June 20-26 was slated Recreation Professionals Week in Saskatchewan for the fifth year!
During the week, we will be highlighting a recreation professional each day who has made outstanding contributions that are beneficial to their community through recreation.
What is recreation?
Recreation is the experience that results from freely chosen participation in physical, social, intellectual, creative and spiritual pursuits that enhance individual and community well-being.
Why are recreation professionals important to your province?
Think of your most enjoyable memory as a kid. Odds are, you’re thinking of something outdoors where you were playing with family or friends. This is natural as our connection to play, enjoyment and general happiness is from memories that involved family, friends and playing.
Now that you have these memories going through your mind, do you remember any person(s) in your life who were always around making sure the spaces and places you were playing as a child were safe. Safe, so that you could simply be a kid enjoying life? These people were likely recreation professionals (although they may not hold that title), they were working in the background of your community making parks, open spaces and recreation facilities safe places for you, your family and friends to play. These opportunities and experiences are made possible through the hard work and passion of Saskatchewan’s Recreation Professionals. This diverse group of professionals includes any person working in the field of recreation and parks in a non-volunteer capacity.
Recreation professionals envision a Saskatchewan where everyone is engaged in meaningful, accessible recreation experiences, that foster:
- Individual well-being
- Well-being of natural and built environments
- Community well-being
Programs and services offered by recreation professionals foster:
- Active living
- Inclusion and access
- Connecting people and nature
- Supportive environments
- Recreation capacity
Behind a thriving community and highly valued services are educated, trained professionals that care deeply about the people that they help.
Do you work for a municipality? Please find below some excellent information to share with your administration.
SHOW YOUR APPRECIATION
Across Saskatchewan, recreation professionals will be celebrated for the positive impact that they have on our province through their passion, dedication, commitment and hard work.
Show your appreciation of a recreation professional/s in your community by:
- Creating an appreciation post (creative available for download here) on social media and mentioning (@SaskRecProf) on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram. Use trending hashtag #SKRECWEEK2022
- Hanging the Recreation Professionals Week ’22 Poster in recreation facilities and bulletin boards
Have any questions about how you can appreciate recreation professionals? Send us an email here. We would love to assist where we can!
RECREATION PROFESSIONAL SPOTLIGHT
Josh Davidson - 06/26/2022
Josh Davidson is the program head for Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s Recreation and Tourism Management diploma. Having grown up between The Pas, Manitoba and Prince Albert Saskatchewan, he grew an appreciation for recreation through playing hockey, fishing, hunting, canoeing, camping and generally being outside.
After graduating from the Recreation and Tourism Management diploma, at what was then SIAST, Josh continued to the University of Regina to complete a BKin. in Sport and Recreation Administration and Business Administration diploma. From there, he spent just under 6 years guiding in outdoor recreation throughout southern Spain (PADI SCUBA, hiking, bike touring and team building challenges), followed up by a year working as a raft, mountain bike and hiking guide in the Eastern Canadian Rockies.
Over the past decade, Josh has been involved as an instructor in the Recreation and Tourism Management program, having taken on the role of Program Head 3 years ago. Throughout his time working in post secondary, he has been absolutely blown away by the enthusiasm, motivation, and resiliency that the professionals involved in leading the recreation industry have demonstrated. Josh truly believes that recreation is for everyone and works daily to have an inclusion focus in their philosophy of recreation.
“I got into recreation as a profession because I love to help people discover how to lead meaningful and healthy lives. Now, nearly 20 years after making this career choice, I feel incredibly privileged to be able to help train the recreation leaders of tomorrow.”
Jodi Nicholson-Hachey - 06/25/2022
Recreation/Sport Management, as a profession, first crossed my mind while lazing on the carpet in my grandparents living room in Prince Edward Island the late summer of 1991. I was accepted and preparing for my first days at Acadia University, family alma-mater. I was enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts degree and as I lay there flipping through the paper copy of the course catalogue (remember those?), I stumbled on a degree that fit with everything I enjoyed and had been doing as long as I could recall: working with my community, coaching, teaching, leading, and programming sport & recreation. Needless to say, on registration day, when the opportunity presented itself to transfer to the Bachelor of Recreation Management BRM) program, I didn’t hesitate. Later, I travelled to Holland to pursue a Master’s Degree in Leisure and Environments – didn’t quite finish up with that but the international experience was invaluable.
Setting forth to study recreation management with a special interest in outdoors and special education was a natural fit! I enjoyed my time in University and was fortunate to also be a member of the Acadia Varsity Swim Team. I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with, and for, many people within several Saskatchewan communities, where I’ve made many memories and perhaps left behind some meaningful legacies which are ongoing today.
As a Recreation Management professional, I take pride in providing quality, professional, and accessible opportunities. I have truly enjoyed helping communities set up new programs to provide new opportunities for children and adults alike.
My path and life story within the field of recreation includes stops with the YMCA of Regina, the RCMP “F” Division Auxiliary Policing Program, Swim Sask, The Netherlands (WLRA-WICE program), City of Regina, University of Regina as a sessional lecturer, Acadia University, (BRM), Gravelbourg Swim Club, Meadow Lake Manta Ray Swim Club and the Regina Optimist Dolphins, Prairie Yoga Centre, as well as member of Team South West for the Sask Games and Team Sask for the Western Canada Summer Games.
I am excited for the new adventures that will unfold as part of the Canada Games and the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) in 2023.
Being a mom has enriched my story and impacted our journeys as we were often a “package deal” as we moved through the various communities and activities while the children and I sought out our own sports and recreation pursuits – learning about and creating new adventures and experiences along the way!
Weaving story lines and helping build recreational and personal relationships within the lives of our fellow citizens is what I take pride in! Knowing that I can make a positive impact in someone’s life, is something I am passionate about. The real bonus to a recreation career is the character development along the way, my own and that of those I get the honour to meet and work with.
Nicole Spenst - 06/24/2022
Growing up in Pierceland, Saskatchewan – community, and volunteering was always valued as an important part of being active and healthy which lead Nicole Spenst to SIAST to pursue a diploma in Recreation and Leisure Management.
Nicole’s passion for recreation began at a young age with the love of sports and ranch life. She believes that everyone has a passion, and our role is to ensure safe places so members of the community can find a place to participate in their activity. We come from many different backgrounds, so it’s important to find ways to be creative and work together.
Nicole has been employed with the City of Swift Current for the past 19 years working as the Events and Program Manager. During this time highlights have been helping and leading projects such as the skateboard park, crokicurl, pickleball courts, cricket, disc golf, inclusive playground and the iPlex expansion to name a few. The list would not be complete without mentioning some of her favorite events such as 2010 Olympic Torch Relay, Rogers Hometown Hockey, Hockey Day in Canada, Western Canada Summer Games, World Under 17 Hockey Challenge, CCA Finals Rodeo and numerous community celebrations.
Nicole continues to be an active member of her community and was part of the transition team for the Southwest District for Culture, Recreation and Sport (SWDCRS), Mission staff for Zone 3 and SWDCRS, volunteer for SPRA grant adjudication and awards committees. She also enjoys coaching ball and soccer, is a member of Waldeck Recreation Board, Volunteer for Wymark Drylanders 4-H Club and Swift Current Ag & Ex Association. Nicole loves working with and continuing to learn from other Recreation Professionals and numerous community volunteers.
Aileen Martin - 06/23/2022
Aileen Martin was born and raised in the heart of the Prairie Central District (PCD) and is proud to call Davidson her hometown. She now lives and farms near Silton, at the south end of Last Mountain Lake with her husband, two active children and a bevy of animals!
Aileen has been a Community Consultant with PCD for five years. With a degree in Political Studies, recreation may not have always been the obvious choice, but a post university DFAIT Internship in New Zealand definitely foreshadowed a future of listening, learning and building relationships in community.
“I love that every day is different in my job. I have the opportunity to meet staff and volunteers and together come up with creative and unique ways to engage communities in sport, culture and recreation. I want everyone to be proud of their hometown.”
A few memorable moments with the District include being a part of the annual Treaty Four Gathering and education sessions with the Buffalo People’s Art Institute, OUTSaskatoon and Harold Littletent’s Dancing Horse Troupe and community Cultural Gatherings including a series of Barn Quilts and Cultural Heritage Workshops.
She is an active volunteer with the Silton Recreation Board, Bulyea SCC, a coach and an advocate for the arts and culture in her community.
“Favourite word – Volunesia (noun): That moment when you forget that you’re volunteering to help change lives because it’s changing yours.”
Judy MacLeod Campbell - 06/22/2022
Judy grew up on a family farm near Crystal Springs, Saskatchewan (sounds beautiful, doesn’t it?) and after high school, attended the Recreation Technology (now Recreation and Leisure) program at SIAST (now Saskpolytech) in Saskatoon.
She started her work in Therapeutic Recreation at Sherbrooke Community Centre in Saskatoon, and St. Mary’s Villa in Humboldt as the Director of Recreation. From there, she headed north to La Ronge for what was supposed to be a six month term position. A few different positions (Athabasca Regional Recreation, NRCC, Sask Government and Sask in motion) a husband, two kids, and 14 years later, they made the move to Prince Albert to be closer to family and different opportunities for the kids.
In Prince Albert Judy has worked for NSCRD, as the Games Manager for the 2014 Saskatchewan Winter Games, MEND, contract work, and for the last 7 years as the Arts & Cultural Coordinator for the City of Prince Albert. In her current positon she leads the Municipal Cultural Action Plan, Public Art Policy, manages the Prince Albert Arts Centre, and works with several partner organizations on events and initiatives such as Culture Days, community coalitions, Community Building Youth Futures, and the Prince Albert Arts Board.
“Wow, I’ve been in this field for 33 years. I’m old. But seriously, it’s been amazing. I have had a variety of career opportunities where I have had the privilege to meet and work with many people, both peers and “customers”. I believe in the value of recreation (in the broad sense including sport and culture and the arts) in our lives and for communities, and I am passionate about opportunity for all. The pandemic shifted us back outdoors, into unstructured recreation, and more family based activities, which I think is important. It’s also great to see the work being done in the last few years in particular to be more inclusive, diverse and equitable.”
Anne Robins - 06/21/2022
Anne Robins was born and raised into a Métis family in Rocanville, Saskatchewan and attended the University of Regina. She has worked in Estevan, Regina, and Saskatoon in various setting such as Day Hospitals, Long-Term Care and Mental Health and Addictions as a Recreation Therapist. She is currently employed at Saskatchewan Polytechnic in the Therapeutic Recreation Diploma program.
Anne is passionate about the field of recreation and therapeutic recreation, she has spent most of her life coaching, teaching, umpiring, and participating in a variety of sports. Through these experiences she has been able to see the benefits and outcomes that participation allows people of all abilities. This is why she is continuing her education in Master of Arts in Recreation and Leisure studies at the University of Alberta. As an Indigenous woman, it is an honour to be spotlighted on National Indigenous People’s Day. This day is in recognition of the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis as the Indigenous People’s in Canada and to celebrate the culture, history, traditions and contributions made by Indigenous People’s in our country.
Some of Anne’s most meaningful memories include seeing the joy on clients faces when they accomplish what they didn’t think they could, and seeing the TR students cross the stage at graduation. It gives her pleasure to help others meet their goals.
“I believe by focussing on what a person’s abilities are rather than their disabilities will make our communities stronger and more inclusive, this is what recreation can do and achieve!”
Julia Schofer - 06/20/2022
Julia Schofer was born and raised in Melville. She received her Diploma in Recreation and Community Development from Saskatchewan Polytechnic in 2017, her Bachelor’s Degree in Sport and Recreation Management and Diploma in Business Administration from the University of Regina both in 2019.
She worked a variety of summer positions in parks and recreation, which included positions with the City of Melville, Saskatchewan Parks and Parks Canada. Julia completed her practicum for her degree, just up the highway from her hometown with the City of Yorkton and has been there ever since. Currently, she is the Program Services Manager and has been in this role for just over 2 years.
For anyone who knows her personally, they know that Julia has been an active and very social person all her life. She knew that she needed a career that was different every day, filled with constant learning, is never dull and, most importantly, is fulfilling to her. Working in recreation does just that as she is able to work with the community to make things happen and provide the residents of Yorkton a breadth of sport, recreation and leisure opportunities to enjoy.
While still being in the early stages of her career, Julia has hopes to make large and meaningful impacts to the community in the very near future. She is continually growing, learning and asking questions of some of this province’s best in recreation to help her professional development, and to also help the community of Yorkton.
“I think society took recreation for granted and realized how quickly everything can be taken away. Even for myself during the pandemic, I noticed how losing recreation and leisure opportunities impacted me physically, socially and mentally. Since reopening, the community wants to get back to being active, reconnecting and have the chance to try out new opportunities. I want to support the community and help people to love where they live. If the community has the correct supports activated, which includes the right people, places and infrastructure, the benefits of recreation will help the community thrive at its fullest potential after this period of uncertainty.”