New Latta Recreation Director Making Impact On Program

T.J. Bourgoin
(Contributed Photo)

By Betsy Finklea
From growing up in the Latta ballpark where he used to play as a child to now becoming the director—that’s what drives the Town of Latta’s new recreation director’s passion to provide the best possible recreation program that he can to the community.
T.J. Bourgoin has been on the job as the recreation director for four months now, and residents say that he has made a big impact in a small amount of time.
Bourgoin said he was initially inspired by his love for the game to become involved in recreation.
“It didn’t take long for all the kids to be my inspiration,” said Bourgoin. “I grew to love each of them as my own rather quickly. Getting to know each kid and watching them give it their all, day in and day out, witnessing them become competitors who are feared on the field and who have a chance to win each time they step on the diamond, has probably been the greatest honor I’ve had in my short time being their Rec director,” he said.
Bourgoin said he has used what he has learned from watching coaches and other recreation directors over the years to help him in this new venture. Whether it was something as simple as field maintenance or how the directors ran the department, it has all made an impact and helped him shape his vision for the job.
Bourgoin has been hard at work. Since he became director, the Town of Latta hosted the 12U Dixie Youth Baseball All-Star tournament for the first time in over 15 years. Latta had three teams win the district tournament and advance to the State Championship. Bourgoin said they have renovated the concession buildings and ballfields, which now include new safety guards along the outside fence lines to help prevent injuries to the athletes. Two new batting cages and new scoreboards have been installed and for the first time in Latta Recreation football history, they have a new football stadium with lights.
As to what will be required to make and keep a successful recreation program in Latta, Bourgoin said it will take many factors. “It honestly takes an entire village,” Bourgoin said.
One factor is having a great leadership team and town council, who understand the importance of having a great athletic program of which the kids can be proud.
“Town leaders have stood behind me every step of the way ensuring that each need was met to better the program. The sponsors are key too. No program is able to operate or be successful without our local sponsors. They each go above and beyond when it comes to giving for the kids, and they are appreciated more than they know,” Bourgoin said.
The main ingredients for success though are the parents, coaches, and athletes. “I often tell people that I have the greatest group of coaches any director could ask for. Their knowledge and love for the game is unmatched, and they make life as a director much easier. There’s been countless times that coaches have stepped up and gone beyond their coaching duties to make sure our program was a success,” said Bourgoin.
“The athletes at Latta Rec are some of the best I’ve seen. The kids absolutely love the game. I’ve caught myself several times saying “wow” at the amount of time and work that is put into them being their best. Any given day of the week you can find at least one player out there putting in work to be their absolute best. They expect to win and are determined to win,” he said.
Currently, football sign-ups are underway at the Town Hall in Latta. Basketball sign-ups will be announced soon.
Bourgoin hopes to soon bring some adult sports back to Latta and is looking forward to bringing some sporting events to Henry Street Park in the near future, where he hopes to host practices and pick-up games. He also hopes to offer soccer and volleyball during the summer.
Bourgoin is a 2005 graduate of Latta High School and a 2010 graduate of the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. He is married to his “best friend and biggest supporter,” Brynn, who he calls his “driving force” and the one who challenges him daily to be the best he can be. He is the father of Rolland Bourgoin, a nine-year-old student at Dillon Christian School, who he says “has already made a name for herself on the ballfield and has the heart of a lion.” He and Brynn are “excitedly awaiting the arrival of Baby Lakynn and can’t wait to see her with a ball in her hand.” Bourgoin is a former police officer and a licensed insurance producer in both North and South Carolina.

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