"For the people, of the people and by the people." This ageless message of freedom should be forever cherished by every American and while it's imperative that we all need to remember the importance of these precious words as a part of our national heritage, another way to apply this message of hope in providing for the will of the people can be found in the establishment of special districts throughout the state of California. Mandated by the state of California, special districts are specifically designed agencies, established through voter approval, to provide needed services, such as water agencies, cemeteries and park districts.


In July of 1957, a total of 151 Hesperia voters cast their votes to either vote for, or against the formation of park district to serve their community. After the votes were tallied (74 to 73), by a single vote, (and YES, every vote does count) it was decided upon by the citizens of Hesperia to establish a self-governing special district entitled the Hesperia Recreation and Park District. While operating independently, the H.R.P.D. works closely with the City of Hesperia to meet the recreational needs of its citizens and while many people who live in Hesperia enjoy the benefits of this unique relationship between their special district and the city, most are also pleased with the park district's ongoing attempt to provide quality park and recreation facilities throughout the remaining portion of their 90-square-mile sphere of influence.


As many of you already know, for quite a lengthy time, I've been privileged to be a member of the Hesperia Recreation and Park District family, serving as a Board of Director. During my time with the H.R.P.D., I've had the opportunity to closely monitor and observe the commonly accepted relationship between employee and job, that I believe transforms a special district into something truly "special." It is my belief that what promotes the value of special districts over traditional big government's excessive spending to get a job done, is that in general, special districts bring certain individuals together to evolve into a dedicated work force that truly loves participating in a profession that they've been called to do. I can confidently express to every reader, that while everyone at the H.R.P.D. is dedicated to their work, there's no doubt that for 25 years, it has been the park districts General Manager Cal Camara that has continually given his all, out of a love and compassion for both the park district and our community.


During a recent retirement dinner for both Cal and his wife Xenia, I was once again reminded of the love and appreciation for him by all of his loyal staff members. One of Cal's greatest attributes as a leader still remains in his ability to simultaneously, both guide and allow his employees to express their individual creative talents, within their own particular areas of program development. While all of the park's board of directors and many others within our community recognize what Cal has accomplished over the years in continually developing a united work force that is always dedicated towards doing it's very best, I feel that another attribute that Mr. Camara has always contributed to all of the board of director membership, is his ability to utilize his knowledge and understanding of the personal character of each board member, to continually strengthen the integrity of the park district altogether. Cal has always been a terrific team builder and consistently demonstrates this ability by first recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of an individual, then utilizing both to accomplish something beneficial.


Cal began his dedicated service to parks and recreation while working for the City of Santa Clara. He then moved on to the City of Santa Maria, where he worked for its department of parks and recreation for a number of years, as a recreation supervisor. In February of 1986, Cal was hired on as the administrative manager to the Hesperia Recreation and Park District. During his 25 years of dedicated service and leadership within the H.R.P.D., 15 new parks have been established, along with a new skate park, the relocation and construction of new rodeo arena and a BMX track, all planned to be completed this year. And in case you haven't already heard, due to many of Cal's long held conservative fiscal policies, strengthened by a like minded Board of Directors, the H.R.P.D. is still operating "in the black," despite all of the harsh fiscal challenges that we're all faced with today.


For over 18 years, I've had the wonderful opportunity to work with a special man, for a special time and for a "VERY SPECIAL" Hesperia Recreation and Park District. Over those years I've enjoyed having many wonderful conversations with Cal on just about every subject imaginable and I will miss our visits together after he's gone. But, there's one special gift that Cal will be leaving behind and that will be our talented and well trained new park district administrator, Mr. Lindsay Woods, who is also eager to serve our community through the strengthening and growing of our the park district. Through his love and compassion for what he also was meant to do, like Cal, Lindsay will also lend to what will always remain something "very special," the Hesperia Recreation and Park District.


Thank you again Cal for all that you've done for the H.R.P.D. and our community. It has truly been an honor to work with you. A well deserved retirement, sir.... Indeed, well deserved.