June 17-23 was slated Recreation Professionals Week in Saskatchewan for the second year!
During the week, we highlighted a recreation professional each day that 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 wellbeing.
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 wellbeing
- Wellbeing of natural and built environments
- Community wellbeing
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.
RECREATION PROFESSIONAL SPOTLIGHT
Kevin Roberts - 06/17/2019
Kevin Roberts has been Director of Sports and Recreation at the Jonas Roberts Memorial Community Centre (JRMCC) for the past seven and a half years. Also a Lac La Ronge Indian Band Member, Kevin’s active participation in his community speaks volumes about his passion for the recreation industry.
One of Kevin’s favourite things about his position as JRMCC Recreation Director is having the opportunity to engage with the community and to be an active voice in the development of the local arena and community hall.
JRMCC has gone through a substantial expansion in recent years. The interior received a massive upgrade resulting in a top-notch work-out facility and walking/jogging area featuring rubberized tracking. In addition, the exterior has seen an expanded entertainment park consisting of a canteen and washroom facilities, 18-hole mini golf course, snookball, beach volleyball, batting cage and ball diamonds.
An outdoor enthusiast who enjoys reading sports biographies can also add his heavy involvement with the local minor hockey community (board member, manager and coach), softball manager and pioneer of the Sask Prairie Selects (a program allowing elite Indigenous youth from across Saskatchewan the opportunity to compete in hockey and softball with experienced, top-level Aboriginal coaches to the program) to his resume. Kevin engages in endless learning, research and professional development as Recreation Director.
“Recreation is vital to my community as it, in its different forms, can provide a solution to social, health and personal issues. For every moment a youth is active and engaged is one less moment they have to experience the negative influences and lifestyles. It allows youth to be exposed to something positive, which in many cases, is not something they might not see or experience every day. Youth in the community can be exposed to drugs, alcohol, lateral violence and crime, to name a few. Some of this is cyclical and a result of historical factors, and I strongly believe recreation is one outlet for them to get away from that in a healthy way.”
Erin Poitras - 06/18/2019
Erin Poitras has been the Town of Biggar’s Recreation Director for the last 12 years. Erin graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a Kinesiology Degree in 2005 and has been committed to recreation and the overwhelming number of benefits that stem from the profession as a whole.
In Erin’s off-time she can be found with her husband chauffeuring their three children around to their recreation activities.
Erin’s satisfaction from the recreation profession comes from the results that take place when something tangible is added to a facility to better the community, or a new idea is implemented to make recreation better and more accessible for community members.
“Recreation is vital to communities in Saskatchewan because it gives people a better quality of life. It is important at every age to engage in recreation and is very important that our kids learn this at a young age. I feel it is very important for everyone to find a recreational activity that they love. If someone is doing something that they love it increases their confidence and gives them that reassurance in everything else, they do in their lives. Recreation brings communities together and gives people a sense of pride.”
Camille Campbell - 06/19/2019
Camille Campbell has been a Recreation Therapist with the Saskatchewan Health Authority, based out of Swift Current for the past four years. Graduating from the University of Regina, Camille majored in Therapeutic Recreation in the College of Kinesiology.
Camille pursued the recreation profession when her grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Her curiosity piqued for how her grandfather could live his best life and discovered that recreation therapy provided possibilities to people that were living with disabilities.
Her favourite aspect of being in the profession is seeing people smile and their sense of accomplishment when surpassing what they thought they were capable of. She enjoys improving the quality of life of her patients while doing something that they love.
Camille helped spearhead the “Golden Gloves” boxing program implemented at the LTC facility (The Meadows) that made news headlines across the province at the beginning of spring. This program did wonders for all residents that participated, with an increase in residents’ physical, social and emotional domains.
This sports enthusiast has always incorporated recreation in every area of her life. To Camille, sports have been a huge catalyst in meeting people and expanding social groups which plays a major role in her life. Outside of work, Camille can be found participating in various sports, playing with her dog “Shadow” and spending time with her soon-to-be husband (nuptials this summer).
“There are so many areas in our community that are being left behind or are forgotten about. Having the accessibility to recreation for people of all ages, abilities, etc. is a huge part of quality of life. To have the accessibility and facilitation there needs to be the right professionals, such as recreation therapist, to allow for inclusion for all and overall improving quality of life for our members of the community.”
Sara Stukings - 06/19/2019
Sara Stukings is a Recreation Therapist with the Saskatchewan Health Authority based out of Swift Current. Graduating from the University of Regina, Sara obtained her Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) credentials in the spring of 2015 and had the privilege of completing her internship in Newfoundland. Having previously worked with people with disabilities, she fell in love with long-term care (LTC) once again.
One of Sara’s favourite things at her current position is reminding people of their strengths, skills and abilities. Working in a LTC facility, “learned helplessness” is prevalent and Sara takes pleasure in being able to help residents see the ability to participate in recreation pursuits that they believed they were no longer capable of doing, in addition to new activities and programs. She enjoys helping residents gain confidence in their strengths, abilities and social behaviours. Not to mention, seeing residents make connections and build relationships with one another.
Sara helped spearhead the “Golden Gloves” boxing program implemented at the LTC facility (The Meadows) that made news headlines across the province at the beginning of spring. This program did wonders for all residents that participated, with an increase in residents’ physical, social and emotional domains.
Sara’s recreation mindset is not left at work from 9-5. Sara lives her life purposefully and believes in addition to living a life full of activity, that quiet time is an essential ingredient to the recipe of life. During her spare time, she can be found with family and friends, sitting at a coffee shop, volunteering/working on different boards, camping, hiking, playing ball, running, gardening, reading along with a variety of other leisure activities.
This sports enthusiast has always incorporated recreation in every area of her life. To Camille, sports have been a huge catalyst in meeting people and expanding social groups which plays a major role in her life. Outside of work, Camille can be found participating in various sports, playing with her dog “Shadow” and spending time with her soon-to-be husband (upcoming nuptials this spring).
“Recreation is vital in our communities, because without recreation our quality of life would be diminished. We see this all of the time in our work…when someone does not have something they can partake in that brings them joy, gives them a sense of purpose, assists in fostering relationships and offers a social connection then depression, learned helplessness, and social isolation often begin to set in. Mental Health is a major topic in our province and across the country right now, and I believe that recreation is a therapy that we will see increase to assists those struggling within our communities alongside the other health professions currently in place.”
Chris Bruce - 06/20/2019
Chris Bruce has been the Director of Community Services for the City of Melville for three years. His impressive resume includes work experience in a municipal setting for six years, work experience in a management role for more than a decade and a Business Administration Degree with a Major in Human Resources from the University of Nipissing. This combination of experience and education has allowed Chris to energetically move his community forward with a holistic approach through his passion of recreation. One of Chris’s favourite things about his role as a recreation professional is the opportunity to engage with the people of Melville and help members of his community achieve their goals in both recreational activities and project-based settings.
Chris’ role with the city reaffirms why municipalities small and large all need recreation educated and experienced professionals working for them to help prevent disasters: In September 2018, a chiller rupture at the Horizon Credit Union centre could have been disastrous if not for the quick response of maintenance staff at the facility. There was a minor anomality in the suction pressure that was monitored frequently, and the staff diligently contacted the contracted ice specialists Stevenson Industrial. Stevenson Industrial then confirmed after tests were conducted that there was a positive result for contamination between the brine and ammonia (must be separate). The city came together to ensure that the issue was handled with care and that staff and residents’ safety was number one, while delivery of the ice in the rink took a back seat.
When Chris isn’t being superman for Melville, this recreation fanatic can be found spending time with his family outdoors, in the field hunting or on the golf course.
“Recreation is an essential service when it comes to a City’s survival. These days more and more families are choosing a location based on lifestyle. With this change in mindset, there is a new power of recreation. Without a strong recreational program, residents can feel isolated and disconnected from their community. Recreation helps foster a sense of belonging, pride, and interconnection. This feeling of connection greatly influences their perception of lifestyle and in turn, a City ’s ability to attract or keep residents.”
Matt Bahm - 06/21/2019
Mathew has been the Facility Operations Manager at the Town of Whitewood for the past six years. He plays an active role in the recreation profession in Saskatchewan and served a two-year term on the board of directors for the Southeast Connection during those years. Currently, Matt is a member of the Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association (SPRA) Facility Advisory Committee.
Matt graduated from the University of Waterloo’s Recreation and Business Program, adding a strong educational background to Whitewood’s recreation services.
Matt’s favourite part of working in the recreation profession is being able to help encourage others to be active and have fun while engaging in leisure activities.
Recreation is deeply ingrained into who Matt is as a person and is the perfect fit for him professionally. Matt uses recreation as an outlet to unwind and enjoy life and feels fortunate to have the opportunity to help members of his community live their best lives while having a good time in the process.
“Recreation brings us together as neighbours for a shared connectedness. It creates casual social opportunities and keeps us active, improving physical fitness.”
Bethany Dick - 06/22/2019
Bethany Dick has been Lakeland District for Sport, Culture and Recreation’s Youth Consultant based out of Prince Albert since the beginning of 2017. Graduating from the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Kinesiology, Bethany is combining her passion for recreation with her educational background to help children in her community live their best lives.
One of Bethany’s favourite roles in her current position is supporting programs and initiatives that engage children and youth to be active and involved in their community. She enjoys seeing children live healthy, active and creative lifestyles and being able to provide experiences that help make these lifestyles possible are nothing short of remarkable.
This recreation buff can be found engaging in recreation opportunities outside of work. Beth finds all things fun to be tied with recreation, and for her some of these activities include yoga, kayaking and playing the piano.
“Because my focus is primarily on children and youth, I think of the benefits of things like after school programming. Research shows that when kids take part in after school activities, they will show greater academic achievement, improved physical fitness, enhanced emotional well-being, improved behaviour and better social skills. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s worth investing in!”
Michael Ulriksen - 06/23/2019
Michael Ulriksen is currently the Community and Leisure Services Director at the City of Humboldt. He has been focused on creating an inclusive community that is more welcoming and enjoyable with ample recreation opportunities. He has been in his current position for two and a half years and has been with the city since 2008.
Mike oversees Humboldt’s primary recreation facilities including the Humboldt Aquatic Centre, the Elgar Petersen Arena, the curling rink, public fitness rooms and the convention centre. He is also responsible for the city’s municipal grounds and green spaces, parks, trails, playgrounds, ball and soccer fields helping weave recreation into the fabric of the lives of members of the community.
Growing up, Mike’s fondest memories were shaped by others in his current position and loves being able to now be in that recreation role and help others create their own lasting memories.
Mike strongly believes that recreation builds healthy communities and continues to advocate for the profession to help contribute to the health and well-being of his family, friends, neighbours and community.
Recreation was instilled in Mike at a young age. Mike’s enjoyment for both physical and social activity shows in the healthy lifestyle he leads, and he is a positive example for the city.
“Recreation is vital to communities in Saskatchewan because there are so many things competing for our time and increasingly these options do not contribute to an active and social lifestyle. Simple daily or weekly decisions to take advantage of recreational opportunities not only has an immediate impact in our own health but can also have a tremendous impact on the health of our families, friends and those in our community.”
Chrisandra Dezotell - 06/23/2019
Chrisandra Dezotell is currently the Coordinator of Sport Facilities & Special Events at the City of Regina and has been a member of the SPRA Board of Directors for the past three years.
Chrisandra’s extensive resume includes: Supervisor of Leisure Centres (City of Regina), Community Development Officer (Town of Indian Head), two consecutive summers (while completing school) with SPRA and one summer as the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Recreation Programmer.
In addition, Chrissandra has an impressive educational background where she graduated from Sask Polytech’s Recreation and Tourism Program and upon completion, transferred to the University of Regina where she majored in Sport & Recreation Management.
This combination of experience and education has given Chrissandra the aptitude to provide quality recreation opportunities to the City of Regina residents.
One of Chrissandra’s favourite aspects as the coordinator of sport facilities & special events is playing a direct role in ensuring her community is healthy, safe and an enjoyable place to live work and play. When the work day ends, most people in communities across the province head to parks, arenas, pools, libraries, community centres or other recreation activities. It is important to Chrissandra that her community has the opportunity to actively participate in her community’s recreation spaces.
Her ability to always strive and reach higher as a recreation professional in the province is truly inspiring. To Chrissandra, recreation is vital to the populations mental survival and provides the opportunity to decompress, socialize, build relationships and rejuvenate.
“With our long winters, it’s hard to not fall into a pattern of work, eat, sleep, and repeat. Recreation provides us with an outlet regardless of the weather. It also helps bring our communities together, it helps to boost our economy, and it is vital to our health and wellbeing – especially in our smaller communities as other options for physical activity may be limited.”
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 #SKRECPROFWEEK2019
- Hanging the Recreation Professionals Week ’19 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!