Park and Recreation Month
This Park and Recreation Month, we are bringing attention to how important it is to rise up and support parks and recreation, because every day, park and recreation professionals rise up for their communities in service of equity, climate-readiness, and overall health and well-being.
During Park and Recreation Month, NRPA is encouraging park and recreation agencies to showcase the ways in which they faithfully serve their communities all year long, as well as how community members can support the work of their local agencies.
Parks are at the center of so many experiences and memories — moments that park and recreation professionals help make happen. Our local parks are often our first experiences in nature, our introduction to a favorite hobby or physical activity. They are places to gather with friends and family, spaces to celebrate life’s special moments, spots of respite and healing
PBG Recreation Staff #RiseUp Stories
Tim Ford, CPRP, AFO
Here is our #RiseUpStory from Tim Ford, Operations Manager for PBG Recreation:
“I’ve been with the City since 2005. I started part-time during college summer breaks and have been full-time since 2009!
I grew up in PBG Recreation. I attended preschool programs at the community center, swam for the Makos, and played every sport from basketball to tennis at the City’s recreation facilities! Many of those facilities have changed locations within the City since those years, but their impact on my childhood shaped the rest of my life and career path. I am passionate about the benefits that community recreation, and in particular team sports, have on participants and, in turn, their families, neighborhoods, and communities.
Out of the 6 themes featured by NRPA, I believe access to play is the most important aspect. To me, access to play is the basis for most of the other themes – park spaces, whether programmed places or empty spaces, provide an outlet for everybody in the community to gather, exercise, creatively play, or just relax in nature.”
Here is our #RiseUpStory from Christy Wolnewitz, Childcare Director for the Riverside Youth Enrichment Center:
Christy began her recreation career in 1992, starting out as a part-time teacher for the tots program at Riverside, and as her love for recreation grew, so did her career. Over the course of 16 years, Christy became a Special Events Coordinator, an Operations Manager, and then finally the Director of Childcare for Riverside, which has been her home since 2017.
When asked what her favorite part about recreation was, she found it difficult to pick just one thing. “Having been in the recreation field for many years, I’ve gotten to see so many wonderful experiences. I love watching how events, programs, and activities bring joy to people. I love seeing a child hitting a baseball for the first time, summer campers being excited on their first day, the faces of the Senior population as they play BINGO, and all the joy recreation brings to people of all ages. Everything recreation does and strives toward centers around our community.”
Lyndsey Marsh, CPRP, LG, AFO
Today we are featuring a #RiseUpStory from Lyndsey Marsh, Center Coordinator at the Burns Road Community Center.
If you have participated in any sports-related program within the last 19 years, you more than likely have run into this smiling face. Lyndsey began her recreation journey working at the Palm Beach Gardens Teen Center and skate park. At that time, she oversaw the adult sports programs and worked with Palm Beach Gardens Youth Athletic Association. As her passion for working for the City grew, so too did her advancement in this field; working her way up from a programmer, to a supervisor, to her most recent promotion to Center Coordinator of the Burns Road Community Center. Lyndsey was an integral part of the City’s collaboration and construction of the Miracle League field, in partnership with the Miracle League of Palm Beach County in 2019. Adding to her achievements within the City, Lyndsey is the recent recipient of the ‘Rising Star’ award for the State of Florida. With this prestigious honor awarded by the Florida Park and Recreation Association (FRPA), as well as her newest appointment of Event Chair for this year’s FRPA Conference, Lyndsey continues to provide exemplary leadership and service to the community. Way to go, Lyndsey!🙌
Today we are featuring a #RiseUpStory from Daniel Prieto, Deputy Leisure Services Administrator for the Palm Beach Gardens Recreation Department.
Daniel started with the City in 2006 as a Camp Counselor, a role that would transition into an internship with City Administration during summers, while he was in college.
After working for the City in various capacities, Daniel chose to work in Recreation in the Sports Division. As a former collegiate athlete, he knew the importance recreational programs and activities had on the community and wanted to play a part in supporting the growth of sport opportunities for youth and adults. He then accepted the position of Sports Supervisor, and later advanced to Deputy Leisure Services Administrator where he oversees Athletics, Aquatics, the PBG Tennis & Pickleball Center, Cultural Arts and Youth programs at the Burns Road Community Center.
When asked why Recreation held such a special spot in his life, Daniel felt that it is "the most fun way to engage with with the public. From special events, to sport, to aquatic activities, to tennis and pickleball, to cultural arts programs, fostering opportunities for recreation and socialization is our mission. And in doing so, I am proud to be in a position to positively influence the department’s efforts to build community."
Katie Waskiewicz, AFO, LGI, WSI
Today we are featuring a #RiseUpStory from Katie Waskiewicz (AFO, LGI, WSI), Recreation Supervisor for the Palm Beach Gardens Aquatic Complex.
Katie has worked for the City for almost a decade, but her story with the City begins much earlier. At the age of 6, she started swimming in the original Main Pool, back when the pool had copper-colored tiles and a little kid pool on the deck. Katie mastered the art of synchronized swimming, spent countless hours in the pool and facility, and became a certified lifeguard at the age of 16. From there, her career in Aquatics has continued to blossom. “Watching all the staff here as a child was something I will never forget. There was a sense of community amongst the lifeguards that was evident, even from just observing as a patron. As I got older, I knew lifeguarding was something I wanted to do- it just felt right. Almost 10 years later, I have worked my way up, and am now the Recreation Supervisor over Aquatics. It feels full circle.”
Today we are featuring a #RiseUpStory from Chantel Aden, Early Childhood Center Coordinator for the Riverside Youth Enrichment Center.
Chantel started with the City in 2009 as a camp counselor during the summers at the Burns Road Community Center (BRCC) and assisted with department events and programs throughout the rest of the year. Through her customer service leadership, Chantel accepted a full-time position with the City’s Riverside Youth Enrichment Center (RYEC) and has recently been promoted to Center Coordinator. Way to go, Chantel!
When asked what one of the most important aspects of recreation was, she stated that the “community is positively affected through parks and recreation daily. Whether you are taking a walk on one of the trails, playing in one of the multiple parks and playgrounds, participating in a fitness class at the Community Center or Tennis Center, learning to paint, attending the City's preschool, or participating in a special event run by the City, parks and recreation connects communities. Parks and Recreation provides many opportunities and services to connect with people!”
Today we are featuring a #RiseUpStory from Andi Mohl, Operations Manager at the PBG Tennis & Pickleball Center.
Andi first started working part-time with the City as a Customer Service Leader. She loved the ‘family feel’ and teamwork within the department and decided to pursue a full-time career here in the City. Through Andi’s professionalism and customer service skills, she has climbed the ladder in this field, currently serving as the Operations Manager at the Tennis & Pickleball Center.
When asked what theme from this year’s Park and Recreation Month stood out to her, she resonated with “Resilience” the most. “Over the last 3 years, we have all been through crazy ups and downs. The Recreation Department has been vital in many people lives as it is the only outlet some people have. We were a constant stead when people had nothing else.”
To close out the month, we are featuring a #RiseUpStory from Wendy Tatum, Tennis Director at the PBG Tennis & Pickleball Center.
If you have taken any tennis or pickleball programs in the City, you more than likely have seen this smiling face around the Tennis & Pickleball Center. Wendy spent most of her time playing tennis at the Center before working for the City. Turning her passion for playing tennis into a career, she applied for the Operations Manager position at the Tennis & Pickleball Center. Now the Director of the Center, Wendy continues to display unparalleled leadership and teamwork. “One of the best parts of my job is being able to watch the joy others experience when participating in our programs. Recreation is all about trying new things, and when we can provide a new class or lesson to the community, there’s no better feeling. Everyone deserves a place to play.” Thank you for all you do, Wendy!