Monday, September 27, 2021

Our Parks and Recreation Story: The Faces of Southlake Programs

Park and Recreation Month may officially be over, but it’s never too late to celebrate the world-class programming team behind all your favorite community activities.

Let’s get to know them a little better as they share Our Parks and Recreation Story:

Hannah Nyquist, Programs Coordinator

This summer, we hosted our third Cross Timbers Nature Camp at the Bob Jones Nature Center! When I started in 2019, I spent my first day learning the ropes of camp. Two years later and Nature Camp has grown in so many ways. We have a steady following of return campers that we have seen grow over the years and got to know dozens of families. This summer, I was thrilled to have a team of experienced counselors- including our beloved Camp Director, Madeleine Mott. We expanded Nature Camp from a concept to a family, and I am incredibly proud to be a part of that. Together we were able to serve over 200 campers!

Hiking to Grapevine Lake, having weekly presenters teach our campers, and watching staff blossom into remarkable counselors are some of my favorite memories this summer. We also have the pleasure and responsibility to share the importance of stewardship with our campers, along with the Jones Family’s remarkable story.

This summer, we added Forest Preschool classes outside of our fall and spring semesters. I served as Lead Teacher for these classes and taught alongside our incredibly gifted and passionate preschool teachers. Our Friday Forest Preschool days meant hours playing outside, hiking, and exploring with almost 100 preschoolers. We focused on different animals who live at BJNCP, the word “habitat,” and how important it is to respect nature.

Gretchen Morgan, Programs Coordinator

I started as a counselor in 2019. Summer Camp Mania changed my life for the greater good in various ways. I learned to be a listener, role model, creator, achiever, and leader. I got to enhance my skills through special events and programs. In 2020, I applied to become a full-time employee. This year, I received the full-time position of Programs Coordinator. I could not be prouder and more honored to step into this role for the City of Southlake.

This summer, Camp Mania was located at Durham Intermediate School. Games, crafts, and activities filled each day. Some days guests would come to share their talents with our campers. These guests were from the City of Southlake Fire Department, Airbrush Tattoos, Kona Ice, and Martial Arts. On Thursdays, we would explore Bicentennial Park and swim in our Aquatics Center at The Marq. We take each moment we have with each camper to impact them positively.

We also manage our Club Metro program located at Legend’s Hall. Club Metro is an adaptive recreation program that welcomes adults with special needs. These participants come twice a week to socialize, eat, and have fun. Some activities we do are scavenger hunts, basketball tournaments, and crafts. We also meet once a month every Saturday for Sports Saturday. This program gives the participants a chance to learn volleyball, basketball, dodgeball while moving their bodies and learning new skills.

Overall, our programs create a place to learn about a sport, play a game, and socialize. They also provide a safe and fun environment for participants to learn, grow, and become their amazing selves.

Madeleine Mott, Camp Director

I love when people ask me what I do for a living because I get to answer in so many unexpected and fun ways. For example, I hike for a living, am a mad scientist, am an entomologist. I mass-produce future tree huggers, make a lasting difference in children’s lives, and am a snake charmer. I play games all day, am a medic, a forest preschool teacher, a butterfly whisperer. I am an edible plants taster, a steward, an artist. I am a nature camp director.

Working at the Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve, I have the opportunity to wear so many different hats. I love our programs, their participants, and the enthusiastic individuals I get to work with every day. I enjoy how working for the Programs Division allows me to explore this beautiful preserve and teach future generations how to love and take care of it and its inhabitants. At the BJNCP, I truly live out the “Life is Good” motto. “Do what you like, like what you do.”

Emma Blight, Camp Director

The Programs Division creates a space for people of all ages to learn, grow, and connect with our staff and other participants. While working in our programs, I have built relationships and made memories that will last a long time. From programs such as Camp Mania, Club Metro, to Breakfast with Santa, one of my favorite things we do is provide hands-on experiences for everyone involved. Whether that is playing against the Southlake DPS in a game of dodgeball at Camp Mania, or getting to play with a baby kangaroo at Club Metro, the experiences we provide are truly exciting.

Courtney Duplechin, Programs Supervisor

This team never ceases to amaze me. I am so proud of each person who has contributed to the success of the Programs Team! My favorite part of Programs is that each team member is so incredibly passionate about what we do. Whether they are playing games with kids or planning the next big event, this talented team thinks through every detail and how it connects people to nature, friends, family, new hobbies, the community, creativity, and more! Everyone is willing to go the extra mile to give our participants a special moment to remember.

I started working for Southlake Parks and Recreation in 2015 as a Camp Mania counselor. A favorite part of my job is seeing kids who were once campers or volunteers in my group grow up to volunteer or work for the Programs team. It is so special, even though it confirms I’m getting old, to know that we are making an impact in a child’s life and that years later, they want to join the team to do the same for others.

We love what we do, give our all to providing exciting and educational programs, and care deeply for the people we serve.

Thank you to the Programs Team for being so committed to creating life-long memories for the Southlake community!

Home-Grown Staff: From Volunteer to Camp Director

Summer Camp Mania is a Southlake staple and one of our most beloved recreation programs. Today, we celebrate one of the special Community Services Staff Members that make it all happen: Meet Emma Blight!

 

Emma is currently going into her junior year of college at the University of Oklahoma majoring in Public and Non-Profit Administration. She is kind-hearted, selfless, and brings a smile to everyone around her. Emma’s story is just one example of our staff’s commitment to creating life-long memories for our residents.

 

Emma has been a crucial part of the Parks and Recreation team for six years. She initially made her mark as a Summer Camp Mania volunteer for two years in a row. During her first year, she was even honored with the Junior Volunteer of the Year award. Having enjoyed her volunteer experience so much, Emma took her commitment to the department to the next level by becoming a Camp Counselor. During her time with Camp Mania, Emma developed positive relationships, environments, and games for kids of various ages.

 

When the opportunity to become this year’s Camp Director became open, Emma knew she had to jump on it! Camp is only a few weeks in, but she has already exceeded expectations for the role! When your child comes home thrilled from a fun-filled day at Camp, make sure to thank Emma for her passion and dedication to Camp Mania.

 

Emma’s career within the Community Services Department is just one example of the career growth that’s possible when you have the right attitude. From volunteer to counselor to Camp Director, we are very excited to see what comes next for Emma’s future with our department.

 

“Working for the City of Southlake helped me find a job that I truly care about, as well as exemplified what it truly means to be a part of a team!”—Emma Blight, Camp Director.

 

We are happy to have Emma be a part of our team!

Summer Camp Registrations Open April 1

If you had a blast at one of our Spring Break camps, then mark your calendars because summer camp registration opens on April 1 at 8:00 am!

They are back and more popular than ever! Claim your spot for Summer Camp Mania and Cross Timbers Nature Camp for a summer filled with world-class experiences and forming lifelong memories.

Camp Mania

Summer Camp Mania is bringing entertainment to campers this summer with plenty of fun surprises for the kiddos! Instead of field trips, guest artists and contractors will visit the camp to guarantee exciting and educational experiences every day. Learn about becoming a DJ, jump up and down in a wild bounce house, and express your personality with an airbrush tattoo from a guest artist. Camp favorite activities such as visiting Bicentennial Park, swimming in the Aquatics Center, and playing games with counselors will be back as well!

Cross Timbers Nature Camp

Cross Timbers Nature Camp will also open for registration for all nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts! Campers will have the opportunity to explore the trails, learn about the species that inhabit them, and become good stewards of our Cross Timbers Ecosystem.

Summer Camp Mania and Cross Timbers Nature Camp are each offered for nine weeks during the summer. Campers can register for one week or all nine; however, they must enroll and pay for each week they want to attend. Specialty camps will also be offered this summer for those interested in athletics, science, or STEAM. Learn all about our various camp offerings on our website.

If you know you want to register for camp, but aren’t sure which one is right for you, then make sure to attend our Camp Fair at Champions Club on April 17! Explore each summer camp’s booth where you can learn more about the activities planned for each one.

Registration for summer camps opens on April 1 for City of Southlake residents and April 15 for nonresidents. Visit our website for more information such as COVID-19 Precautions and parent packets.

We’ll see you at camp!

Spring Break Camp Mania Thrilled Campers at Champions Club

Champions Club was busy last week as 30 campers took over for this year’s Spring Break Camp Mania.

Camp Mania had another successful year of fun, smiles, and laughter. School was out for the week, but that didn’t stop these campers from learning and playing with friends. Campers enjoyed a trip to Bicentennial Park, a dodgeball competition, and a swim day at Champions Club’s state-of-the-art Aquatics Center.

Champions Club provided the ideal background for the ultimate Spring Break Camp experience. Equipped with a large classroom, an indoor turf field, an Aquatics Center, and proximity to Bicentennial Park, campers had plenty of opportunities to let their imaginations run wild.

Activities at the Aquatics Center consisted of riding water slides, relaxing on the lazy river, and playing with pool toys provided by the Aquatics Coordinator and Supervisor. Park activities at the Playground included a zipline, slides, and monkey bars. Other highlights were a movie day, freeze dance and tag, and a joke-telling competition between staff members judged by the campers. The weather was beautiful all week long, and every day was a new adventure packed with great activities.

Camp Mania is truly a staple of the Southlake Community Services Department. Getting better and better every year, this year we welcomed new faces and familiar friends. Those who have experienced Camp Mania before will attest that it is always an enjoyable experience.

When asked about her experience planning Camp Mania, Gretchen Morgan, programs coordinator, stated that “Camp Mania has always been a fun and exciting experience for kids. Seeing their smiles at the end of each day lets us know that we have done our job. Of course, pulling off such an incredible camp experience for the Southlake community would not have been possible without the hard work of our dedicated camp counselors and full-time staff.”

Spring Break may be over; however, summer is just around the corner! Keep an eye on our website to register for Camp Mania during the summer. It’s an experience you don’t want to miss!

City of Southlake Community Services Department Shines with Multiple Winners in the Southlake Style Readers’ Choice Awards

The Southlake Style Readers’ Choice results are in, and the Community Services Department boasts numerous winners and finalists!

The annual Readers’ Choice survey closed after approximately 43,000 votes were cast by Southlake community members. Voting was open from February 2 until February 18. Having been nominated in multiple categories, here are the results of this year’s survey:

  • Entertainment Category—Swimming Pool/Water Park—Champions Club at The Marq Southlake—Winner
  • Entertainment Category—Park—Bicentennial Park—Winner
  • Entertainment Category—Event/Wedding Venue—Legends Hall at The Marq Southlake—Finalist
  • Entertainment Category—Park—Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve—Finalist
  • Summer Camp—Camp Mania—Finalist

Make sure to keep up with everything that is going on at these award-winning venues. With Spring Break just around the corner, the possibilities for fun are never-ending!

Here is a list of events to look forward to within the Community Services Department:

  • Swimming Pool at Champions Club at The Marq Southlake
    – Preschool Water Play on March 26
  • Camp Mania at Champions Club on March 15
  • Legends Hall at The Marq Southlake
    – Sip and See event on March 7
  • Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve
    – Cross Timbers Forest Preschool Spring Break starting March 15
    – Cross Timbers Spring Break Nature Camp on March 15
    – Nature Center Open House on March 27
    – Adult Outdoor Education on March 30
    – Cross Timbers Nature Club on March 31

Register for these events and more here.

Congratulations to the winners and the teams who make creating world-class experiences for our community possible. Thank you to everyone who voted for us! Serving our community and working towards becoming the premier destination for lifelong memories is what drives us. Keep an eye out for our winners in the April issue of Southlake Style.

Southlake DPS Hosts Coloring Contest at Summer Camp Mania

This year, Southlake DPS redirected their Summer Camp Mania fire safety in the kitchen lessons into a coloring contest.

Contests were presented to camp groups over two different weeks.

The theme, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen,” is inspired by the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) 2020 campaign. The theme was required to appear prominently within the poster and had to depict safety behavior and procedures.

The judges were the Fire Marshal’s Office and camp staff. First, second and third place were awarded for each division and all participants received a ribbon and a Southlake Fire string bag.

All winning posters are on display in the Southlake Library.

Contest Winners

Division I – Ages 5 – 7

  • 1st Place – Campbell Kronm
  • 2nd Place – Clara Cloud and Cameron Crawford
  • 3rd Place – Mary Yue

Division II – Ages 8 – 10

  • 1st Place – KyliChristian-Segel
  • 2nd Place – Emma Edwards
  • 3rd Place – Winston Kunz

Division III – Ages 11 – 12

  • 1st Place – Kati Christiansen Striegel and Sara Demas
  • 2nd Place – Ben Ansen and James Downs
  • 3rd Place – Georgie Myers and Dylanne Garcia

Holiday Break Camp Mania is Back!

Our favorite camp is back this holiday season during the holiday breaks from school! Join Camp Mania this Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. All camps will be held from 7:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. at Durham Intermediate School, 801 Shady Oaks Drive.

Thanksgiving Break
November 25– 27

Christmas Break
December 23 & December 26-27

New Year’s Break
December 30 – January 3

 

Children, ages 5-11, are invited to have fun and meet new friends in a safe environment during their time off school. Holiday Break Camp Mania provides structured and free play, arts and craft activities, and fun field trips. Your child will have a lot to talk about from their Camp Mania experience!

If you are interested in signing your child up for Holiday Break Camp Mania, you can register online or in person at Champions Club at The Marq Southlake, 285 Shady Oaks Drive.

Day Break Camp Mania is Back on October 14

When school is out, camp is in! Registration is now open for our next Day Break Camp Mania Session coming up in October. Campers will enjoy swimming at the aquatic center and games on the turf!

Date: Monday, October 14
Time: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.*
Location: Champions Club at the Marq Southlake, 285 Shady Oaks Dr., Southlake, TX 76092
Member Cost: $33 per camper
Non-Member Cost: $42 per camper
Register Online

*Before care is provided from 8:30 a.m – 9 a.m. and after care from 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Participants should bring a sack lunch. Participants must be currently enrolled in Kindergarten in a public or private school equivalent.

Summer Registration for Southlake Parks and Recreation Opens April 3rd!

Summer is almost here! That means it’s time to start registering for all the great things Southlake Parks and Recreation has planned. In preparation for the opening of The Marq Southlake Champions Club in summer of 2018, Parks and Recreation is changing registration software.

The new software, CSI, will go live Monday, April 3 at 8:00am when summer registration opens. Registration will also be available in-person at Southlake Town Hall in Training Room 3C. City staff will be standing by to assist customers in creating an account in CSI and registering for their favorite summer programs. Take a sneak peek at all the exciting summer activities in the Summer 2017 Southlake Scene.

When participants go to register for programs on April 3rd they will notice the website looks a little different. Now, instead of having to search for an activity, you will be able to select a category to begin the search process.

One important transition note to keep in mind: All users will have to create a new account. Account information will NOT carry over from Active Network.

What does this mean for me?

Before actually registering for a program, you will be prompted to create a new account. Because CSI will also be used once Champions Club is fully operational, it will look like you are registering for a membership. Don’t worry, when you are asked to select your membership type, simply select the “Patron” membership and Parks and Recreation as the site. This will allow you to register as you normally would.

You will need to create your new account before you are able to register for summer programs like Camp Mania or Basketball, to name a few. Parents, when you are completing the account registration, be sure to list yourself as the “main member” on the account. Other family members, like spouses and children, will become “sub-members” on the account.

We understand change can sometime be confusing. We’re here to help! You can view the step-by-step instructions to help you set up you new CSI account or you can call us at (817) 748-8019.Southlake Parks and Rec CSI Transition 2016