With no comments from the public and limited discussion by Chatham Borough Council members, club systems were approved for youth baseball and soccer teams at Monday's council meeting.
Council President James Lonergan said over the past few years as he sat on the Chatham Joint Recreation Advisory Committee, he noticed two disturbing trends.
"I noticed over the past two or three years that I was protecting the coaches and the volunteers more than I should," he said.
Parent expectations have risen, he said, and since recreation sports teams "really are run by parents," Lonergan said the club system for sports will put more control in parents' hands.
The move is not without its conditions. Both Chatham Borough and Chatham Township governing bodies insisted "the rec department's philosophy is maintained" by any club sanctioned by the towns.
The philosophy of the recreation department has been that every child who wants to play a sport can play, regardless of skill, "provided there are enough volunteers," Lonergan said. In recent years as more and more children have signed up for youth sports, Lonergan said the number of volunteer coaches has dropped.
"You look at Jeannie Le Mon, who wasn't going to coach girls field hockey again this year," Lonergan said. "She was pressured into coming back because there was such a need. She has five kids. She shouldn't have to do that."
Even with Le Mon's return to coaching, Lonergan said, about 20 girls who signed up for field hockey had to be put onto a wait list.
Another 40 children of different ages who signed up for soccer were wait-listed because there were not enough coaches to form more teams, and because "we can't have 40 kids on a team," Lonergan said.
The two resolutions passed unanimously and without further comment from Mayor Bruce Harris, other council members or members of the public.