Saturday, August 20, 2022

Thanks for Making Your Marq, Summer Volunteers!

Summer break is officially over, but we couldn’t let another day go by without thanking the incredible volunteers that spent their summer with the Community Services Department.

Our mission is to create world-class experiences, and our volunteer base helps us achieve that mission every day. The summer months are our busiest time as a department, and volunteers are crucial to providing outstanding recreational services. Our volunteers play a vital role in the Community Services Department, from serving as Volunteer Counselors at Summer Camp Mania, keeping Champions Club clean as we increase our membership, to sending Happy Birthday emails to our Senior Activity Center members,

We had a great volunteer turnout this summer. Our Community Services Volunteers worked over 1,700 volunteer hours equaling $43,000 of service. Thank you for the work you did running our Summer Camps, taking ownership of our Champions Club facility, and putting smiles on our seniors’ faces. Whether you put in 2 hours of work or over 100, your contribution made a difference.

We are so grateful to each volunteer that spent their time with us this summer. Your impact was felt, and we look forward to seeing you again here soon!

Are you interested in volunteering with the Community Services Department as well? Visit VolunteerSouthlake.com to learn how to get started!

That’s A Wrap on Summer Camp Mania 2022

The kids are back in school, but it wasn’t long ago that they were living their best lives at Summer Camp Mania!

Summer Camp Mania 2022 is officially in the books, but we wanted to take the time to showcase some of the highlights from the summer. With nine weeks of structured programming, Camp Mania returned with a bang this year.

Throughout the summer, we had 873 enthusiastic campers enrolled. These campers enjoyed a fantastic summer filled with incredible field trips, fun guest performances, friendly competitions, and much more!

Let’s take a look at some of this year’s highlights:

  • 9 Field trips including Medieval Times, Hawaiian Falls, Crayola Experience, and Alley Cats Hurst
  • Movie Mondays featuring beloved Disney films
  • Swim days every Friday at Champions Club with pizza and a shaved ice treat!
  • Weekly inflatables
  • Flag Football and Dodgeball competitions
  • Moana Hula performance
  • Petting Zoo!
  • Creature Teacher
  • A magician who made a kid float in mid-air!
  • Craft time to make magic potions, homemade play dough, slime, tie-dye shirts, and dot painting
  • Epic water gun and balloon fights with the staff
  • Over 900 hours of volunteer service from Junior Camp Counselors

Putting together a structured day camp that is both fun, educational, and unique is no easy feat; however, our Programs team rose to the challenge. Take a look at what some satisfied parents had to say:

“Very happy, my kids loved this camp! We’re new to the area so tried several out and they want to do this most of the summer next year. Convenient, reasonably priced and so fun. Thank you!”

“Staff was great and kids had a lot of fun. Much needed time during the day.”

Kids are happy. Variety of activities is nice, and excellent value for the money.”

“Amazing staff and such awesome activities and field trips!!!! I wish I had signed up for more than just one week this year!!!”

“My son had so much fun! Thanks for making his experience amazing!”

“My girls always have a blast!! Fun activities and really cool field trips!”

This summer will be one to remember. Not only did participants make friendships and life-long memories, but our staff developed professionally with each passing week. We can’t wait to go back to the drawing board and start planning an even better summer experience for next year.

If you can’t wait another year to return to Camp Mania, sign up for one of our upcoming Day Break or Holiday Break Camp Mania opportunities!

 

Two Southlake-Based Teams Made it to the 2022 Under the Lights Flag Football National Championships!

The Under Armour Under the Lights Flag Football program is one of our incredible Athletics programs available to our community.

Under the Lights Flag Football, powered by Under Armour, is a national youth flag football league for kids in K-8th grades. Fun is guaranteed, and they emphasize promoting a competitive, confidence-building, non-contact experience for boys and girls of all skill levels.

After a fun and challenging summer season, our teams headed to the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Our Flag Football teams competed in the 2022 Under the Lights Flag Football National Championships from July 22-24, 2022. Two of our Southlake teams took home the Championship Title this year.

The Miami Dolphins, coached by Ryan Aldridge, finished 7-1 in their Division and won the 3-4th Grade Playoffs in dominating fashion with a 35-0 win over the San Francisco 49’ers, a 42-7 win over the Dallas Cowboys, and a 41-6-win vs. the Baltimore Ravens in the Championship game.

The New England Patriots, coached by Doug Phillips, finished division play 8-0 and won their two games (after a first-round bye) 26-20 over the Las Vegas Raiders and 18-0 over the Dallas Cowboys in the Championship game.

We are proud of our Southlake-based teams for taking home the Championships this summer! The fun’s not over yet, however!

Registration for Fall 2022 Under the Lights, presented by Southlake, is now open for registration. The season runs from September 10- October 29, 2022. The playoffs will take place on November 5, 2022. Claim your spot before August 15. Register here!

Meet Jason: Programs Coordinator

There’s no shortage of innovative program opportunities in Southlake. Our recreation staff takes pride in providing world-class opportunities for Southlake residents to enjoy from our beloved Camp Mania, Club Metro, to PLAY in the Park!

No one is more prepared for the process of program ideation and execution than our excellent Program Coordinators. Jason Ellison is the newest face to join the Programs Team, and we couldn’t be more excited to have him on board. Jason has a passion for sports and recreation. He understands that giving back to the community is truly a life-long calling.

Here’s what you should know about our new Programs Coordinator:

What is your professional background?
Hello, my name is Jason Ellison. I’m from Kansas City, Missouri, and I moved to Texas in 2018 to study Recreation, Event, and Sports Management at the University of North Texas. I started working as a Site Director for the YMCA in 2019, where I learned I loved working with kids, whether it was in sports, camps, or after-school care.

What do you love most about Programs/ Parks and Recreation?
Honestly, I don’t know what’s not to love! Parks and Recreation is everything to me because I was in foster care when I was one to seven years old. Participating in programs and athletics kept me going. The reach and impact Parks and Recreation professionals have is outstanding. It can be the thing that holds communities together.

What are you most excited about for your new position?
I’m very excited about creating a new and higher standard of excellence for our programs than what was set by my predecessors, which is no small task! Southlake takes pride in delivering the best services possible and providing world-class experiences. I’m excited to help achieve that goal.

What is something people should know about you?
I love connecting with people, learning about them, and creating friendships!

What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time, I love watching sports, especially football and track. I also love DJing and Cooking. I’m known as the grill master! I also am a gamer, so add me if anybody has a PS5!

What can participants look forward to for future programs?
I would definitely say to lookout for new and innovative programs. The recreation and sports worlds are changing, and we have to find a way to bridge the gaps so our younger generation can learn and grow.

Welcome to the team, Jason! We know you’ll do an incredible job! Look out for Jason at Summer Camp Mania and say hi!

 

Get to Know Sabrina Pettrow, Programs Supervisor

It takes a special kind of passion and creativity to work in Parks and Recreation. You have to be committed to excellence when you’re a Programs Supervisor in charge of developing innovative and fun programs for a world-class community.

There’s a new addition to our world-class Community Services team—Sabrina Pettrow. Sabrina recently stepped into her new role as the Programs Supervisor for our department, and she hit the ground running. Joining us all the way from Southern California, Sabrina brings several years of recreational experience to the team.

Let’s get to know a little bit more about Sabrina.

What is your background and where are you coming from?
I was born and raised in Southern California and received my Bachelor’s and Master’s in Art History. I’m halfway through my second Master’s in Exercise Science and Wellness: Fitness and Performance. I worked in the family embroidery and screen-printing business for 10 years. I later worked for a few museums before getting plugged into municipal government at the Huntington Beach Art Center. While there, I coordinated the contract classes, summer camp, field trips, and events for about seven years. Last year, I transferred to another recreation center for the City of Huntington Beach. While there, I broadened my skills to include a wide range of contract classes, events, field management, and camp management.

What do you love most about Programs/ Parks and Recreation?
I love offering programs that provide an outlet, learning experience, or social occasion that leads to personal growth. It’s empowering to know that what we do positively impacts people of all ages!

What are you most excited about for your new position?
I’m most excited about program growth, new program development, and increasing participant satisfaction. Expanding programming opportunities is an exciting part of my new position. In addition, I love to develop people, meaning helping staff meet their goals and flourish both personally and professionally.

What is something people should know about you?
I’m a sci-fi fan. I grew up with Star Trek: The Next Generation, and I’ve even been to a Star Trek convention!

What do you like to do in your free time?
Exercise. I know it’s weird, but I feel better taking care of my body, mind, and spirit. Exercise helps me do that!

What can participants look forward to for summer camps?
This summer we are putting together an extraordinary line-up of field trips, waterslides/bounce houses, pool-time at Champions Club, fun crafts, and exciting on-site entertainment!

Welcome to our team, Sabrina! We can’t wait to see the world-class programs you’ll create for our residents. Make sure to say hi to Sabrina the next time you see her around Champions Club at The Marq.

Meet The New Athletics Supervisor, Jonathan Weeks!

Every true sports fan knows that there is no “I” in “team” and that teamwork is integral to bringing home the gold.

Our new Athletics Supervisor is no stranger to teamwork and commitment to excellence. Jonathan Weeks exemplifies our city values and brings a plethora of valuable Park and Recreation and Athletics experience to our department. We are thrilled to welcome this new member to our Community Services team.

Let’s get to know him a little bit better.

What is your Parks and Recreation career journey?
I began my Parks and Recreation journey as a summer camp counselor with the City of College Station. I was pursuing a B.S. in Sport Management at Texas A&M at the time. My boss and mentor, Mr. Lance Jackson, encouraged me to pursue a Master’s in Public Administration if I was serious about building my career in Parks and Rec. I obtained my MPA, with a focus on local government, at Ohio State University while interning with the Parks and Recreation Department at the City of Dublin. After graduating, I began my full-time career with the Town of Prosper, where I wore various different hats!

What do you love most about Athletics/ Parks and Recreation?
I love the personal interactions I get to have working in Parks and Recreation! We are often one of the most front-facing departments for our cities, and I take that responsibility very seriously. We also get to have a little fun while working, who wouldn’t like that!?

What are you most excited about for your new position?
Southlake has set a tradition of excellence, and I am thrilled to contribute to the world-class service we strive for every day! I am also excited to work with such a quality group of people to provide these services to the community of Southlake!

Tell us a fun fact about you.
You do not want to play me in Pickleball…Take that as you will!

What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to hang out with my lovely fiancé, Kelly, my dog, Miles, and my cat, Kevin! You can catch me at a sporting event, traveling, or playing video games when I’m not with my family!

What can participants look forward to for future athletic programs?
My goal is to provide safe, high-quality, and, most importantly, FUN programs and leagues for Southlake! We will strive to be innovative and creative in what we do while always keeping in mind the Southlake Way of excellence that our community rightfully expects.

Welcome to the team, Jonathan! We know you will hit it out of the park with your new position as the Athletics Supervisor for Community Services.

Spring is the Perfect Time to PLAY at the Park!

Texas winter is always up and down, but thankfully we are finally in Spring! There’s no better time to play at the park now that the weather is warming up.

Southlake boasts numerous gorgeous public parks, and there’s nothing better than getting outside and playing with friends. Our PLAY at the Park program is a great way to get your kids active outdoors. Each month, we’ll choose a different Southlake Park to explore on a beautiful Saturday.

Apart from the incredible scenery of our public parks, our staff will provide structured activities to create a fun-filled day for all participants. Games, activities, hiking trails, and open space will make this a day to remember. Participants receive a yummy lunch to keep them energized as they play outside!

Here’s a look at our upcoming PLAY at the Park outings:

  • Saturday, March 26 Liberty Park
  • Saturday, April 23 Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve
  • Saturday, May 28 Bicentennial Park

Claim your spot and get outside! Register here.

Janie Ocampo Wins the Community Services Director Award for Employee Appreciation Week

The Community Services Department consists of various world-class employees that help us create world-class experiences for our residents. This year, the employee that shone above the rest is Director Award recipient Janie Ocampo!

 

Janie Ocampo is one of two Office Assistants in our department and brings over ten years of knowledge and experience to her position. Super kind, resourceful, and patient, Janie keeps the department afloat as the department’s purchasing liaison, Adopt-A-Street program manager, and customer service specialist. Janie knows this department inside and out, and it’s apparent through her excellent internal and external customer service!

 

“Janie has a real positive attitude and demeanor that is contagious within our team,” stated Director Chris Tribble.

 

 “She has a genuine desire to serve our community, and she has a wealth of knowledge. Janie is the go-to person in our department for all different types of questions and bridges the gap across all the divisions in Community Services. Janie is the voice of the department. She’s the one that typically answers the phone and has all the answers for our customers. Janie understands every aspect of our operations, including all the policies and procedures that we need to follow, and she’s able to articulate that very well to all our customers.”

 

Janie keeps this department running with kindness and ease!

 

Congratulations on your well-deserved recognition, Janie!

Home Grown Staff: From Part-Time to Assistant Recreation Manager

Our mission at the Southlake Community Services department is to create life-long memories. Nobody embraces that mission more than our Assistant Recreation Manager, Amy Bennet.

Amy is no stranger to Parks and Recreation. A City of Southlake employee for 13 years, Amy plays a pivotal role in the success of the Community Services department. Amy’s career has prepared her to lead our department from running successful summer camp experiences to anticipating Champions Club members’ needs. Her compassionate leadership style and many years of experience created a departmental inside joke of “when Amy was a coordinator…” Community Services employees old and new know they can come to Amy for customer-minded solutions.

We spoke with Amy recently to learn more about her career with the City and her aspirations for the upcoming year. Here’s what she had to say:

When did you first join the department?
I joined the department in November of 2008 as a part-time Recreation Aid. My very first shift was Home for the Holidays!

What positions have you held?
Our part-time position titles are a little different now than when I started. I essentially began as a Recreation Attendant and was promoted to Recreation Specialist- Camp Mania (Camp Director) for two summers. At the end of my second summer in 2010, I moved into a full-time Recreation Coordinator role. I became Assistant Recreation Manager, a new position within the department in preparation for Champions Club, in the spring of 2017.

What’s your favorite part of your current role?
The team. I enjoy seeing new staff members come on board and helping them grow and develop. We have such an amazing team, and I am thankful to lead an outstanding group. I also love the fact that we are constantly pushing the bar to improve and be the best. That is something that has always been consistent with my positions in Southlake and one of the key reasons I’ve stayed. The City challenges its employees to provide world-class experiences in every facet of their role, and I enjoy the challenge!

Anything you look forward to in the next calendar year?
I look forward to the continued growth and success of Champions Club. We have lots of innovative Member Appreciation events planned for the upcoming year. It’s always fun to see what the team planned and how the members respond to it.

What do you like to do when not at work?
Anything outside! I love to be active, so I hike, bike, camp, run, kayak, and walk my dog, Cali. I have the goal to visit every State Park in Texas! I still have a lot left on the list, and Texas is a great big state to explore outside.

Thanks for sharing your career journey with us Amy! Keep up the world-class work!