June 14-20 was slated Recreation Professionals Week in Saskatchewan for the fourth 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.

#SKRECWEEK2021

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 #SKRECWEEK2021
  • Hanging the Recreation Professionals Week ’21 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

Andrew Crowe - 06/14/2021

Andrew Crowe is originally from Rosthern where he served as the recreation manager for eight years. But for the past two and a half years, Andrew along with his wife and three-year-old son have called the City of Weyburn home where he has been the Director of Leisure Services there.

Recreation and sport have always played a huge role in Andrew’s life growing up. He decided that he wanted to pursue a career in which he would enjoy coming to work every day and have the ability to make changes to benefit the lives of the community members around him. Aside from representing and supporting the communities he has worked for, Andrew also shares his time and expertise with other organizations by volunteering. Most recently Andrew is representing S.A.R.P. on the University of Regina Senate.

When asked about Andrew’s most memorable moments in his career he highlighted planning the Stanley Cup visit to the Town of Rosthern for hometown player Robyn Regehr with the LA Kings in 2014 and his recent work on a new facility in Weyburn. Andrew has played a big role in the planning and construction of the Credit Union Spark Centre which is a $25million multi-purpose facility set to open to the City of Weyburn in September 2021.

Andrew will surely continue to grow as a professional and become a recognized leader in the municipal recreation sector!

“Working as a small-town recreation professional, the wide variety of responsibilities and “jack of all trades” expectations provided me with a well-rounded understanding of not only community recreation, but a thorough understanding of municipal operations.”

 

Karla Nogue - 06/15/2021

Karla Nogue was born and raised in Moose Jaw but moved to Saskatoon in 1989 to attend University and has called Saskatoon home ever since. Since November 2020 Karla has been a Senior Recreation Therapist at Parkridge Centre in Saskatoon with the Saskatchewan Health Authority.  Prior to this position Karla worked as a Recreation Therapist and Recreation Co-ordinator and recently celebrated 25 years working in Recreation Therapy!

Although getting into recreation was not Karla’s intention, she worked at Valley View Centre in Moose Jaw and while attending University with the goal of being a teacher she worked at Sherbrooke care home. During these times she had some exposure to the Recreation departments and could see the benefits it provided to the clients and residents- plus it looked like a lot of fun!  She left the U of S after three years and took a year off to figure out what she wanted to do then applied to SIAST- Kelsey on a whim and was accepted to the Recreation and Leisure Diploma program. Finding employment after graduation helped her to see that Therapeutic Recreation was a field that she felt comfortable in and where she could make a difference. She eventually returned to SIAST- Kelsey (now Sask Polytech) and completed her Therapeutic Recreation Diploma and more recently, completed a Bachelor degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies in 2017.

Many of Karla’s most memorable experiences have revolved around resident interactions and relationships. She stated that there are so many great memories that it is hard to pinpoint one but completing her Bachelor of Recreation and Leisure Studies was a career highlight for her. She embarked on her degree as a mature student with a young family while working full time and she still wonders some days how she managed to graduate!

“I personally hope that our profession can move forward and continue to focus on the “why” and continue to advocate for our valuable service that enhances the clients/patients and residents that we work with.   I also hope to win a lottery and provide unlimited, qualified Recreation Therapy staff in as many areas as possible- I would also like to buy a new bus or 2 for Parkridge for resident excursions in the community.”

Darcy McLeod - 06/16/2021

Darcy McLeod was born and raised in Weyburn and attended the Recreation and Leisure Program at SIAST in Saskatoon. He went onto work in Regina, Regina Beach, Saskatoon, Canora and has called Yorkton home for the last 23 years. Darcy has been the Director of Community Development, Parks and Recreation since 2002.

Darcy chose the field of recreation because he loved being at the rink and pool and playing all kinds of sports during his youth. He decided there is no better way to earn a living than to spend time being in places that he loved.

Darcy’s passion for recreation is clear through his years of work on advancing the awareness of the importance of recreation. It is his hope that he has done enough for people to understand the value of recreation and why it is important- that is why we do what we do. He wants to ensure people understand that recreation is not building and operating facilities and parks. Although facilities are required to support what recreation professionals do, it is not what recreation professionals do.

Some of the most meaningful work in Darcy’s career has been when he and his community have been able to provide places and spaces where people can participate without any fees and charges. This includes the development of pathways and improving park space amenities like providing an accessible play structure, spray parks, outdoor ice surfaces or a skatepark.

“Recreation is provided to ensure our residents can make positive, healthy lifestyle choices that will carry on throughout their lives. This benefits not only the individual, but also the communities in which they live. All of us in recreation need to remember that. The pandemic has really proven how important recreation is to an individual and the social fabric of our communities. We need to build on that and not fall back into the trap of operating facilities for the sake of operating facilities.”

Lisa Braun - 06/17/2021

Lisa Braun is the Community Coordinator for the town of Hepburn and has been since 2016 where she has worked hard to bring her community together to respond to the towns needs.

Lisa’s passion for promoting volunteer engagement and community belonging led her to recreation. With training in education, it is very important to her to be able to teach and share knowledge and opportunity with others. She loves to see when volunteers come together to respond to community needs and she can assist by providing knowledge and resources, support grant writing, recruit diverse teams, and liaison with the town team.  Lisa is proud to have assisted volunteer teams taking on a centennial park project, a seasonal marketplace, a new nature kids’ program, a childcare services hub, and a new neighborhood playgrounds project. 

One of Lisa’s favorite projects was the Town Centennial Celebration in 2019. A full year of events and initiatives were planned to honour the town’s milestone. The feature event was a three day June festival weekend with parade, outdoor concerts, ball tournament, beer gardens, historical tours, kids carnival, food trucks, smoke show, lawnmower races, Brad Johner concert, and community church service. The partnership between community groups and individuals to host a huge local festival and homecoming was something she says she will never forget. She was proud to work with, and credits, the planning committee which was a great volunteer team who mobilized for the many great ideas and events.

A member of S.A.R.P, SPRA and the Lakeland District for Sport Culture and Recreation, Lisa has found a lot of value in resource sharing and relationship building. She feels the National Framework for Recreation has been a valuable tool for building into her community, and connecting their activities to a larger vision. She shared her belief that the recreation network in Saskatchewan is amazing, and has risen to serve its communities with creativity and resilience through the pandemic- giving a special shout out to the Lakeland District crew.

“I love seeing when people can participate and work together, they find purpose and connection.”

Stephanie Cuddington - 06/18/2021

Growing up in the small town of Bienfait, Stephanie Cuddington was raised in a household that was very involved in the community and activities. Her parents volunteered in various leadership roles and witnessing their time, efforts and passion, trying to improve the life in their community led to Stephanie getting involved in various roles in school and the community. From her involvement she came to appreciate volunteer organizations and working with people and according to her, “Life is what you make of it so recreation was a natural fit.”

Stephanie has worked in recreation since graduating from Kelsey in 1985. She now calls Wynyard home where she has been the Executive Director for Prairie Central District for Sport, Culture & Recreation since 2009 when Zone Sport Councils and Regional Recreation Associations amalgamated.

Stephanie has always been a voice for advancement in the field with the hopes to bring positive change and to improve the lives of her communities and their members, especially youth. Stephanie’s volunteer involvement on numerous boards and committees including Wynyard KidSport™, chair of the Wynyard & District Food Bank, coaching numerous sports and as Mission Staff at multi-sport events show how dedicated both professionally and personally she is at ensuring recreation (as well as culture and sport!) is an important part of people’s lives from an early age.

“I can’t imagine a different or better profession to be involved in!”

Jaime Smith-Windsor - 06/19/2021

Jaime Smith-Windsor is the Recreation Programmer within Supported Living at Hope’s Home Prince Albert for almost three years. In her position she works with children with complex medical needs aging from infant all the way to 18 years old, which all reside in the facilities care full time.

Jaime was first introduced to the wonderful world of recreation as a summer student in Moose Jaw for the Ministry of Social Services. While completing her bachelor’s degree Jaime worked with individuals with intellectual disabilities at a summer camp and LOVED it! After working in a different career upon completing her degree, she was left unfulfilled but when her and her husband moved to Prince Albert the stars aligned and she accepted the position she is currently in and has not looked back!

With the needs of the children at Hope’s Home, every day offers new challenges, and new opportunities for Jaime to be creative with programming, research, and exploring new interventions. She is very proud of the work that she and her coworkers have built into community inclusion. By advocating and creating more and more opportunities for children with disabilities or complex medical needs to be kids, to participate with their friends through play with no barriers. Every day she steps into work feeling fulfilled and excited! Her most memorable experience was when she was able to participate in a make-a-wish trip to Disney World with two of their kids pre-covid. Advocating for inclusion is Jaime’s top priority, and on this trip the kids were able to fully participate in any ride or attraction they wanted, and one teenager was determined to go on every single rollercoaster.

Jaime continues to learn and extend her training with hopes of completing her National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification in the near future.

“I love all that this field has to offer, and I look forward to growing within the discipline, within our provincial association, and hopefully in a mentorship role with future students.”

David Godwin - 06/20/2021

On the final day of Recreation Professional Week in Saskatchewan it only seems right to recognize someone who has been a member of S.A.R.P. for many years! David Godwin has been involved in recreation in Saskatchewan since the 1960’s and is currently a community consultant with the City of Saskatoon Community Services Division.

David’s recreation career began in 1971 when he was a leader and program director as well as Camp Administrator and Waterfront Director at St. John Bosco Wilderness Camp for 15 years. David joined the Saskatchewan Camps Association Board of Directors in 1974 and even after he moved on from Camp life as a staffer, he continued to sit on the board until April 2021. David has also been the provincial representative for Saskatchewan Camps on the national level.

Throughout his years David has met and worked with many fabulous people and one of his more memorable encounters he talks about was from back when he was a maintenance worker at a camp. While the camp leaders were in a staff meeting the maintenance workers would watch over the campers. As they were walking a camp group back from an excursion one of the campers twisted her ankle. David had her sit on his shoulders while he carried her the rest of the way back. Twenty-five years later at his church a lady with her two children asked him what his name was, and then stated that she was the little girl he had given a ride on his shoulders. He says it struck him like a ton of bricks how one act of kindness can affect people, but he also noted that kind of thing happens all the time in recreation!

David’s list of training, courses, certifications, and awards are too numerous to list but it is safe to say that David has made an impact through recreation on the life of many, many people!

“I got into recreation because I really loved being in nature and meeting people.”