La Quinta Community Services Department is staffed with 9 full-time and 15 part-time/seasonal employees, and is tasked with manning the Wellness Center, which includes a state-of-the-art fitness center, park and facility rentals, park and facilities maintenance, City special events, youth and adult sports programs, sports field rentals, and summer aquatics programs. While the department is also able to offer annual events in addition to its regular tasks, such as the Youth Triathlon, Desert Youth Olympics and the Summer Golf League, year-round programs would not exist without the mutual cooperation of others.
La Quinta’s passion for health and wellness propelled its outreach to other agencies and organizations to create collaborative partnerships that, together, provide La Quinta residents with the opportunity to keep moving, be healthy and enjoy camaraderie through sports.