Friday, August 19, 2022

We Rise Up for Parks and Rec: Meet your Parks Crews

It wouldn’t be Parks and Recreation without the incredible Parks team that keeps our award-winning parks system looking world-class!

Our Parks Crews rise for Parks and Rec as they are the early birds that get to work when many of us are still catching some zzzzs. In the heat of the summer months, our friends at Parks are up at 6:30 AM keeping our favorite outdoor gathering spots clean, green, and safe! In celebration of Park and Recreation Month, we want to take some time to highlight the incredible services our Parks Crews provide our community.

Our Parks team does a lot to serve our community. They manage over 1,100 park acres, including city-wide beautification, contract management, field maintenance, facility utilization agreements, event support, and working with our Athletic Associations. With only so many hours in a day, how does the Park team keep our City looking so beautiful?

The Parks Division focuses on the highest level of customer service to create a world-class experience by providing a safe, secure, and aesthetically beautiful parks system for all. Our staff consists of different Parks Crews organized by location and specialized skills. Each Crew oversees specific parks to ensure our residents create lifelong memories.

Here’s the breakdown of our incredible Parks Crews:

North Park, Bob Jones Park, and Bob Jones Nature Center Crew
You can find this team on the North side of town. You’ve experienced the dedication of this Crew if you’ve ever enjoyed a softball tournament at North Park, hiked the trails at the Bob Jones Nature Center, or taken your furry friend to Boo Boo’s Buddies Dog Park!

Bicentennial Park Crew
This Crew spends their days close to home in the largest community park in Southlake– Bicentennial Park! They take care of everything within this park, including the playground, Tennis Center, Liberty Gardens, and the soon-to-be Pickleball Complex.

Southlake Sports Complex, Neighborhood Parks, and Facilities Crew
Travel any direction in Southlake and you’ll run into this Parks Crew. This is the team in charge of the Southlake Sports Complex, Town Square Parks, and the plethora of neighborhood parks we have scattered across the City. Not only that, but this team also handles maintenance of the City’s decorative fountains, ponds, and pavilions!

Thank you to our incredible Parks professionals that keep our City looking beautiful. We rise up for this team because they rise up for us every day!

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!


Meet Roberto: Guest Services Supervisor

Champions Club members know that our staff is always ready to go above and beyond to create life-long memories for our guests.

When it comes to world-class customer service, Champions Club is ready to exceed expectations. Setting a high bar for a superior recreation and fitness experience is the priority of our new Guest Services Supervisor, Roberto Aldana. Roberto may be new to the Champions Club family, but he’s no stranger to Parks and Recreation and developing high-performance teams.

Let’s get to know him better.

What is your professional background?
I have a very diverse background which ranges from working in non-profits, Parks & Rec, and most recently, working as a training manager in the restaurant industry. I earned a bachelor’s in Psychology/Sociology and a Masters in Human Relations and Organizational Development with Employment Law.

What do you love most about Guest Services/ Parks and Recreation?
What I love most about Parks and Rec is the opportunity to serve your community. We are not just a recreation center or Department; we are a place where our community comes together, and I think that is very special.

What are you most excited about for your new position?
I am very excited to get to know our community! Our members are fantastic and play a significant role in making Champions Club what it is today. I’m also thrilled to work with the Southlake team. Everyone has a strong desire to deliver excellence in Southlake, and we hold each other accountable for it. The Southlake team has been extremely encouraging and supportive, and I am happy to be a part of it!

What is something people should know about you?
I am a very passionate and energetic individual with a drive to do the best I can every day… and I love coffee!

What do you like to do in your free time?
I spend my free time with my wife and our German Shephard, Bartolo Barkopolis. We love exploring new dog parks! If we’re not with our dog, you can catch us playing golf or going for a run.

Welcome to the team, Roberto! We look forward to seeing the positive impact you’ll have on our guests and members. Don’t forget to say hello to Roberto in person next time you’re in Champions Club!

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.

Home-Grown Staff: From Outdoor Experience Coordinator to Nature Center Supervisor!

It’s no secret that the Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve is one of the best places in Southlake. Those who have experienced the world-class programs offered at BJNCP know that Hannah Nyquist is the secret ingredient to the Nature Center’s programming success!

Hannah is the latest example of our incredible home-grown staff. She joined the Community Services Division as the Outdoor Experience Coordinator in June of 2019. In that role, Hannah spent most of her time at the Bob Jones Nature Center leading hikes, training staff, teaching preschool, being a camp counselor and director, and coordinating all the outdoor programs. Community-favorite events such as Forest Preschool, Nature Camp, the annual Monarch Butterfly Festival, Family Campouts, Community Hikes, and Adult Outdoor Education Classes were all coordinated by Hannah!

Hannah has accomplished major accolades since she arrived in Southlake. Her tenure as Outdoor Experience Coordinator exponentially increased enrollment numbers for Forest Preschool. They often canceled programs due to low enrollment when she first started. Now, registrations are so high they frequently have a waitlist! Hannah’s enthusiasm for the environment has cultivated a staff equally as passionate about the Nature Center and its offerings. Her hard work culminated in November when she received the Excellence in Programming Award from TRAPS North Region!

Earlier this month, Hannah stepped into her new role as the Nature Center Supervisor. As such, she will be responsible for managing a growing staff and extending outdoor programing opportunities to our community.

“Hannah has done a fantastic job over the past few years building relationships and outstanding programming opportunities for Southlake in her current role as the Nature Center Coordinator. Her hard work and dedication have helped position the nature center for further growth with this new facility. She will now continue her great work as the new Nature Center Supervisor!” exclaimed Director Chris Tribble.

Nothing makes us happier than watching our world-class staff grow and develop their career. As the new Nature Center Supervisor, Hannah has big plans! Her goals include improving trail system markers and maps, adding more community-based programs, and increasing community awareness of the Nature Center!

Congratulations on your promotion, Hannah! We can’t wait to see what you’ll do next!

Soheila Phelps Becomes Chairperson of the Leisure and Aging Branch of the Texas Recreation and Parks Society

The world-class staff that manages the award-winning Southlake Senior Activity Center are no strangers to commitment to excellence!

No one exhibits passion and dedication to our 55 and better community more than Senior Services Coordinator Soheila Phelps. Soheila leads the Senior Services team and is the brains behind the incredible programming offered to our members. Compassionate, kind, and creative, Soheila is taking her leadership skills to the next level as the most recently appointed Chairperson of the Leisure and Aging branch of the Texas Recreation and Parks Society (TRAPS).

Soheila officially took over this position at the TRAPS 2022 Institute and Expo in College Station last week. While there, she also had the honor of accepting the 2022 Lonestar Recreation Programming Class IV Award on behalf of the Southlake Senior Activity Center.

The goal of the Leisure and Aging branch is to enhance the offerings senior centers provide to aging communities throughout the state. The unexpected closure of various senior centers due to COVID transformed the regional Leisure and Aging branch into a state-wide group. The governing body of this organization consists of the Chairperson/ President, Vice-Chair/ President-Elect, and five representatives from each TRAPS region who oversee the different subcommittees. These individuals represent the interests of senior communities throughout the state. They also focus on innovating engaging programming to ensure our senior centers remain a valuable resource to our residents.

Soheila elevates the Southlake Senior Activity Center with her empathetic nature and servant-leadership and will do the same as the Chairperson of the TRAPS Leisure and Aging branch.

“I am looking forward to this challenge, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to give a louder voice to our seniors and aging community within TRAPS,” exclaimed Soheila.

Congratulations on this next step of your leadership journey, Soheila! You make Southlake proud, and we can’t wait to hear of the outstanding things you’ll continue to accomplish!


Meet Rebecca Priddy: Banquet Specialist at Legends Hall

Those who have attended an event at Legends Hall know that every single detail is world-class.

If you’ve ever wondered how the Legends Hall staff manages to pull off such perfect events, time after time, then look no further than Rebecca Priddy! Rebecca Priddy is the new Banquet Specialist at Legends Hall and is in charge of coordinating and executing flawless events such as weddings, conferences, executive parties, and more.

We recently sat down with Rebecca to get to know her a little better. Here’s what she had to say:

What is your professional background?
My professional background has varied over my career path as I took an extended time to stay home with my children. I have experience as an administrative assistant, executive secretary, office manager, educator, recreation leader, recreation and educational programs coordinator, and events coordinator. I have realized during my career journey how much I enjoy community services and events! It has become a passion of mine.

What are you most excited about for your new position?
I am most excited about assisting in coordinating world-class and memorable experiences for our clients and community. It is a joy and honor to be a part of these special celebrations in people’s lives. I am also excited to work for the City of Southlake, be a part of this beautiful facility, and work alongside a fabulous team!

What do you like to do in your spare time?
My family is very important to me. I spend my spare time with my husband, four kids (young adults), and grandson. My daughter is a competitive dancer on her high school drill team, so the fall season is full of Friday night lights! Spring is competition season which keeps us busy as we cheer on our girl and her team. I also enjoy being outdoors at our community trails and parks and cheering for my grandson at his soccer games. I love to host family and friends in our home and spend time with our church community.

What are you most looking forward to in 2022?
I am excited about growing in my new position at Legends Hall and look forward to all the beautiful events we will help create. I am also looking forward to celebrating my 50th birthday, KHS drill team Nationals at Disney, and my son’s wedding in August!

Welcome to the team, Rebecca! We look forward to seeing the beautiful events you help bring to life. Book a tour today if you are interested in celebrating your next life milestone at Legends Hall. Reserve your date by February 28, 2022, and receive 10% off our event packages!

Home Grown Staff: From Recreation Attendant to Aquatics Coordinator

There’s a new face making a splash at the Aquatics Center, and it’s Aquatics Coordinator Zack Miller!

Nothing makes us happier than celebrating our world-class employees, especially when we get to spotlight employees on the rise. Zack Miller may be new to the Aquatics Center, but he’s no stranger to Champions Club! Zack began his career with the Community Services department back in March of 2021. Members will recognize his smiling face when he greeted members at the front desk as a Recreation Attendant II. Always a vital part of the Champions Club family, you can now find Zack downstairs in the Aquatics Center!

Zack has an impressive Aquatics background. “My first job was teaching swim lessons, which I have done for over 8 years. I lifeguarded at various pools over the last 5 years, and I even taught Lifeguard courses and managed the waterfront activities for a Summer Camp!”

As the new Aquatics Coordinator, Zack is prepared to dive headfirst into his new role. There’s plenty to look forward to with the new year and a new position. Miller stated that he’s excited to “learn new things and create high-quality programs and experiences for our community.”

Aquatics services are crucial to any world-class Parks and Recreation Department. The Aquatics Center at The Marq Southlake does not disappoint. From Learn to Swim Lessons, Preschool Water Play, to private swim classes, the Aquatics Center has it all. Access to these services has benefits that reach beyond recreational and relaxation purposes. “Learning to swim builds self-confidence that can propel you to succeed in overcoming any challenge you face,” stated Zack.

Zack enjoys traveling to the mountains to hike and ski when not at work. Congratulations on the new job, Zack! Stop and say hello to Zack next time you are in the Aquatics Center.