Friday, September 24, 2021

Mental Health Awareness Month: Take a Walk Outside

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. We want to emphasize the small habits you can build daily to maintain your mental health.

Life can get stressful, and with the everyday hustle and bustle, it’s easy to put our mental well-being on the back burner. In honor of National Mental Health Awareness Month, we want to highlight some steps you can implement to take care of your mental health this month and beyond. Taking a walk outside is an easy habit you can incorporate into your routine to improve your mental health. With an estimated 1,200 acres of dedicated parkland and over 6 miles of trails, the possibilities for walking in Southlake are endless!

While there are many benefits of walking outdoors, the biggest ones go beyond the advantages of being physically active. Your brain benefits tremendously from outdoor hikes and excursions. For example, just getting a few minutes of fresh air a day helps improve brain function and concentration. For those of us who spend most of our time indoors, this is especially important. Not only does walking outdoors increase productivity, but exposure to Vitamin D is also crucial for healthy brain activity. Of course, one of the best benefits of walking outside is that it’s fun! Getting fresh air and taking in the sounds of nature is a great way to take a break and reduce stress.

The Parks division has made it easy to incorporate this habit into your mental health routine. Our parks and trail system has the perfect walking path for everyone. Bicentennial Park and Bob Jones Park are crowd favorites due to their beautiful trails and recreational opportunities; however, there are many hidden gems throughout the city.

Check out the southwest side of town by walking around the pond at Chesapeake Park. If nature trails are more your thing, you can always hike at the Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve or explore the wetland areas of Gateway Lakes Park. For a more urban feel, combine your next shopping spree with a stroll along the paths of Family Park in Southlake Town Square.

Whatever your preference may be, there is a walking path in Southlake for you. Commit to taking time for your mental health by walking outside for at least 10 minutes every day! Get a comprehensive list of our parks and facilities here.

Let the Games Begin! Spring Athletics is in Full Swing

Spring Athletics is in full swing at the Community Services Department, and the competition is heating up!

Athletic programs are a staple of any good Parks and Recreation department, and ours is no exception. Every season, Southlake residents can sign up for a myriad of leagues, classes, and camps to compete, play and perfect their favorite sport. From America’s pastime, basketball, flag football, to volleyball and everything in between, Southlake has it all!

This season, the Athletics Division is upping their game with the Girls’ Volleyball League and Youth Flag Football League. With these two programs growing more than ever, now is the perfect time to work on your athletic mastery. The Girls’ Volleyball League is open to ages 6-12 years old. Youth Flag Football has a league for each grade level from Kindergarten to 8th grade. The growth and success of these programs are indicative of the value our community places on youth sports.

Everyone knows that playing sports is fun, but there are multiple benefits associated with youth athletics. Playing sports improves physical, mental, social, and emotional development in children. For example, playing on a team helps kids learn crucial social skills like teamwork, leadership, and communication. Practicing and seeing visible improvements helps children develop healthy self-esteem and gain confidence while having a blast!

Not only does participating in youth athletics help kids today, but it also sets them up for success in the future. According to Aspen Project Play, physical activity during early childhood can have lasting positive effects throughout adulthood. For example, active children can score up to 40% on tests, are 15% more likely to go to college, and have lower levels of depression and self- derogation.

As adults, active children have 7-8% higher annual earnings, are more productive at work, and have a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes. The individual benefits transfer to communities as well. Active communities tend to have higher property values, lower heart disease rates, and higher graduation rates.

There’s no denying that athletics plays a vital role in youth development and the building of healthy and strong communities. We are proud of our robust athletics programming and are looking forward to everything that’s to come. Make sure to keep an eye on our website and register for your favorite sport! Let the games begin!

 

Going Mutts over Boo Boo’s Buddies Dog Park

There is no time like Springtime in North Texas: the weather is pleasant, your dog’s tail is wagging, and the great outdoors are beckoning!

If your pup is craving a fun day in the sun, look no further than Boo Boo’s Buddies Dog Park at Bob Jones Park. Bob Jones Park consists of almost 500 acres of primarily native Cross Timbers habitat. Apart from its multiple soccer fields, ample parking, playground, and six miles of scenic trails, Boo Boo’s Buddies Dog Park boasts 2.5 acres of canine fun! Who says the perfect playdate must include other humans?

A trip to Boo Boo’s Buddies Dog Park is sure to be a day you’ll never fur-get; however, we’re offering some tips to make sure your puppy outing is pawsome!

Tip #1: Walk your dog before going to the park

If your dog is smiling with his head out the window and his tail is wagging on your drive to the park, you can bet he is excited to play with friends. However, other dogs and owners may get scared if an overly energetic puppy dashes through the park. To blow off some steam, take your dog on a short walk before letting him in the park.

Tip #2: Ensure your dog is well trained

Dog parks are ideal places for dogs to socialize, exercise, and exhaust their energy, but an untrained dog can easily turn a day at the park sour. Before letting your pup off the leash, it is essential to have mastered basic training commands such as sit, stay, come, and leave it. Additionally, your dog must be comfortable socializing with other dogs calmly and without getting aggressive or scared.

Tip #3: Pay attention to your friend

The atmosphere at a dog park can be very stimulating. Keep a close eye on your pup at all times to ensure he is having fun, playing nice, and not getting into fights. A trip to the dog park is not the time to catch up with your news feed. So put your phone away and pay close attention to body language as well! Your dog might feel overwhelmed or could be intimidating other pups. Don’t forget to keep your dog hydrated and pick up after him with one of our available Dog Stations!

The dog park is a fun space for your furry friend to play and meet other pups! Make your stay at Boo Boo’s Buddies Dog Park a positive one with these tips! Adhering to this advice will ensure your best friend is the most pupular pooch in the park!

Recreation Manager, Ryan McGrail, Receives the Director’s Award for Employee Appreciation Week

Ryan McGrail, the recreation manager for the Community Services Department, was awarded the Director’s Award last month when the City celebrated Employee Appreciation Week.

The Director’s Award is given to an outstanding individual who embodies excellence in a department. Ryan is this year’s winner because of his phenomenal work leading his team during unprecedented times.

Ryan McGrail has been with the City for over 20 years and manages an innovative team responsible for Fitness and Performance, Aquatics, Membership Services, Guest Services, Programs, and Athletics. Throughout the last year, Ryan and his team have been quick to adapt to continue providing the Southlake community with top recreational services. He is welcoming to all community members, a great mentor to staff, and always keeps customer service top of mind.

“Ryan’s commitment to meeting expectations and making sure the job is done right is just really second to none. He is one of those guys who has ‘it.’ He has the ability and mental stamina to see that everything gets taken care of and meets expectations. That is what makes him extraordinary,” stated Community Services Director Chris Tribble. When asked to describe Ryan in one word, Chris responded that McGrail is “reliable.”

Congratulations on your well-deserved recognition, Ryan! Make sure to say hello to Ryan next time you visit Champions Club at The Marq Southlake.

Dianne Low, Office Assistant in the Parks Division of Community Services, Wins Customer Service Award

Dianne Low, office assistant for the Parks Division of Community Services, was awarded the Kristin Pitzinger Customer Service Award during Employee Appreciation Week last month.

Dianne won this award because of her world-class customer service and willingness to find a solution for residents and teammates. When Dianne takes calls from residents on lost items, she always follows up on their behalf. She works with various associations to coordinate scheduling, making key fobs, and setting up reservations for parks. Dianne collaborates with every teammate to ensure customer service lives up to Southlake Way.

Apart from her outstanding customer service, Dianne’s commitment to excellence is unsurpassed. She continuously ensures that the Parks department runs efficiently by providing support in every aspect of the division. This includes following proper purchasing procedures, balancing monthly expenditures, paying vendor invoices promptly, updating the team on how to use new programs, and being the go-to IT guru!

Dianne is a self-starter. If she doesn’t know how to fix something, she’ll teach herself and make a manual for the team to reference. She is a vital part of Southlake’s excellent parks system.

Congratulations on your award, Dianne! We are so glad to have such a committed team player like you on our side!

Meet World Class Employee Arianna Esparza

In Southlake, we strive for perfection and to exceed expectations by delivering world class experiences. That’s why we hire world class employees to deliver services with a smile!

Meet Arianna Esparza. She is a recreation attendant with the Community Services Department.

Esparza has been working for the City of Southlake for about a year in the Recreation Division of Community Services, specifically with Athletics and Programs.

She assists and helps to facilitate premiere programs such as Camp Mania Kids, Club Metro and the athletic leagues.

Working with kids and seniors during COVID-19 has its challenges, but Esparza is up for the task.

She helps to enforce safety measures, so everyone is safe.

“We clean all the chairs, we make sure everybody is good to go. They have hand sanitizer, make sure referees get them and make sure all the parents have masks on before they’re sitting down and spread out,” Esparza said.

While safety is her main priority, her most valuable contribution to her job is brightening up someone’s day.

“The one thing that I enjoy most about my job is coming into work and knowing that if a kid is having a bad day, I can make that day completely different than what they had at school or at home. They can be open with me and talk to me about anything they would like to talk to me about,” she said.

Like many jobs, rewards are often given in different formats. For Esparza, it’s the opportunities.

“I love all the opportunities I get. I can be in different things like Club Metro. It’s probably one of the most amazing things because you get to see all of their smiling faces. I remember the first day they came back, they were all so excited to be here and that’s a joy that makes you happy to be there too,” Esparza said.

 

 

Town Square Mural Project – I Believe in Southlake

Community Services Director Chris Tribble presented a first look at the Town Square Mural Project at the August 18 City Council meeting.

With recent changes to the economy due to COVID-19, businesses had to adjust to new challenges with decreases to customer volume and how to serve their customers.

“Several months ago, when we first started talking about the economic recovery of Southlake and doing some initiatives to help our businesses… one of the things we’d talked about in particular is bringing people back to Town Square,” Mayor Laura Hill said during the meeting. “Since we already had the ‘I Believe in Southlake’ logo, I’d thought it would be really cool to paint on the side of one of our buildings.”

The mural titled, “I Believe in Southlake,” was designed by Graphics Coordinator Missy Saunders and includes beloved staples of the Southlake community and Texas. It will be the first of its kind as a part of any Southlake Public Art initiative. The painting, which is estimated to be 15 feet wide and 8.5 feet tall will be on display in Town Square.

The artwork will be painted by artist Liz Bonham and is scheduled to be completed Fall 2020, weather permitting.

This initiative is also part of the Arts Master Plan, which includes creating engaging public spaces that stimulate discussion, cultivate patrons of the arts and celebrate the history of Southlake while continuing to integrate art into the daily lives of residents and visitors.

Southlake MVPs Keepin’ It Clean

Quietly, with no fanfare, one group of employees is working hard to make a significant impact during these interesting times.

Southlake’s facilities team, custodians, and purchasing manager are working together to ensure that city buildings are white-glove clean and properly disinfected for safety. Like most behind-the-scenes players, these employees aren’t usually the first ones noticed, but they are incredibly valuable for making City operations run smoothly.

“City buildings will be opening to the public soon,” said Assistant City Manager Ben Thatcher. “This group of employees are working on the front lines to make it possible.”

In addition to increased site cleaning in anticipation of reopening, the team is working to reduce touchpoints, purchase adequate supplies, and disinfect areas of frequent use by employees and the public, including areas in Town Square parking garages.

“There has and will continue to be cleaning and disinfection of light switches, doorknobs, push plates, handrails, elevator buttons, and drawer handles,” notes Public Works Director Rob Cohen.

The team will also make sure doors remain open, as possible, horizontal surfaces are continually cleaned, and food and common areas are downsized and cleaned according to established regimens and schedules. A contracted cleaning company will continue to clean on a weekly basis.

Facilities employees spearhead the procurement of cleaning supplies for the city and manage the disinfection contract for the city.  They do this while also performing normal custodial duties and performing corrective and preventive maintenance work for our facilities,” said Cohen. He also pointed out that staff is also busy making sure that sneeze guards have been installed at specific locations and that hand sanitizing stations are readily available.

At The Marq, the custodial team is busy preparing for reopening, as well.  With 110,000 square feet, 16 bathrooms, locker rooms, two elevators, counters, equipment, tables and chairs, doors, railings, and other surfaces, it’s a big job.

“Our work is very customer-centric,” said Chris Tribble, Director of Community Services. “Our facilities staff is absolutely committed to maintaining Legends Hall and Champions Club for customer and employee safety.”

Southlake’s MVP cleaning teams include Carmelita Goen, Sarah Cooper, Justin Bourquin, Andrew Merrick, Juan Sanchez, David Aguayo, Dustin Medlen, Adam Whigham, and John Rodriguez. Superstar Purchasing Manager Tim Slifka rounds out the team, ensuring that certain supplies and equipment are available for the team’s use.

Southlake Wins TRAPS Promotions and Marketing Award for Champions Club

The Southlake Community Services Department is a Texas Recreation and Park Society (TRAPS) 2020 Promotions and Marketing Award winner.

The team won for their efforts in promoting the 2019 opening and membership drive for Champions Club at The Marq Southlake.

Community Services Director Chris Tribble is excited The Marq Southlake team is being recognized for its efforts.

“Opening the doors to a new building is always a big job, and I am so proud to be a part of a team that was able to welcome all of our new Champions Club members with open arms,” Tribble stated. “We love seeing people learn about and enjoy the new facility.”

Jennifer Oaks, with the TRAPS awards committee, noted that “Your nomination stood out above the rest to exemplify commitment and dedication in the field of recreation. We are honored to present this award to you.”

Are you interested in learning more about Champions Club at The Marq?  Visit us at www.ChampionsClubSouthlake.com for more information.