Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Commerce City recreation staff, programs receive awards

COMMERCE CITY -- The Parks and Recreation Department brought home three awards from the annual Colorado Parks and Recreation Association conference, held in September in Breckenridge. Department Director Carolyn Keith presented the awards to the City Council at its regular meeting last night.

Commerce City’s recreation staff was awarded top honors in Administrative Management and Programming categories, and Youth Coordinator Jenna Johnson was named Outstanding New Professional.

CPRA is a statewide organization that focuses on education and advocacy for parks and recreation professionals and programs. The awards committee is made up of past recipients and its goals are to recognize individuals and organizations for their contributions in a variety of areas.

“It says a lot when our employees are recognized by their peers for the outstanding work they do,” Mayor Paul Natale said. “I’ve said it time and time again that Commerce City has the best staff in the area, and this proves it. We are being recognized for the programs we have created that benefit all of our residents.”

The city received the Columbine Award for Programming for a referral program that recreation staff designed to give children and families in the community access to recreation and wellness services.

Doctors, nurses and counselors from Community Health Services and Community Reach make the determination that a child is in need of health education, recreation or other wellness programs. The family then receives instructions for registering for appropriate activities.

Children are referred based on many criteria, including weight, health and nutrition concerns, the need for social outlets, poor relationships with family or peers and the need for safe out-of-school supervision.

Families of referred children are also eligible to participate in appropriate activities. Participation for this program was originally funded in part through The Colorado Health Foundation; current funding comes from many sources.

“This is part of a larger program aimed at implementing a system for delivering and sustaining integrated physical health, mental health, and prevention services for the children of Commerce City,” said Lisa Nordholt, Recreation Supervisor for youth. “We have seen and heard many positive results from the children, their families, and health-care providers.”

Commerce City received the Columbine Award for Administrative Management for a series of fun, creative exercises that helped “create community” among parks, recreation and golf staff members and also between staff and community members and organizations.

Staff participated in exercises that had them visiting city parks and trails on an “Amazing Race”-type scavenger hunt, personally thanking community members, and dropping off a “goodie bag” of promotional items at community businesses large and small.

“These exercises taught staff members how to: rely on each other and their individual skills, feel more comfortable interacting with community members; and promote the Parks and Recreation Department and its services to various community members and businesses,” said Recreation Manager Farrell Buller.

By learning more about businesses and resources in the community, staff members are able to provide better customer service, she said. “It reminded us how great our customers are, and they are the reason we work hard every day.”

Jenna Johnson, Recreation Coordinator for youth services, was named Outstanding New Professional. This award is given to new professionals who have a minimum of three years and no more than seven years of full-time experience in the field.

Johnson came to Commerce City in 2006 and since then has been very involved in engaging and supporting the community’s youth, while continuing to expand her professional knowledge and experience.

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