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Rec department wins several awards

by Warren Bottino

Hollywood is a-buzz with the recent unveiling of this year’s Best Picture Award nominations. But the excitement, glamour and glitz of tinseltown pales in comparison to the prestigious NPRS program excellence awards presented recently at the Eldorado Casino in Reno.

The Nevada Parks and Recreation Society held its annual conference, and amidst the throngs of screaming admirers (who had camped out to catch a glimpse of their favorite recreational professionals) and the popping flash bulbs of the paparazzi, the Douglas County Parks and Recreation Department emerged as this year’s brightest star.

Douglas County is required to compete against much larger jurisdictions such as Henderson, Las Vegas, Clark County, Washoe County, Reno and Sparks. But it was Douglas County that walked off with four out of nine recreation program excellence awards, including the program of the year. In addition, the Elmer Anderson Park Excellence Award was presented to the parks division for Stodick Park. In the history of the Nevada Parks and Recreation Society, no one department has so dominated the awards ceremony.

The four trips Douglas County took to the podium were for Best Senior Program, the Northern Nevada Senior Games; Best Co-Partnership Program, The Network 40 Summer Games; Best Family Event, the Summer Concert in the Park Series; and for Best Major Special Event and Program of the Year, the Father/Daughter Sweetheart Dance.

n Best Senior Program, Northern Nevada Senior Games. An idea of Senior Services Director Kathy Maidlow, the games provided an opportunity to athletes aged 49 and older to participate in activities that contribute to their physical, mental, social and emotional well being. A total of 137 athletes competed in 21 different events. Participants came from as far away as Southern California, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Oregon.

n Best Co-Partnership Program, The Network 40 Summer Games. An Olympic-style-competition conducted over three days at Lake Tahoe, the program was produced cooperatively between the Douglas County Parks and Recreation Department and the Network 40 magazine, the number one music industry publication based out of Los Angeles. The games brought in people from all over the United States and were broadcast over the Internet with hits from as far away as India and Germany. The event served to expand knowledge and awareness of department services and the beauty of our county and provide an alternative source of income that can be marketed nationally to other industries.

n Best Family Event, The Concert in the Park Series. People are encouraged to pack a picnic and come relax in the shadow of the beautiful Minden Park gazebo and enjoy an evening of music all summer long. Over 8,000 people attended the four concerts this past summer, including the very population targeted, children and families. The program serves to build family unity and community pride.

n Best Major Special Event and Best Program of the Year, Father/Daughter Sweetheart Dance. Truly, what a better way for a Dad to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with a night out with his favorite girlhis daughter. In its third year, the Father/Daughter Dance expanded to three nights to accommodate the over 800 people in attendance. Couples dance to DJ music that reflects all tastes and styles. Dads and daughters act out the Village People’s “YMCA,” form conga lines and close out the evening slow dancinga very special and memorable night.

Although Douglas County is regularly recognized for its excellence in the field of recreation and park services, this year was an exceptional effort. In accepting these awards, we must also congratulate our County Commissioners, Parks and Recreation Commissioners, the generous sponsors of our events and the people of Douglas County who make it all possible.

Editor’s note: Warren Bottino is a recreation supervisor with the Douglas County Parks and Recreation division.