MRPA Minnesota Magazine Winter 2017

Page 1

MINNESOTA Official Publication of Minnesota Recreation and Park Association

Recreation and Parks Volume 12, Issue 1 • Winter 2017

Special Event Buyer’s Guide


Recreation for All

s r o i rr

Aquatics Program Options

U.G.L.Y. Sweater Dash in St. Louis Park

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park Minneapolis, Minn.

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MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks

Publisher Minnesota Recreation and Park Association 200 Charles Street NE, Fridley, MN 55432 Tel: 763.571.1305 Editorial Staff Michelle J. Snider Bethani Gerhard Editorial Board Patty Anderson, Maple Grove Jan Ficken, Brooklyn Park Jennifer Fink, Ramsey County Chad Ubl, Winona Advertising & Design Pernsteiner Creative Group, MRPA Board of Directors 2016 President: Mary Jo Knudson, Owatonna President-Elect: Patty Anderson, Maple Grove Past President: Jay Lotthammer, Eden Prairie Secretary: Michelle Margo, Brooklyn Park Treasurer: Randy Distad, Farmington RSC Chair: Jerry Ruegemer, Chanhassen East Metro: Garrett Beck, Burnsville East Metro: Andy Soltvedt, Anoka County East Metro: Jared Flewellen, Eagan Northeast Region: Jamie Cassidy, Becker Northwest Region: Dolf Moon, Hutchinson Southern Region: Kim Underwood, Austin West Metro: Jamie Polley, Shakopee West Metro: Kelly Mertes, Brooklyn Center West Metro: Sonya Rippe, Plymouth This magazine is the official quarterly publication of Minnesota Recreation and Park Association and is provided complimentary to members as part of their MRPA membership. The editorial board encourages the submission of articles and photos for publication. Articles of approximately 500-700 words or less may be submitted, but may be edited for length and clarity. Contact Michelle Snider, MRPA, at 763.571.1305 x100 if interested in submitting an article for a future issue.

Deadlines for Articles and Advertising Spring 2017 Issue............................... March 10 Summer 2017 issue................................May 13 Fall 2017 issue......................................... July 30 Winter 2018 issue....................... December 10 MRPA reserves the right to approve all submitted advertising in MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks magazine. All requests for advertising should be made to Todd Pernsteiner, Account Manager, at 952.841.1111 or An affiliate of National Recreation and Park Association


Happy New Year! I’ve been talking about finding your super hero this past year, and I hope you’ve found yours! We can’t all be super heroes all the time, but even if we take off and fly just every so often it’s well worth the effort! I truly can’t believe how fast this year has gone! I want to use my last article to take a look at 2016 and some of our super hero moments as an association. I can’t think of a better way to start the year, than with the Annual General Meeting and Awards Luncheon…what a great time that is to recognize the accomplishments of our professional members and organizations. It gives us a time of reflection for successes and a vision of what’s ahead. The board set an aggressive work plan for 2016, focusing on strategic plan areas. In 2016 we chose to focus on Education #3, #6 and #7; Optimize #3 and #6; and Lead #3. I know that our incoming MRPA President, Patty Anderson has great aspirations for the strategic plan to remain a living, active document! Thirteen agencies in Greater Minnesota saw the start of the National Council On Aging grants. This project began in 2015, and came to fruition this year. I’ve heard many positive comments about Aging Mastery Programs that are running. The legislative platform impacts all of the recreation profession. Thank you to Boe Carlson for being so diligent with this committee and working with our lobbyist. Whether we see the outcomes we hope for or not, it is so very important that issues affecting us are monitored. It takes special knowledge and know-how to be effective in keeping tabs on the legislature and it’s not a skill all of us possess. (Hint: keep an eye out for a Legislature 101 workshop coming in 2017.) On the financial end of things, 2016 included a squeaky-clean audit; restructured financial reports and budget formats; formation of a Finance Committee to monitor the investment portfolio and a few donations from MRPA retirees! I feel as a Board, one of our true super hero moments came when we had our first brainstorming session regarding MRPA’s core values. This was a time we got to really look at everything that’s good in our profession and the work we do! Results of this session were introduced to the membership at the fall conference, and this discussion continues, as we hope to adopt the updated core values in early 2017. Continued on page 4…

TABLE OF CONTENTS From the Board President............................ 3

Club Sk8........................................................ 13

Foundation Corner........................................ 5

Aquatics Program Options......................... 14

Keeping Up..................................................... 6

Ninja Warriors.............................................. 16

MRPA Flashback............................................. 9

Recreation for All......................................... 18

MRPA in Action............................................ 11

Ugly Sweater Dash....................................... 19

Meet Katie Kaufman.................................... 11

Special Event Buyers Guide....................... 20

Did You Know............................................... 12

Winter 2017 • MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks 3

FROM THE BOARD PRESIDENT Continued from page 3 We’ve also had several conversations about growing our MRPA family. Board members were challenged to invite someone to become a member of MRPA, whether it be professional or corporate. This could include past members who haven’t been part of the MRPA family in a while. Personal invitations are definitely a nice way to become involved! Speaking of growing the MRPA family…let’s talk about the Young Professional and Student Network (YPSN). This initiative is based off of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) model, and is meant to inspire and engage young professionals and students to become and remain active in the field’s professional organizations. YPSN has monthly conference calls, and two planned in-person networking meetings each year. Thanks to John Stutzman for starting this initiative! And speaking of young professionals…congratulations to our ERLI 1 graduates! The Emerging Recreation Leaders Institute finished up mid-December. This six-session program covered a vast array of recreation topics and insight from some of our most seasoned veterans and the best in our business! What a year of accomplishments and new beginnings! And 2017 looks to be just as exciting, with the Athletic Management

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Network starting up in January, new information coming out regarding swim lesson and lifeguard options, new trainings and roundtables, and of course the MRPA 80th Anniversary with the Annual Conference being held at Cragun’s Resort in Brainerd! I have been honored and humbled to serve as your MRPA President this past year. I consider myself lucky to have been able to meet and work with so many members across the state! I have a myriad of people to thank for this great year! Corky Ebeling, thank you for allowing me the time away to take part in this great adventure. Jay Lotthammer and Randy Distad, who have attended their last meetings, thank you for your leadership and time served on the board. Thank you to Patty Anderson for taking on the position of President, you will do an excellent job! Thank you to all who served in a section, on a committee or worked with a network. Thank you to professional members, corporate members and sponsors. Thank you to the Minnesota Recreation and Park Foundation for your continued support. And finally, nothing can be accomplished without the talented recreation professionals that are the MRPA staff, Michelle Snider, Deb Weinreis, Troy Mickelson and Bethani Gerhard.


Minnesota Recreation and Park Foundation Updates by John Stutzman, CPRP, Minnesota Recreation and Park Foundation Vice President On behalf of the MRPF Board of Trustees we would like to wish all MRPF and MRPA members a happy and safe 2017! The Minnesota Recreation and Park Foundation is a non-profit organization and guided by the Board of Trustees who provide direction for our educational and networking opportunities, programs, grants, student and continuing education scholarships, and the continued support of the Minnesota Recreation and Park Association. For more information regarding MRPF’s membership benefits, please contact MRPF President Nate Rosa at DID YOU KNOW…the Minnesota Recreation and Park Foundation… • 2017 membership drive wrapped up at the Annual General Meeting on January 10 with many new memberships processed. As part of the membership drive, MRPF is thrilled to award a couple members with a free registration to the 2017 MRPA Annual Conference at Cragun’s Resort in Brainerd. Didn’t get your membership submitted yet? Membership is only $25 (retirees $20, students $10) and is a tax deductible donation? Contact Nicole Gorman at NGorman@ for more information on becoming a member today!

• Awarded Amy Markle, a member from the City of Richfield, a $1,000 scholarship to help her as she pursues her graduate degree?

• Completed the election for four board positions to serve a three year term (2017-2019) in December of 2016? The incoming Board members are Marcia Bach, Brooke Burk, PhD, Jennifer Fink, and Nicole Gorman.

• Will help send a member to a national conference or training? MRPF strongly believes significant benefits are gained when members attend national training opportunities. The National Professional Development Grant offers $1,000 in financial assistance with the intent to inspire and expand the participation of members who would not otherwise have the opportunity to develop their leadership and experience the benefits and professional growth associated with attending a national conference or training. Detailed information will be available in February 2017.

• Awarded three, $1,000 student scholarships at the Annual General Meeting to students from Minnesota State University, Mankato: Greta Wintersteen and Winona State University: Kayleen Berwich and Emily Jensrude? Thank you to scholarship sponsor partners: Fran Callahan Memorial, Flagship Recreation, and Hiway Federal Credit Union.

• One-time financial contributions of any amount may be made to MRPF? In December 2016 the Francis Callahan Family Trust made a contribution to the Minnesota Recreation and Park Foundation in the amount of $100,000! The MRPF Board of Trustees would like to extend a HUGE thank you to the Callahan Family for this extraordinary gift!

MRPF Student Scholarship Recipients: Where are they now? Kayla (Altmann) Campbell: 2012 Recipient As a senior at Minnesota State University Mankato (MSU) pursuing her degree in recreation, parks and leisure services with emphases in leisure planning and management and therapeutic recreation, Kayla was presented with a 2012 MRPF student scholarship. In August of 2013, she completed the final graduation requirement with a successful internship at the Pathstone Living Facility, where she served as a recreation aide in the geriatric, memory care, and rehabilitation units, and was officially declared a MSU graduate. Shortly after the completion of her internship, Kayla was hired as a recreation program assistant at the Minnesota Security Hospital where she continues to work today. 2016 was an exciting year for Kayla, starting in April when she received a promotion at work to the position recreation therapist. In her new position, she is responsible for the development and implementation of leisure and recreational programs for her patients. The programs under her supervision help patients address their social, leisure, and physical strengths, encouraged independence, and teach constructive use of leisure time and hobby development. Eight months after the excitement of a promotion, 2016 presented Kayla with another life changing event as she celebrated her new marriage on December 17. MRPF is excited to watch Kayla’s 2017 endeavors and all the future has in store for her!

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Winter 2017 • MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks 5

KEEPING UP Mark McQuillan Retires as the Parks Superintendent for the City of Mankato Mark McQuillan’s first exposure to the recreation field was in 1968 when he had his first job as grounds crew for St. Paul’s Midway Stadium. “It was a great summer job,” states McQuillan. “Most of my time was spent grooming infields, painting foul lines, cleaning the grandstand after games and sometimes operating the manual scoreboard. In the fall, I got to kick and throw a football around with some of Minnesota Vikings players as they warmed up for practice.” A few years later, he worked as a warming house attendant in Maplewood for Bruce Anderson. “While sitting in his office, I noticed a MRPA job posting,” he states. “I was astounded that one could make a living coordinating recreation programs and activities. Bruce was very helpful in providing advice on which classes to take at the U of M and how to enroll into parks and recreation. Of course, that advice wasn’t free, I had to work for Bruce during the summer. I shamelessly agreed without regret.” Seventeen years later he returned to the U of M to pursue his master’s degree in parks and recreation with an emphasis in community planning. In 1980, he landed his first full-time job as recreation program supervisor for Shakopee Community Services for George Muenchow. “Besides recreation programming, I was charged with programming adult education and parenting classes for community education,” he adds. “Years later, I served as the director of parks and recreation and natural resources. The City went into a different direction in the mid-2000s and my position was eliminated.” After spending eight years in the private sector, McQuillan returned to the field as the superintendent of parks for the City of Mankato. “It’s a great community with so many local leisure opportunities for its residents,” he says. “I really enjoyed my stay in Mankato and I will cherish the many friendships I made through SMRPA as well.” McQuillan became a student member of MRPA in 1975 and attended the MRPA Annual Conference and volunteered when help was needed. As a young professional, he states that his involvement with MRPA was quite extensive. In the early 1980s, he chaired the summer playground leadership training, directed a total of 17 USSSA state and district softball tournaments, chaired the membership and awards committees, served on the legislative committee, was program chair for the 1997 Annual Conference, and chaired the conference logistics committee in 2015.

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“We all know it takes a special person to be the spouse of someone who works in parks and recreation. The long and crazy hours we put into our jobs can make life challenging, but also rewarding.” — Mark McQuillan “I am humbled to have received from MRPA the Jack Niles Award, three Meritorious Service Awards, an Award of Excellence for the Shakopee Showcase and the Joe Schleper Baseball Stadium Project,” he states. “I was also named as a co-recipient of the American Society of Landscape Architecture Honor Award for Public Planning for Land Use Classification Study of Northern Scott County.” McQuillan adds that being a member of MRPA has afforded him many opportunities to expand his knowledge of the field, to network with people and to enjoy the camaraderie of his colleagues. “We all share the same thing,” he says. “We have the best job in America. MRPA has allowed us to nurture the skills we have and to develop new skills to bring back to our job and community. There were many people who greatly influenced my career. People like Dick Jorgenson, George Muenchow, Clif French, Bruce Anderson, Frank Rog, Harvey Feldman, and Richard Wilson. That generation of park and recreation leaders were, in my opinion, the true pioneers of the modern leisure delivery system in Minnesota. Their influence is still evident today.” The most influential person in his career has been his wife Dawn. “She has always been supportive of my work and often would assist me in checking teams at tournaments and leading craft projects,” he says. “We all know it takes a special person to be the spouse of someone who works in parks and recreation. The long and crazy hours we put into our jobs can make life challenging, but also rewarding.” As a retiree, McQuillan intends to spend more time playing his weekly handball matches, curling a couple days a week, and playing softball. “I will continue serving on the Shakopee Planning Commission, travel and do some volunteer work,” he adds. “My wife intends to retire in a few years so I better get all my goofing off done before that time comes!”

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KEEPING UP Jayne Miller Elected to the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration Jayne Miller, superintendent of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB), has been elected to the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration. Miller was inducted at the Academy’s annual meeting during the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) conference in October 2016 which was held in St. Louis, Missouri. The Academy is a group of distinguished practitioners and educators in the field of parks and recreation. These leaders demonstrate outstanding ability in administration, management or education in the profession. They display broad interest with a direct service benefit to the advancement of public parks and recreation, and a keen desire to contribute to the advancement of the field. Established in 1980, the Academy is limited to 125 active members. It was formed to advance knowledge related to the administration of recreation and parks; encourage scholarly efforts by both practitioners and educators to enhance the practice of park and recreation administration; promote broader public understanding of the importance of parks and recreation to the public good; and conduct research, publish scholarly papers and/or sponsor seminars related to the advancement of park and recreation administration. More information on the Academy is available at

As superintendent of the MPRB, Miller is responsible for high-level oversight and leadership of Minneapolis’ nationally renowned park system, along with more than 2,000 full- and part-time employees and an annual budget of some $98 million. The MPRB is one of 141 park agencies in the United States accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies. In 2016 it was selected as a finalist for NRPA’s Gold Medal Award, which recognizes park and recreation agencies that demonstrate excellence in long-range planning, resource management and innovative approaches to delivering superb park and recreation services with fiscally sound business practices. MPRB was also recognized by the Trust for Public Land in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 as the #1 Urban Park System in the United States. Miller is committed to giving back professionally and personally. In addition to her new membership in the Academy, she serves as a board member of World Urban Parks, City Parks Alliance, Indiana University Executive Development Program, Sports Minneapolis, Meet Minneapolis, Minneapolis Urban League, and St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board. She is also a founding member of the editorial board for the journal Recreation, Parks, and Tourism in Public Health.

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Donna Tilsner Retires after 41 years in Parks and Recreation Tilsner has made an impact on MRPA throughout the years. She has been countless committees. “I have learned so much from my peers and I’m happy to share my time and talents with MRPA to keep our profession moving forward,” she states. “I feel it is so important for everyone to volunteer, and why not with MRPA? We have a great history and I hope we can all work to keep that vibrant.”

Donna Tilsner has worked in parks and recreation for 41 years, with the last 17 years being with the City of Edina. Tilsner retired at the end of November in 2016.

Tilsner has also spent a lot of time with Women in Leisure Services (WILS), both on the chapter level and the national level. She considers it to have been a great experience. She also has really enjoyed the opportunity to work at the University of Minnesota teaching a class in programming. “To share what and why we do what we do and help develop the next generation for workers is very rewarding,” Tilsner states. “I have given my time and talents and have gotten back much more than I have given. I am very proud of our profession and we all need to work to keep recreation front and center.”

Tilsner started working for the Edina Parks and Recreation Department as a recreation supervisor in 1999, after working for a few other cities. “My first years in Edina were really fun,” states Tilsner. “When I started here, we were pretty much an athleticbased organization. When I came, I asked, ‘Do we want more programs?’ And the director at the time thought that would be great. So, along with another recreation supervisor, we changed the playground program a little bit and had fun developing other programs and services. It was fun to get creative! Many of our programs were successful and are still running today,” said Tilsner.

In addition to her full-time job at the Edina Senior Center, Tilsner has also been a manager at the Minneapolis Jewish Community Center for 13 years where she works two nights a week and Sundays. “I am going to keep being a manager for the community center after I retire,” states Tilsner. “I like it. It’s pretty easy for me to do and it gives me a little structure so I’ll continue to do that. Besides cleaning all the rooms in my house and making exercise a priority, I don’t have many plans for retirement. I am open for retirement ideas from friends, and I have been keeping an eye out for volunteer opportunities.”

Tilsner enjoyed creating programs like the preschool playgrounds program, Fab Four and Five. She switched around that program a lot to make it flourish. Fab Four and Five participants enjoyed field trips, and the staff was better trained. Policies and procedures changed to improve the experience for all. Today, the community still enjoys events that she helped develop, such as Winter Neighborhood Night Out and Barnyard Boogie. In 2013, she moved her office to the Edina Senior Center where she continued to be a recreation supervisor. She has made some improvements to the programs and overall atmosphere of the center. “I noticed how some seniors had difficulty doing certain projects while others were bored by them,” she says. “So, I implemented classes and activities based on different levels of activity for seniors. I also started working with a travel company to set up new adventures for seniors who want to get out of town.” The travel group has gone to a brewery, Rochester, Chanhassen Dinner Theater and an Alpaca farm. She liked to pick places where seniors could learn something new, eat good food and shop. Tilsner has won several notable awards during her career, including the Mayor’s Community Involvement Commendation from the City of Edina, and the Helen I. Pontius Award from the National Women in Leisure Services (WILS). She was the recipient of two MRPA awards: the Dorothea Nelson Award in 1990, and the Clifton E. French Distinguished Award in 2011.

MRPA Events Calendar Certified Playground Safety Inspector Course March 8-10 Roseville MRPA State Women’s Volleyball Tournament March 11-12 Apple Valley MRPA State Men’s Volleyball Tournament March 12 Apple Valley MRPA State Basketball Tournament March 18-19 Minnetonka MRPA State Co-Rec Volleyball Tournament March 25 Minnetonka Minnesota Twins Parks and Recreation Days June 15 and 22 July 19 August 17 and 31 Target Field, Minneapolis

Winter 2017 • MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks 9

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This photo was taken during the 1997 Minnesota Recreation and Park Association’s State Boot Hockey Tournaments. There were 22 men’s teams that participated in the tournaments at Andrews Park in Champlin, January 18 –19, 1997. Boot hockey was one of the recreational sports offered through MPRA from the 1980s –2008.

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Insta Insta


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< Meet Katie Kaufman Originally Katie Kaufman, recreation specialist with the City of Brainerd, attended the University Wisconsin-La Crosse for physical therapy. “I did not excel or enjoy the classes required for that program,” states Kaufman. “So I changed my major to fitness, because I was a volleyball player and fitness was ingrained in me. But, I discovered I was less passionate about others’ fitness verses my own.”

Emerging Recreation Leaders Institute (ERLI) Congratulations to the 43 participants that finished the ERLI program on December 13, 2016. ERLI met a total of six sessions throughout the fall season. Thank you to the ERLI committee members Lisa Abernathy with the City of St. Louis Park and Reed Smidt with Woodbury Parks and Recreation. Also, thank you to our program partners: Flagship Recreation, Landscape Structures and the Minnesota Recreation and Park Foundation.

Winter Events and Safety Camp Workshop Twenty-one participants attended the Winter Events and Safety Camp Workshop on January 4 at the Springbrook Nature Center in Fridley. This workshop featured best practices for those who plan pre-school or youth safety camps, as well as senior safety camps. This workshop also provided in depth information on winter events, with speakers from the City of Chaska, the City of Fridley and the Minnesota Festival and Events Association. Thank you to Fridley Parks and Recreation for hosting the event. Also, thank you to committee members Janelle Crossfield from the City of Brooklyn Center, Margo Numedahl from the City of Fridley, Ali Lukin from the City of Lino Lakes, Stephanie Schutta from the City of Shoreview and Shari Kunza from the City of Blaine.

“Being a typical lost college student, I heard about recreation management,” explains Kaufman. “Not many of my friends were going into that field so I didn’t really know what to expect. I had a hard time believing it was an actual major. It seemed too good to be true.” Kaufman adds that in her first recreation management class, the instructor spoke about the value of parks and how important it was to recreate in daily life. He also said this career focuses on bringing leisure back to peoples’ lives, as it was a long time ago, before we became slaves to money. “I started to think who I was as a person and what my values were in life,” Kaufman says. “I came up with that I would be willing to work for less money, but in return gain self-worth and the reward of impacting many people in a positive way.” After graduating college, she volunteered, and interned in several different recreation organizations. “I wanted to escape the Twin Cities badly, preferably move north, so jobs were very few and far between,” Kaufman states. “Finally a job came up on the MRPA career list. I applied for the City of Brainerd recreation specialist position, and apparently I was ranked number seven out of eight to be interviewed. On paper I was a puppy, but since I chose to interview first apparently I was a tough pup to follow. Being the #1 choice out of the ‘litter’ so to speak.” Kaufman moved to Brainerd in -20 degree weather on January 3, 2014. “On my first day, my car actually didn’t start,” she says. “Thank goodness I had a friend to drive me to work. I will say that being transplanted into a city where I didn’t know a soul made it difficult at first. However, it has been an honor and privilege to gain the respect of my boss, my coworkers, and the community. Looking back, being able to achieve community respect from scratch has helped me gain confidence and self-worth. I get to work freely, creatively, and in a culture where I am accepted and respected. Relating back to my thoughts after learning about this career, it still feels like it’s too good to be true at times.” Kaufman has been a member of the MRPA for three years and says she has MRPA to thank for hearing about the position in Brainerd. “Since Brainerd is hosting the MRPA Annual Conference in 2017, learning what goes into hosting a conference has been highly educational and rewarding. The MRPA Annual Conference has helped me network with other recreation representatives within the state to see how they handle different and difficult situations, as well as new program implementation ideas.” MRPA members are the heart of our organization. They are involved and committed to advancing the parks and recreation programming. MRPA in Action is a new magazine feature which will highlight one section/committee and one professional per issue.

Winter 2017 • MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks 11

Did You Know… Minnesota,



Enriching Life. Inspiring C ommunit y. Minnesota Recreation and Park Association Did You Know (DYK) program agencies continue to implement the initiative throughout the state. Each magazine issue will highlight how a participating agency is using the program to provide education and advocacy for the community.

Fridley Parks and Recreation Fridley Parks and Recreation purchased the DYK toolkit a couple years ago and has placed the logo and facts into their brochures. The DYK program can assist your park and recreation agency with relaying your benefits to your community. The program can be used as much or as little as your agency wants to use it. The DYK committee has developed a starter toolkit to assist agencies with the program implementation. The toolkits contain facts, statement examples, ideas on how the statements are used and sample presentations. If your agency has not purchased the program and would like to know more about it, please contact Michelle Snider at and a training session for your agency or region can be arranged.

Current Minnesota “Did You Know” Participating Agencies • Albert Lea

• Burnsville

• Elk River

• Inver Grove

• New Ulm

• St. Louis Park


• Owatonna

• Shakopee • South

• Austin

• Carver County

• Faribault

• Becker

• Eagan

• Farmington

• LeSueur

• Prior Lake • Rochester • Rogers

• Bemidji

• Eden Prairie

• Fridley

• Minnetonka

• Brooklyn Park

• Edina

• Hutchinson

• New Brighton

Saint Paul • Willmar

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12 MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks •

Club Sk8 by Bethani Gerhard Minnesota Recreation and Park Association

Club Sk8 is open ice-skating with a twist. Skaters get to enjoy ice-skating under a disco ball with stage lighting and energetic music at the Eagan Civic Arena. It is fun for all ages. Club Sk8 is the newest addition to the arena. The City of Eagan’s staff was watching a downward trend in public ice-skating, both in numbers and enthusiasm. The Club Sk8 program was mirrored from a arena in Southern Chicago that brings entertainment and experience to ice skating in Minnesota.

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“This program took years of planning and investment to produce the proper equipment and lighting in order to create the atmosphere,” says Mark Vaughan, campus facilities manager for the City of Eagan. “With continued marketing and promotions – and growth – staff has noticed an increase in attendance of skaters, birthday parties and excitement added back to a public ice-skating event.” Vaughan added the City of Eagan’s staff is working on the second phase of the marketing plan that will continue to enhance the atmosphere. This will hopefully add to the grow of Club Sk8 and provide opportunties for families of all ages. “We are working next on a portable DJ booth,” states Vaughan. “This will be added for more interaction and potential live music. Our biggest constraint is ice time. We don’t have a lot of ice time for set-up and take down, so we are trying to make this as mobile as possible.” Vaughan said there was a significant cost of adding theater lights and a new sound system. “We used to download music from Apple and create play lists,” he states. “We are now installing our own radio station at the Eagan Civic Arena that will replace the current system.” According to Vaughan, ClubSk8 has been very successful and their ice-skating numbers have climbed in both open skate and birthday parties. “The biggest hurdle has been trying to explain to someone what ClubSk8 is all about,” he says. “The event sells itself, once they have experienced it!” The cost to attend Club Sk8 is $3.00 for students or youth and $4.00 for adults. It is $1.00 more expensive per person versus traditional open skate. Vaughan added the hope is to use the Club Sk8 name at other ice arenas throughout the state of Minnesota.

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by Steve Skinner, Apple Valley Parks and Recreation and MRPA Aquatics Section Chair The recreation industry provides aquatic programs and services in a wide variety of venues. From lakes and rivers to waterparks and wading pools, in both indoor and outdoor environments, our citizens learn to swim and dive, to paddle and navigate, to fish and surf. People love to recreate in and around water.

an unguarded beach becomes a guarded one for example, design to the higher standard. The Minnesota Department of Health has clear guidelines and required plan review and facility inspection before licensure can be approved.

The development of the safe aquatic facility begins before we break ground. The design of a facility can have a huge impact on how safe it is, as well as how cost effective that safety is. The design will dictate the kind of staffing that will be needed to reasonably supervise facility users, and that is turn is based on the extent to which your agency plans activities in the facility. An unguarded beach has a very different level of supervision than a water park for example. So when choosing the people to design and build your pool, make sure you know what level of supervision you want to provide, then begin the design process. If you think that level of supervision might change,

An authorized program provider designation can bring with it the gravitas and expertise associated with the agency that provides the designation. It is usually required if your agency will be providing services designed and supported by that agency. It is an agreement to provide programs to the standards of the larger organization.

At a variety of junctures, professional risk management services may be the best money that you can spend in the design And so we are charged with providing every user with the process as well as during operation. These professionals well planned and executed water safety program for each “The are well versed in what can go wrong and how best body of water we oversee. In selecting Water Safety service to avoid these potential tragedies. People who Services, we find a vibrant and varied landscape of provided to specialize in aquatic facilities are likely to be the potential providers able to meet some, many and the customers of best choice. even all of our needs. But since many of us have Starfish is exceptiona. not been exposed to most of the options, we Another area where the law requires a Questions have always may not have the information we need to clear distinction is in the daily operation been answered within a evaluate who best serves the needs of our of the facility. If the water quality is the business day, often times within particular agency. responsibility of the owner, in this case the hour. They really do want to your agency, then it is likely you will be So the MRPA Board has asked the provide you with a great experience. required to have trained staff to operate Aquatic Section to provide a basic They handled our many cross over the physical plant of the facility. Aquatic comparison of the options and an questions, with ease.” facility operations training is provided overview of what each of the services Jennifer Fink by several certifying agencies in the US. entails. The comparison can be found Recreation services supervisor, A public pool in the State of Minnesota is in the matrix included. The rest can be Ramsey County Parks and required to have a certified pool operator. The summarized into three categories. These Recreation record keeping of how the pool is maintained is are: Is the facility ready and safe to use, will the typically this person’s responsibility. These records are users be safe when they use our facility and if things required to be maintained and archived. Aquatic management do go wrong, who can help us sort it out. Below is a basic and operations personnel can advise on record keeping and breakdown of where the service fit in these categories. how it impacts litigation. And it is best to assume that a pool will Is the facility ready and safe to use? be litigated against at some point.

14 MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks •

Aquatic management is the other side of the operations equation, it is the daily operation and staff management that allows the facility to run smoothly and best serve the user. This includes staff training and development as well as best practices in daily operations and record keeping.

Will the users be safe when they use our facility? Ultimately aquatic facilities are made safe by educating users about the dangers of aquatic recreation and how best to avoid those hazards. Learn to swim programs and the accompanying swimming instructor training that underpin a good swimming lesson operation are one of the best investments in the long term health of users. Lifeguard training and the crucial lifeguard instructor training program that produce your staff are the foundation of your risk management practice in guarded facilities. If you want safe users, you need good lifeguards. Safety training and aquatic rescue programs are the outreach you can provide to your community to insure that when they are away from your supervision, they will know how to avoid danger and help others who need aid. Safety programs for boaters, scuba divers, fisherman, swimming and diving coaches, camp counselors and parents are just some of the populations that benefit from water

safety education and basic rescue knowledge.

If things do go wrong, who can help us sort it out? Audit services give you a defined framework and the skilled personnel to evaluate the performance of your program staff before an incident occurs. It can provide valuable input for improvement as well as the peace of mind that the staff really is ready for the worst situations they might face. Since many Lifeguards are young, it is essential that they be given opportunities to test their skills in the most realistic of condition without placing them in harm’s way. Their confidence and knowledge as well as your own will be improved by this rigorous testing. Accident investigation will hopefully not be needed, but it is advisable to know who and how this will occur if a tragic event happens in you facility. This, along with other forms of litigation support may define how well your agency fares when the burden of proof is put upon your agency in litigation.



Yes Full range of consulting services


Yes StarReviewTM

Yes AES, the Aquatic Examiner Service.



Yes Starfish SwimmingTM


Swimming Instructor Training



Aquatic Facility Operations Training

Yes AquaTechTM

No AES and Lifeguard Management online course would act as supplements.

Yes StarGuardTM/StarGuard EliteTM


Accident Investigation



Lifeguard Instructor Training



Safety Training and AquaticRescue

Yes S.T.A.R. Course


Aquatic Management

No Offered in 2017

Yes The Lifeguard Management Online Course would provide this.



Risk Management Services Audits

Authorized Program Provider Option Learn to Swim Program

Lifeguard Training

Litigation Support

Starfish Aquatics Institute American Red Cross Ellis International* *We did not receive information from Ellis by the time of print.

Winter 2017 • MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks 15

a j n Ni Warriors By Bethani Gerhard Minnesota Recreation and Park Association

Ninja Warriors is a fast trending new sport offered by Revolutionary Sports in communities across the metro. This "adventure course" offering has been part of their programming for many years, however, it only recently took off with the popularity of the show and the changing of the name to Ninja Warriors. “Ninja Warriors is a mental challenge course mixed with a little fitness,” states John Richardson, director of Revolutionary Sports. “We held the first camp during the summer of 2016 at Champions Hall Sport and Event Center in Eden Prairie and it really took off. From then on, we had more communities ask if we could come to them with this program. As long as kids have a little imagination and understanding that the obstacles on the show will be different in every environment, we have had repeated success bringing this offering to many different facilities.”

16 MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks •

Robbinsdale School District, New Hope Park and Recreation, and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board were the first partners to offer Ninja Warriors in their facilities. “Robbinsdale School District and New Hope Parks and Recreation sold out to an excess capacity crowd in the summer of 2016 when close to 100 participants ages 5-12 ran, jumped, crawled, hurled, and navigated through obstacles,” says Richardson. “Most obstacles were brought by RevSports coaches. However, it helps when sites have a few larger obstacles or pieces of equipment such as climbing walls, swinging ropes, crash pads that the obstacle course can build around.” In addition to the one-week summer camp in 2016, New Hope Parks and Recreation also had a one-day camp over MEA break in October. “The feedback was beyond great, and the turnout was phenomenal,” states Sarah Hansen, recreation coordinator with New Hope. “Kids had a blast. We also plan to offer a one-day camp over spring break in 2017.”

“Ninja Warriors is a mental challenge course mixed with a little fitness.” — John Richardson, director of Revolutionary Sports.

Just recently, a restaurant called Charlies on Prior approached Richardson about holding Ninja Warriors on Prior Lake during the winter. “The course will be a combination of Ninja Warriors and Crushed ice,” states Richardson. “Participants will participate in boots/shoes (no skates), and navigate through, around over and under obstacles. The event will be first of its kind and came from a community partner excited to create a festival that embraces Minnesota winter. In addition to the adventure course, will be other activities on the ice including dodgeball, basketball, wiffle ball, and more.” Revolutionary Sports, founded in 2001 has been providing staff for Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board programs since the beginning, and in 2016 RevSports will offer over 750 classes, camps, leagues and after school programs in the City of Minneapolis. RevSports started to expand metro-wide with partnerships. “Soccer, basketball, baseball, tennis and multi-sports are typically the most popular, with alternative programs like Ninja Warriors and Trampoline Sports trending fast,” states Richardson. “RevSports can offer program ideas for almost any space to a partner that has the audience.” If you’re interested in learning more about Ninja Warriors or any other RevSports program, please visit or contact John Richardson at

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Winter 2017 • MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks 17

Recreation for


Creating Connections through New and Alternative Programming

Story and photos by: Liz Wagoner, Saint Paul Parks and Recreation

Sports like basketball, football and baseball have long been mainstays at Saint Paul Parks and Recreation, but in recent years it’s youth soccer that tops our registration lists. So it’s hard to believe that just a few decades ago you would be hard-pressed to find a soccer field in Saint Paul.

of the nation’s best Tuj Lub and Kato players. The new courts will provide a permanent practice space for current players as well as an approachable place for newcomers to learn. Like outdoor basketball or tennis courts, the future Kato courts and the Tuj Lub courts will remain free and open to all.

Over the years we have seen many recreation options such as lacrosse, skate parks and disc golf transform from relative obscurity to a parks and recreation staple.

Another new recreation option recently added to our park system is GaGa ball. First appearing in the United States at Jewish summer camps during the 1970s, GaGa ball has since gained popularity among children and adults of all backgrounds. It is often considered a safer, more approachable version of dodgeball. The rules are simple and the game can easily be enjoyed regardless of a player’s athletic skill set.

As a progressive park system interested in promoting physical activity for all, we must continually evaluate our programming and facilities. Evolving and adapting our park system as interests and demographics change is essential to meeting the recreation needs of all residents. By following parks and recreation trends and carefully listening to the desires of our residents, we have been able to successfully add new and alternative programming to our park system. Working closely with members of Saint Paul’s Hmong community, we added Minnesota’s first Tuj Lub courts at Duluth and Case Recreation Center this past October. Tuj Lub – pronounced Too Loo – is a centuries old top spin game played by the Hmong community in Saint Paul for decades. Players hurl a wooden or plastic top using a string attached to a stick, or sometimes a sawed-off golf club, onto a long, narrow court. Gameplay and objectives change throughout the eight stages of the game, but knocking other tops off the court is the main theme. We are now working to add courts for another sport popular among Saint Paul’s more than 30,000 Hmong residents, as well as a growing number of Somali and Karen participants. Kato, also known as Sepak Takraw or kick volleyball, is a traditional Southeast Asian sport played over what looks like a lowered volleyball net, but requires players to use only feet, knees, head and chest when contacting the ball, similar to soccer. Tuj Lub and Kato have long been staples of the Hmong Freedom Celebration and Sports Tournament, or “J4”, as it is commonly referred to. Nearly four decades old, the event has been held at Saint Paul’s McMurray Athletic Fields and draws participants and spectators from around the country. Saint Paul is home to some 18 MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks •

GaGa is played inside an octagonal “GaGa pit” approximately twenty feet wide and three feet tall. Players underhand slap a light weight ball attempting to hit other players below the waist. Similar to dodgeball, players are out once they are hit with the ball; unlike dodgeball, holding or throwing the ball is not allowed. The fast paced game allows players who are out to return to the game by catching a ball that has been slapped out of the pit. The last player in the pit wins the game. The GaGa pit is portable and can easily be rotated throughout the park system. Added this past summer, GaGa was an immediate hit among youth, recreation center staff, and parents alike. Other recent additions to Saint Paul Parks and Recreation include footgolf, a game combining elements of soccer and golf, and bubble bump, a game where players wear a large protective bubble over their upper body while playing soccer. Continuously evolving and adapting our park system builds connections to Saint Paul’s many diverse populations, creating links to other programs and services and further strengthening the health and wellbeing of our community. By closely following the trends and changes within the recreation industry as well as keeping an open mind and open door to the needs of our residents, we are able to provide new and alternative programming and facilities that offer recreation opportunities that appeal to all of Saint Paul.


Participants don their cherished sweaters and enjoy a run that loops through Louisiana Oaks Park and the lighted trees of Oak Hill Park in St. Louis Park. — Lisa Abernathy

St. Louis Park recreation supervisor

By Bethani Gerhard Minnesota Recreation and Park Association

Every year during a brisk evening in December, you’ll find your share of ugly sweaters along the City of St. Louis Park trails. The recreation department holds their annual U.G.L.Y. Sweater Dash 5K event for families on the first Sunday evening in December. “Participants don their cherished sweaters and enjoy a run that loops through Louisiana Oaks Park and the lighted trees of Oak Hill Park in St. Louis Park,” says Lisa Abernathy, recreation supervisor for the City of St. Louis Park. “Participants receive a reusable goodie bag and a long sleeve t-shirt. New this year, was youth who participated received a stocking cap. Afterwards they warm up at Park Tavern with a free beverage, and a chance to win some great raffle prizes.” This was the third annual event with a record number of registrations. “The inaugural year of the 5K run in 2013 we had 100 runners/walkers,” says Abernathy. “Since then, it’s grown to between 200-250 runners/walkers.”

Abernathy says this event is made possible every year because of the help of the main sponsor, Park Tavern. “A special thank you to Discover St. Louis Park and Nordic Ware as well,” she adds. There has been great feedback from the U.G.L.Y. Sweater Dash, according to Abernathy. One participant responded the next morning on the City of St. Louis Park’s Facebook page: “Great event last night with the U.G.L.Y. Sweater 5K. Amazing event that was exceptionally well put together and a beautiful run through the neighborhoods and parks. Thank you!”

Fall 2014 • MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks 19

SPECIAL EVENT BUYER’S GUIDE Many of our members produce concerts, festivals and special events all year long. Here is a resource of vendors and entertainers who can help make your event run smoothly. This guide is produced in cooperation with Minnesota Festivals and Events Association (MNFEA).*

EVENT MANGEMENT Abijack Management, Inc. Atmosphere Events Fanfare Attractions LLC Mid-America Festivals MJM Productions Inc.

Pernsteiner Creative Group Rooted Creative Sapphyre Group SRO Productions


Got event? Hello! Hello! Booking is a full service talent and production agency. We can help you plan your event in its entirety including: live entertainment, staging, tenting, sound & lights, security, portable bathrooms and ticketing. Long-time clients include, Minnesota Twins, St. Paul Winter Carnival, Minneapolis Downtown Council, Minnesota Music Coalition, Cinco de Mayo Festival and many more!

No event too big! No event too small!

Festival & event association Minnesota Festivals & Events Association (MNFEA)

ENTERTAInment Caricatures by Erin Carpathian Festival Casablanca Orchestra Dans Askina Belly Dancing

Teddy Bear Band, Rich & The Resistors The Niskas Twin Cities Kids Club The Big Epic Show Twin Cities Road Crew


Germanic-American Institute

Curly Creative

Halls of Entertainment

Ingster Marketing

Kid Power with Rachael / ShowStoppers starring Rachael Kroog

Mid-America Festivals

Minnesota Renaissance Festival Schlegel, Becky Shanley, Seth

Nemer Fieger Pernsteiner Creative Group Valpak

Shaw, Chris

National. Regional. Local. Contact Eric Roberts to discuss your event: 612-384-1229. Email:

20 MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks •

*Listing of vendors and entertainers in this guide does not constitute all options or endorsement by MRPA or MNFEA. It is best to ask for references from all vendors prior to making a decision.

MN • BR A I N E R D,



March 8-10 • BRAINERD, MN







enc e 2017 Confer

Come join us!





2017 SESSIONS AT A GLANCE: Snapshot of Site Services to Support Your Plan Panelists: Randy Dewitz - Fanfare Attractions, Diana Rohlfsen - Biff’s, Inc., Wendy Famodu - Ziegler Cat Rental, Vince Vanella - Vanella Group, Steve Madson - SRO Prductions, Brad Kohorst - Party Time Rental

Join us at Cragun’s Resort on Gull Lake for great educational sessions, networking, and sharing of ideas. We will celebrate winter with fun socials including a night at the Brainerd Curling Center, dog sledding, horse-drawn trolley rides, s’mores, ice skating and more!

Wednesday & Thursday Networking Events!

Insider’s Tips for Attracting Media Attention J. Marie Fieger - Nemer Fieger Protecting Your Event Brian Lukasavitz - Lukasavitz Law Group, LLC The Ultimate ROI: Inside an Award-Winning Volunteer Program Panelists: Ruth Glaser - Hazeltine GC / Ryder Cup, Jackie Maas - City of Plymouth, Theresa Janechek - Woodbury Days Fireworks at Your Next Event? Join us Thursday night for a product demo of RES products over Gull Lake Events & MNFEA 101 Panelists: MNFEA Board

Wed., Braine March 10 rd Curl ing Ce nte


Thurs., March 9 Soirée Winter Themed

Food & Beverage Trends Moderator: Stephanie Hansen: MyTalk 107.1’s – the “Weekly Dish.” Panelists: Darren McConnell - Sysco, Ryan Parranto - Phillips Wine & Spirits Identifying, Securing and Retaining Quality Sponsors Rosanne Bump - President & CEO, Saint Paul Festival & Heritage Foundation

This is just a partial list of conference sessions. Visit for more details.

Book hotel rooms online or call to make a reservation: 1-800-272-4867 – mention “MNFEA” to receive $95 room rate (Wed. & Thurs.) • Discount rates for Cabins and extended weekend stays

2017 Conference Fees: Future Member – $175.00 (Now through Feb. 28, 2017) Future Member – $195.00 (March 1 - March 11, 2017) Member – $125.00 (Now through Feb. 28, 2017) Member – $145.00 (March 1 - March 9, 2017)


us! n i Jo

A great way to connect with festival & event organizers from across Minnesota! MNFEA INDIVIDUAL MEMBERSHIP IS JUST $75/YEAR

Professional Resources • Peer Networking • Educational Opportunities • Conference Discounts Event Behind-the-Scenes Tours • Panel Discussions • Coffee Hours & Happy Hours



Rock Events & Security

American Metro Point of Sale



Yamaha Golf Carts

Brookview Golf Course


Minnesota State Fairgrounds



INFLATBLES & GAMES Magic Bounce, Inc.

Three Rivers Park District

POWER & GENERATORS Ziegler Power Systems

PRINTING, DISPLAYS & incentives Promotional Designs

Showstoppers is a musical, comedy, variety show featuring the talents of Rachael Kroog and Shannon Pierce on piano. Rachael hoofs, clowns, belts and croons her way through sharp character creations that produce a genuine vaudevillian charm.

612-483-4060 • 22 MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks •

Tandem Printing

Onsite Sanitation

Visual Solutions

Vanella Group



Anderson Race Management

Hello! Booking


Sue McLean & Associates

Aprés Party and Tent Rental


Ultimate Events

Discover St. Louis Park


Explore Minnesota

Biff’s, Inc.

University of Minnesota Tourism Center

Kidpower with Rachael teaches children the values of kindness and respect through music and live animals.

612-483-4060 •


2nd Wind Exercise Equipment

Becker Arena Products Inc.

Across our different product lines there are hundreds of variations offering you choices in style, size, features, materials, and colors. We design and manufacture them ourselves ... commercial quality products able to withstand years of use and exposure. Mall and Streetscape Tables

Hiway Federal Credit Union

SILVER MEMBERS Commercial Recreation Specialists Custom Builders Inc. Designline Products Group Flagship Recreation LLC Hoisington Koegler Group Inc.

RJM Construction

Custom Manufacturing Inc.

Sea Life Minnesota LLC

Fahrner Asphalt Sealers LLC

Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. Sport Court North SRF Consulting Group Inc. St. Croix Recreation


Stantec (formerly Bonestroo)

LHB, Inc.

Ultimate Playgrounds

Loucks Associates

USTA Northern

Midwest Playscapes Inc

Viking Trophies Awards & Recognition

Minneapolis Northwest Convention and Visitors Bureau Minnesota Wisconsin Playground Inc. MSA Professional Services, Inc. National Flag Football Northland Recreation, LLC Nystrom Publishihng Page 1 Printers Play & Park Structures Rain Bird Corporation

Webber Recreational Design WSB & Associates, Inc. BRONZE MEMBERS Anderson-Johnson Association, Inc. Bolton & Menk, Inc. Busch Architects, Inc. CEI Engineering Associates, Inc. Century Fence Company Como Town Amusement Park

Park Benches and Athletic Benches

GL Berg Horizon Commercial Pool Supply Kromer Co. LLC Landscape Structures

Campfire Rings Standard and Accessible Park Tables

Maximum Solutions

Bike Racks

Minnesota Twins Musco Sports - Lighting Safety First Playground Surfacing LLC Sports Technology Inc. Sprung Instant Structures Inc. TKDA Tricia & The Toonies Twilight Zone Outdoor Cinema Valleyfair Walker Area Community Center Wild Mountain


Charcoal Grills

Ash, Trash, and Recycling Receptacles and Lids

Enjoy the outdoors with Pilot Rock park, street and camp site furnishings. Serving the Business of Recreation Since 1959 with


Contact our Sales Representative in Minnesota:

St. Croix Recreation Co. Stillwater, MN

Ph: 651-430-1247 • E-mail:


Winter 2017 • MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks 23


Robinia Natural Playgrounds are coming to a park near you!

• Inclusive/Accessible Playgrounds • Play Surfacing • Inspections by CPSI • Relocation/Repair • Exercise/Strength Training • Sport Courts • Shade/Shelter/ Site Furnishings (612) 460-PLAY • Based in Eden Prairie