Sunday, May 29, 2022

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.

Cross Timbers Forest Preschool- Meet the Teacher

Spring is in full swing at the Bob Jones Nature Center, and there’s nothing better than our award-winning Cross Timbers Forest Preschool!

Cross Timbers Forest Preschool is a unique early education opportunity in Southlake. The Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve is not only a fantastic home for wildlife but an immersive outdoor classroom. Inquisitive toddlers spend over 80% of their day outside learning about our local environment through hands-on exploration. Forest Preschoolers are no strangers to hikes, critters, and respecting nature, and that’s largely thanks to our world-class teachers at the Nature Center.

This semester, our fearless Forest Preschool leader is Delaney Garcia! Delaney is the new Lead Teacher at Forest Preschool, and she brings a wealth of knowledge and compassion to the job.

“Delaney is incredibly kind, sweet, hardworking, and passionate. I am so grateful for her and love dreaming up program ideas together. She makes me excited about our programs because she is very invested in them. She puts her whole heart into everything she does. She is loved by staff, preschoolers, campers, and families alike!” exclaimed Nature Center Supervisor Hannah Nyquist.

Let’s get to know the Forest Preschool Lead Teacher a little better.

When did you start working for the Community Services Department?
I started working for Southlake in December of 2019 as an Athletic Recreation Attendant.

What are you most looking forward to in Forest Preschool?
I am most looking forward to teaching so many different kids about the importance of a nature preserve and all the diverse animals that call the Nature Center home.

What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time, I like to go to the zoo as much as I can. When I’m not at the zoo, I like to paint.

What do you wish more people knew about the Nature Center?
I wish people knew more about the history of Bob Jones Nature Center! I learn something new every day, and I encourage everyone who visits the Nature Center to read about Bob Jones.

Cross Timbers Forest Preschool meets Tuesday-Friday mornings from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Keep an eye out for upcoming summer opportunities and fall registration!

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!

Getting Footloose at The Senior Activity Center

Swing your partner round and round and mosey on over to the Senior Activity Center for Line Dancing!

Line Dancing made a comeback to the Southlake Senior Activity Center this June. Every Monday at 11:00 AM SAC members gather to partake in this fun, low impact, and healthy activity for those that love to dance. Seniors Line Dancing teaches members the different steps of line dancing while guaranteeing a hopping time.

It’s no secret that dancing is a fun pastime for those that feel the rhythm; however, it is also a fantastic exercise for seniors to do. There is a myriad of health benefits to dancing in your golden years.

Not only does dancing get you moving in a low impact way, but it is also a great social activity. We all know that our Southlake Seniors love being social, so we are happy to provide multiple social opportunities for the senior community.

Not only does dancing provide a fun social opportunity, but it also has many health benefits. These include improving mobility, strength, and balance, reducing muscle pain, minimizing stress and anxiety, and maintaining good heart and cardiovascular health.

With all the benefits associated with dancing, no wonder these classes have been filling up quickly! Make sure to keep up with the Senior Center Webpage to stay on top of all the activities available this summer! Register for an activity at the Senior Center here. 

Kids Learn to Cook with the Chefsville Pre-K Cooking Class

Nothing like the smell of your favorite food cooking in the kitchen to bring back memories.

The Community Services Department aims to create lifelong memories for your family, and the Chefsville Pre-K Cooking Class is no exception! This innovative new program introduces kids to the world of cooking by teaching them fundamental life skills like kitchen safety and how to complete a recipe. Participants use simple math, explore world culture, and put their fine motor skills to use while creating a tasty treat to enjoy with friends.

Teaching young children to cook is crucial to creating healthy life-long habits. Children who participate in the kitchen contribute to the family chores and are also more likely to develop healthy eating patterns throughout their life. Introducing kids to cooking is a delicious way to bond with the family, pass down traditions, and explore creativity.

The Community Services Department always seeks to provide quality programming for community members of all ages. If your child enjoyed this program, don’t miss out other opportunities to instill a love of cooking in your little one. More Chefsville Pre-K Cooking Classes will be available on May 4 and May 18. We won’t let the young kids have all the fun, however! Check out the Teen IncrEDIBLES Cooking Class for ages 12-16 on May 1 and May 15. Learning to cook can be a family affair! Click here to register.

Make sure to keep an eye out on our website and social media pages to stay on top of all our upcoming events. We’re constantly cooking up new ways to bring a smile to your face. Bon Appetit!

Santa Needs Some Holiday Help!

Christmas time will be here before we know it, and Santa is looking for some extra help to make presents!

Santa’s Little Helpers will spend some time making special gifts for those extra special people in their lives, listen to holiday music, play some Christmas games and make new friends. Sign up today and join the fun! This class is open to ages 3-5.

Santa’s Little Helpers

When: Saturday, December 14, 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Where: Champions Club, Hall of Fame 1-3
Member Fee: $14
Non-Member Fee: $18

Register here.

Preview Winter/Spring 2020 Programming in the Experience Southlake Magazine

The Experience Southlake Magazine is your family’s seasonal guide to all the fun things happening in Southlake Community Services including programs, classes, events, and more!

Inside this issue, you’ll find information about our Winter/Spring 2020 Parks and Recreation programming, including:

  • Youth and family programs
  • Nature programs at the Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve
  • Cross Timbers Forest Preschool
  • Youth and adult athletics
  • Special events
  • Champions Club memberships
  • Fitness classes and personal training
  • Aquatics and swim lessons
  • Rentals and party packages
  • And more! 

Explore the Experience Southlake Magazine here.

Registration is now open! Get started here.

Program registration is carried out through ACTIVE Net. For step-by-step instructions for creating your ACTIVE Net account, visit this page.