Local recreation professionals receive state awards

By on May 6, 2019

On April 8, the New York State Recreation and Park Society celebrated its 79th Annual Awards Ceremony at its Annual Conference in Lake Placid, NY. The annual awards celebrate excellence in park, recreation and therapeutic recreation professionalism and programming across New York State.

Sherry Farrell, Recreation Supervisor for Hilton-Parma Recreation, was this year’s recipient of the Robert W. Miner Memorial Good Gal Award. The award goes to an individual who is actively involved in the Society and in activities related to the field of leisure services; an individual who has unselfishly contributed time, expertise, and effort to further the principles and goals of the field of leisure services. Farrell has come up through the ranks at Hilton-Parma Recreation from a Recreation Administrative Assistant to a Recreation Supervisor over a period of 18 years. She has put in over 35,000 hours of her life to this profession and is the longest tenured staff member of her Department. She has served on two state conference committees and has helped out many times behind the scenes.

Ryan Rockefeller, also a Recreation Supervisor for Hilton-Parma Recreation, received the Young Professional Award. The Young Professional Award goes to a nominee who truly represents everything that the Award stands for including an emerging leader with a record of career advancement as an engaged professional, and also outstanding service to the department and residents. Rockefeller has been in the field just over four years. He now oversees a new afterschool program that has seen a 50 percent increase in participation in its second year. He is a guest lecturer at The College at Brockport, serves on the Genesee Valley Recreation and Park Society (GVRPS) Student Outreach Committee, is a member at large for GVRPS and served on this year’s NYSRPS annual conference committee.

Gay H. Lenhard, Ogden Town Supervisor, was this year’s recipient of the Elected Official of the Year Award. Lenhard has been the Town Supervisor for over 20 years and prior to that was an employee with the Town. She lives and breathes Ogden. Lenhard has been a vital part of securing park land, assisting with grant procurements and lending her expertise to policy development. She is at almost all events and programs – weekends and late nights included. You can find her untangling prizes at the Easter Egg Hunt, shopping at the Garage Sales, scooping popcorn at Movie Nights, and walking in the 5K, among other things. She has created an environment of high morale within the town departments and is a mentor and a leader whom is respected and admired. Kelly Bartell, Recreation Supervisor of Town of Ogden, accepted the award on Lenhard’s behalf.

The City of Rochester’s “ROC the Riverway Overview” received the Multimedia Award. The “ROC the Riverway Overview” is an innovative video, filmed by a drone, to promote and publicize the parks and other projects including the ROC the Riverway initiative which includes over $500,000,000 in projects along and adjacent to the Genesee River. Much of the emphasis of these projects is on parks, trails and public space improvements. This video helped to secure $50,000,000 in State Funding for this initiative. Accepting the award was John Picone, Athletics & Aquatics Coordinator, City of Rochester.

The New York State Recreation and Park Society, founded in 1940, is the principal organization promoting quality recreation and park opportunities for all citizens of NYS through education, training, technical assistance and other support to local, county, state and federal recreation and park providers. The annual awards mark a very time the Society is able to celebrate the individuals and agencies responsible for promoting health, wellness and building community across New York.

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