Chip Beale has had a lifetime of training.
After all, he's watched his well-known father, Charlie Beale, run Columbia County's recreation department for years.
Now he's forging his own success.
Chip recently took the reins of Lincoln County's recreation department, and it's a challenge he said he believes he's more than ready for.
"I wanted to put my own name on something and build it to where it needs to be," said Beal, who became the new director of the Lincoln County Recreation Department earlier this month.
The 27-year-old recreation director graduated from Evans High School before majoring in outdoor education and recreation at the Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, Ga. His first paid recreation job was with the Baldwin County Parks and Recreation Department, and he has spent the last two years as a youth athletic coordinator in Carrollton, a suburb of Atlanta.
"I came here because I wanted to be closer to home and I like the small-town feel of Lincolnton," Beale said.
"Coming from a big city, I've got a lot of ideas they've never thought of here. With both Augusta and Athens spreading in Lincoln County's direction, we have a lot of potential for growth. I feel I can make it grow."
In his short time in the director's position, Chip oversaw the building of a new $30,000 playground set, and is currently accepting bids for a new tennis court.
Future projects include a park beautification plan, building a multi-purpose recreation building, coordinating youth summer camps and developing a construction plan for 30 acres of undeveloped property recently purchased for the recreation department.
Beale said that he would one day like to create a facility similar to Patriots Park. He said that he may want to be his own man, but he certainly wouldn't mine emulating his father's success.
"My dad started with a two-man staff and two ball fields," Beale said. "And you can look and see what he's done in Columbia County. Who wouldn't want to achieve what he has?"
An obviously proud the elder Beale said he is excited about his son's future and is confident in his ability to lead Lincoln County's recreation department.
"He's the same age I was when I took my first directorship in Millen in Jackson County," said the elder Beale, who said that he's only offered advice to his son when asked for it.
"We talked for a while about some of his plans and he asked for copies of this or that," he said. "You see, recreation is kind of a statewide brotherhood. In most fields of business people are trying to steal each other's ideas. In the state of Georgia recreation people are glad to share ideas, and are glad if other people can improve on them."
Chip Beale first got started in the recreation business at the age of 8 providing free labor for his father's burgeoning Columbia County recreation program by marking ball fields. Although he has been around recreation all of his life, he said he never expected to make a career out of it.
"When I went to college that last thing I wanted to do was recreation," Beale said. "But I fell in love with working with kids and watching them grow and stick with it.
"You get a lot of kids out here that aren't as fortunate as others and you get attached to them. You take them under your wing. It's an incredible feeling to watch someone at a young age grow up to graduate high school and get a scholarship to play college ball."
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