Rec Life Fall 2011
Dedication | DEVELOPMENT | DETERMINATION
Howdy! The Department of Recreational Sports is grateful for the students we serve and former students that lead the way. This magazine is written each semester to express our sincere appreciation to all responsible for Rec Sports programs, facilities and leadership opportunities. All of the growth and expansion of our facilities that have occurred over the previous years could not have been done without your support.
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The RecLIFE Magazine was originally designed solely to help us re-connect with former student staff, former sport clubs members, and friends of the department. Now, not only is it doing that, but we are reaching out even further. Social media has become a major part of today’s society as well as the Department of Recreational Sports. Through the efforts of many, online social media is growing at an exciting rate and will give you quicker updates on Rec Sports endeavors. Take a look at our website (http://recsports.tamu.edu/) in late December to experience our first online, interactive RecLIFE Magazine. QR Codes are also place throughout this issue. For instructions on how they work visit, http://youtu.be/O4SEFVotIg8. Throughout this issue, you will see articles about the goals that were accomplished this semester. One major accomplishment in particular was the official grand opening of the Penberthy Rec Sports Complex. Overall, this renovation improved the quality of the intramural and sport clubs fields, replacing four unlighted, natural turf fields with ten acres of lighted, artificial turf fields. The complex now offers more availability for drop-in recreation and a faster turnaround time to resume play after rain. In addition, the complex has a pavilion with amenities and a parking lot located closer to the playing fields. If you are connected with friends made while working at Rec Sports or participating as a sport clubs member, inform them about our efforts to re-connect. RecLIFE Magazine also promotes philanthropic opportunities that support the mission of the Department of Recreational Sports. For those interested in supporting some area of the Department, now is the time! Thanks to the Texas A&M Foundation and their online giving program, donating has never been easier. For instructions on how to direct your gift to the appropriate endowment or fund you wish to support, watch our online “how-to” video at http://youtu.be/7gb5mwwR-yA. Last but not least, I would like to thank all of our former student staff, former sport clubs members and friends who have supported the Department of Recreational Sports. Your donations to our endowments have provided scholarships, leadership development opportunities and other benefits for sport clubs and individual student staff members. To the Aggie Family, we wish you all a very merry holiday season and a happy new year. Thanks and Gig’em!
Communications Intern and Project Manager - Cara Pilgrim Graphic Artist - Anna Eubank Videographer - Josh Weatherl Communications Coordinator/Editor - Kelly VonDrehle Marketing Director - Michelle Briggs Associate Director of Development - James Welford
dedication Rec Sports Dedicates Time for two large conferences
left to right: Ashley Donaldson and Sikirat Kazeem
left to right: Jason Kurten and Patsy Kott
2011 NIRSA Big 12 and Friends Region IV Conference:
2011 AORE Conference:
November 2-4, 2011, was a time to “re-new, re-connect and re-discover” at the NIRSA Big 12 and Friends/Region IV Conference held in College Station, Texas. The three-day conference was hosted by Texas A&M Rec Sports in conjunction with the National Intramural Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA). The Department of Recreational Sports at Texas A&M University was chosen by NIRSA to be the host for this event that allowed NIRSA members, professionals and students to network and communicate about the latest trends in recreational sports. Ashley Donaldson, Facilities Coordinator and Sikirat Kazeem, Assistant Director of Facilities at Texas A&M were chosen to be co-directors for the conference. The main goal of the conference was to allow universities in the Big 12, along with other Region IV schools, to come together and learn new ideas and techniques to improve their recreational sports programs. “It gave us [Texas A&M Rec Sports] an opportunity to compare ourselves to others and talk about what they do, so that hopefully we can produce the best product we possibly can,” said Donaldson. The conference welcomed 175 attendees from the states of Texas, Louisiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Missouri. The keynote address was delivered by Vic Schaefer, Associate Head Coach of the Texas A&M women’s basketball team—2010-2011 NCAA National Champions—and Texas A&M Rec Sports student staff alum. The conference also consisted of campus tours, a golf tournament, educational presentations and a barbecue dinner featuring a performance by the Aggie Wranglers. “It gave our department a lot of exposure. We highlighted the newly renovated Penberthy Rec Sports Complex. A lot of the schools were really interested in seeing the new artificial turf fields. Some schools had never been to Texas A&M, so it was an opportunity for them to check out our facilities and see how we do things,” said Kazeem. After ten months of planning and hard work, the Big 12 and Friends/ Region IV Conference was a huge success. “It was a fantastic event, and it would not have been possible without the help of people on the planning committee. They really stepped up and helped out a lot. It was definitely a group effort to make it a success,” said Kazeem.
Patsy Kott, Outdoor Adventures Director, and Jason Kurten, Director of Rock Climbing and Outdoor Retail Operations, both staff members at the Texas A&M Department of Recreational Sports, are always looking for new ideas and techniques to improve their already wellknown Outdoor Adventures program. In early November, both Kott and Kurten attended the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education (AORE) Conference in San Antonio, Texas; both were members of the conference’s host committee. The AORE Conference allows members and students of recreational programs from across the country to come together, network and learn new things to improve their outdoor programs. Also attending the conference were members of the military Moral, Welfare and Recreation Program, also known as MWR. “Everybody from around the country brings a different philosophy or has a different way of doing the same job we do, so it just helps to get new ideas. It’s nice to know that the recreation department has a big focus on student development. Even though we are not an academic program, there is a lot of student learning that occurs within our own programs,” says Kurten. The conference featured important conversations dealing with access to national parks and wild lands, along with standardization practices and training in certain areas. Rec Sports Outdoor Adventures program (then known as TAMU Outdoors) started back in 1986. From there, Patsy Kott was an instrumental player in founding AORE in 1994. This year’s conference was the first ever to be held in Texas and consisted of 535 attendees. About 20% of those who attended also participated in the pre- and post-conference sessions which were led by Kott and Kurten. The AORE conferences help Kott and Kurten make the Texas A&M Outdoor Adventures program even better than it already is. “Every year I pick up something new to bring back to the program,” said Kott. There is no doubt that they strongly believe in what they do. “I love what I do!” exclaimed Kott, as Kurten nodded his head in agreement.
welcome NEW STAFF MEMBERS ARE GREATLY APPRECIATED Amy Catlin Intramural Sports graduate assistant
“My favorite part about working at the Rec is the opportunity to interact with a diverse group of people on a daily basis. ”
Josh Ashy Intramural Sports graduate assistant
“I love the staff here at the Rec; from the professional staff to the student workers they all promote a great working environment.”
Angela Cates Business associate
“My favorite part of working at the Rec is the atmosphere. The people here love what they do and are excited to do it. It is so nice to be able to come to work where people are happy to be.”
Sachiyo Carr Business associate
“Everyone is very professional and gives others the courtesy of respect.”
Jake Cotten marketing graduate assistant
“I am intrigued by all of the enthusiam that is displayed on a daily basis at the Rec! It gives me the motivation to worker harder every day.”
connect rec sports connects through social media Over the last decade, social media has become a huge part of today’s society, and it’s no surprise that the Department of Recreational Sports is using this to their advantage. Active in Facebook, Twitter, iTunes and YouTube, Rec Sports is able to reach a wide range of current and former students. Some of the department’s best offerings regarding social media include a YouTube channel featuring “Ask a Personal Trainer” videos and Sport Clubs videos. The Facebook and Twitter accounts are home to the most current Rec Sports information and include updates from areas such as Intramural Sports, Sport Clubs, Outdoor Adventures, the Indoor Climbing Facility and Fitness & Classes. Social media allows Rec Sports to receive feedback from students to utilize a perfect target market. Kelly VonDrehle, Communications Coordinator for Rec Sports, understands how important the use of social media has become for Rec Sports. “Before social media existed, it was hard to get a grasp of how many students we were actually reaching. Social media is a prime opportunity to get involved with students and reach specific target markets,” says VonDrehle. This year, the Department of Recreational Sports is taking the use of social media to a new level. Throughout this magazine you will see a variety of links and QR Codes, or quick response codes. Once the magazine is released online, readers will be able to click on links or QR Codes that will lead directly to a video or web page that reveals more information about the article’s topic. “We are hoping to incorporate an online experience into RecLIFE Magazine that will allow people to get more involved with what we are doing. Reading is great, but videos, photos and blogs offer additional details about an article or topic, which is definitely a huge benefit,” says VonDrehle. Readers can also use a smart phone to connect to any of the QR Code links posted throughout the printed version of the magazine. What is in the future for social media at Rec Sports? We are currently working on a variety of projects to keep current and former students more informed and involved in all the opportunities Rec Sports has to offer. Whether it is renovating our Facebook page, creating a Google+ account or making Group RecXersize videos available online, we are always looking for new ways to bring you information.
[Click on the icons to get connected] http://www.facebook.com/TAMURecSports?ref=tn_tnmn | http://www.youtube.com/user/TAMURecSports?feature=mhee | http://twitter.com/#!/RecSports
camaraderie Keeping the Aggie Spirit alive Next year will be the start of something new for the fightin’ Texas Aggies, as they will be the newest members of the Southeastern Conference. The aggie spirit will be louder and bigger than ever as this new tradition begins.
an awesome working experience; we love having Rec Sports alumni stop by, hang out and bring back great memories!” said Janice Cuny, Facilities Student Supervisor and Tailgate Student Assistant.
Start the fall 2012 football season off right and stop by the Rec Sports tailgate, held before every home game, in front of the Student Recreation Center. Current and former student staff and Sport Clubs members are more than welcome to stop by for complimentary grilled goodies and bottled water.
Rec Sports would like to encourage Sport Clubs and other groups associated with Rec Sports to co-host a joint tailgate with Rec Sports. It’s a great way to bring former and current members together to talk about past events and plans for the future!
The Rec Sports tailgates are a great way to re-connect with Next time you are in Aggieland for game day, swing by the old classmates, friends and co-workers. “By working all of Rec Sports tailgate! For more information, please contact the tailgates I have been able to meet and become friends James Welford at firstname.lastname@example.org. with current student and alumni staff members. It has been
reunite ALUMNI REMEMBERING THEIR PAST REC SPORTS EXPERIENCES On October 15, 2011 the Texas A&M University Department of Recreational Sports hosted its 10th annual Rec Sports Reunion. The event took place at the Student Recreation Center where both former and current staff and student staff members were able to re-live past memories with old friends and co-workers.
Amanda Zessin, class of 2011, came to the reunion to see her former Rec Sports co-workers. Zessin originally started working for Rec Sports in 2007 as an intramural volleyball official. By 2011, Zessin was promoted to intramural facility advisor and was a recipient of the Rec Sports student scholarship. Currently Zessin is continuing her education to become a pharmacist in the near future. “If you wanted to, you were The reunion was held the same weekend as the Texas A&M vs. Baylor given the opportunity to excel and achieve. I got paid to not wear shoes football game. Because the game was scheduled for 11:00am, the Rec and play in sand; you really can’t say that anywhere else other than Sports tailgate began bright and early at 8:00am, where attendees here,” said Zessin. enjoyed complimentary coffee and breakfast tacos. After the win against Baylor, the reunion was moved to the Student Recreation Center’s Haley Helweg, a 2010 Rec Sports scholarship recipient, took time Garden Room where attendees enjoyed a BBQ lunch. to speak at the BBQ to thank donors as well as the Rec Sports staff. “Through the student staff scholarship, I found that hard work really With more than six decades of former student workers, staff and sport does pay off. I love my job at the Rec Center and I continue to support club members, many of the attendees were shocked at how much the this department. Their gift to student workers is both motivating and facility has grown over the years. Bill Schlafer, class of 1980, was an extremely rewarding,” said Helweg. intramural official throughout college. “Back when I first started here, the whole Intramural/Rec Sports department was in a field house. The With about 135 attendees and a great win against Baylor, the 10th annual original Penberthy Fields were built in 1980 and the baseball/softball Rec Sports Reunion gave current, former and student staff members fields still only consisted of only a few backstops, dirt and rocks,” said the chance to exchange stories and reminisce about Schlafer. their Rec Sports experiences. If you are interested in attending the 2012 Rec Sports Reunion visit Aside from having new, larger facilities, Rec Sports technology has also http://recsports.tamu.edu/development/ grown exponentially in the past several years. Richard Westlake, class of 1978, was the only Rec Sports photographer when he was a student at reunion.stm. Texas A&M. “It was all black and white film. I would go out and take The Reunion is always a great shots of whatever sport was going on that weekend. It was a blast,” experience, with great staff said Westlake. Rec Sports now uses digital cameras for all photography and you get some really good and videography projects.
Although the size of the Rec Center has changed over the years, the atmosphere definitely has not. “Everybody was enthusiastic and fun; I am sure it is still the same way. I got to meet new people, get out and exercise, and make friends,” said Westlake.
Andrae Lewis ‘08
determination Perez displays his dedication and Determination When Bob Perez began competing in Judo in 1984, his future dedication to the sport was unexpected. Perez competed in taekwondo throughout high school, until one day when he was given a Judo uniform—also known as a judogi—by National Judo Team featureing Coach Bob Perez accident. Although their uniforms are similar in appearance, Judo is very different from taekwondo. Judo involves throws, strangles and arm locks while taekwondo consists solely of kicks and throws. Perez decided that since he was given the uniform, he should try the sport, and for the past 27 years he has excelled not only in competing, but also in coaching many prospective Judo competitors, including members of the Texas A&M Judo Club.
Over the past 18 years, Bob Perez and the A&M Judo Club athletes have had the privilege of competing in tournaments throughout the United States and in several countries, including Ecuador, England and Canada. Perez and his team are 19-time Texas Collegiate Champions and they have placed 2nd through 5th in the National Collegiate Championships every year since 1996. Although having a successful team is important to Perez, he hopes to instill greater values in his players than just winning. “I hope they gain leadership, commitment and learning skills; just because you are at a certain level, does not mean you can’t learn anymore. Hopefully, everything that they do here and learn in Judo can be applied outside and used in their future employment. I also hope they continue to do Judo whenever they graduate.” While Bob Perez has achieved many accomplishments with the Texas A&M Judo Club, he recently experienced a personal achievement when he was selected to be the USA Judo National Team head coach for the World University Games that took place in Shenzhen, China this past August. The games consisted of 17 sports and more than 10,000 competitors from 148 countries. Perez’s team included 10 competitors from 9 different colleges across the country and was his biggest coaching job yet. Two men on Perez’s team placed 9th in the competition. “Some countries sent their best competitors there. The United States is not the strongest Judo country, but they all fought their hearts out and they did great. I don’t think anybody was disappointed with their performance out there. They were disappointed they lost, but they were happy with the way they fought,” said Perez.
Established in 1963, the Texas A&M Judo Club began as a recreational sport that competed in only a few tournaments each year. By the late 1980’s, people that were experienced in Judo, including Perez, started to join the club and compete. When Bob Perez became the head coach in 1993, the team began competing internationally, and the club did nothing but progress from there. Since the opening of the Student Recreation Center in 1995, the Judo Club has hosted an annual tournament that originally began with 125 competitors and has since grown into Judo’s largest event, attracting up to 350 competitors. The club continued to grow, and in 2006 an endowment fund was established in the club’s name. Several members of the club have received scholarships from the fund, including 5 students for the 2011-2012 school year. “We’re more competitive, we have more and more people wanting to do Judo, we have scholarships and now we have coaches that are there all the time to help out,” said Perez.
With 18 years of coaching under his belt at Texas A&M, Bob Perez is not slowing down anytime soon. “I hope to be here another 18 years!” he says. With his hard work and dedication, Perez has changed the Texas A&M Judo Club for the better and has also received high personal honors, such as being named the Judo National Team head coach. To learn more about the Texas A&M Judo Club and how to get involved, visit http://www.aggiejudo.com/.
endowment Women’s Rugby Club Endowment The Texas A&M Women’s Rugby Club has come a long way since it first started in the late 1970’s. It was more of a leisurely sport at Texas A&M until eight years ago when the club began to increase their levels of competition. According to http://rugbymag.com/, the club is now ranked 18th in the nation! The Women’s Rugby Club has reached many goals over the years, having made it into the “Sweet 16” five years in a row. Most recently the club was awarded the 2011 Texas Rugby Union champion title. The club, however, does more than just win titles. In order to travel to tournaments, the club does as much fundraising as possible. Whether cleaning up Kyle Field after games, working at tent sales, or selling baked goods on campus, club members do everything they can to ease travel costs. The future is looking even better for the Women’s Rugby Club because of generous donations from the club’s alumni. Earlier this year, gifts of $2,000 and $3,000 were given to the club in order to start an endowment fund. Although the endowment cannot be used right away, the fund will have a huge impact on the future Women’s Rugby Club members. “My hope is that we can use the money that we get from the endowment to offset future travel and equipment costs. Hopefully, it will ease the fundraising burden that is on our team right now,” says club president Kelley Storey. To learn more about the Women’s Rugby Club, visit their website at http://womensrugby.tamu. 6
development PENBERTHY REC SPORTS COMPLEX IS OFFICIALLY COMPLETE
If you are ever on campus at night and you see acres of bright lights near Reed Arena, then you have just been introduced to the newly renovated Penberthy Rec Sports Complex. With ten acres of lighted artificial turf fields, this groundbreaking facility is suitable for both intramural sports and sport clubs, and is also available for “drop-in” recreation. The Department of Recreational Sports celebrated the official grand opening of the complex on October 14, 2011. The complex got its name from Mr. Walter Penberthy, a devoted instructor and administrator at Texas A&M from 1926 to 1966. Mr. Penberthy, known as the “Father of Intramurals,” was the first Director of Intramural Sports at Texas A&M and later became the first department head of the physical education program. In 1978, the first intramural fields, or the Penberthy Fields, were dedicated to Mr. Penberthy by the Board of Regents, only twelve years after his retirement. The original complex was located where the Student Recreation Center exists today. Over 100 people attended the grand opening ceremony for the Penberthy Rec Sports Complex, including students, staff and family members of Mr. Penberthy. The event opened with comments from Texas A&M University President R. Bowen Loftin, who was followed by Board of Regents member Richard A. Box and Vice President of Student Affairs Lt. Gen. Joseph F. Weber. The event closed with Dennis Corrington, Executive Director of the Department of Recreational Sports, donating memorabilia from the event to Student Body President Jeff Pickering. In his message, Corrington said, “We at Rec Sports feel that, through providing a venue for outdoor team sports, we will also be able to promote and teach respect, integrity and leadership qualities that can be used throughout these students’ lives.” Mr. Walter Penberthy, Jr. was the honoree at the grand opening ceremony and was accompanied by his wife, Punky Penberthy. “The whole family is thrilled to have this complex named after my dad; he would be eternally grateful,” said Mr. Penberthy, Jr. He also explained what intramural sports were like when he attended Texas A&M. “In the 1950’s, there were really no facilities. We would have a field here, and a field there. Any place that was big enough, we would throw chalk on it and that’s where we played,” laughed Penberthy, Jr. The Department of Recreational Sports is very thankful to have had such great executive directors throughout the years, and none of this would have been possible without their influence and contribution to Rec Sports. In chronological order, the past executive directors include Walter Penberthy, C. G. Spike White, Barney Welch, Charles
McCandless, Les Palmer, and current Executive Director, Dennis Corrington. Since moving across the road in 1985, this is the first major renovation of the Penberthy Rec Sports Complex. The Department of Recreational Sports knew that the complex needed to be substantially larger in order to accommodate the growing number of students. The goal was to increase the acreage and create new fields so that drop-in recreation could be made available while still meeting the needs of sport clubs and intramural sports programs. “In the past we didn’t have enough fields for drop-in recreation because there was so much over-use that the fields had to be protected,” said Senior Associate Director of Recreational Sports, Rick Hall. What about the rain? The turf fields will prevent cancellations and will provide safer play for students. The complex is also equipped with locker rooms and a covered pavilion. Planning for the renovations began on September 1, 2010. The goal of Rec Sports was to have the new complex completely finished before the start of the 2011 school year, and they did just that. Construction began on March 1, 2011 and was complete by August 14, 2011. In all, the project took only a little over a year to complete! The renovation of the Penberthy Rec Sports Complex will open many new doors for Rec Sports. On January 4 - 6, 2012, the Penberthy fields will be put to the test when Rec Sports hosts the NCCS National Flag Football Championship. This will give students the chance to really put the fields to good use and allow other universities to see the new complex. To learn more about the tournament, contact Oscee Wheatfall at email@example.com or visit our website at http://recsports. tamu.edu/programs/intramurals/NCCS/index.stm. What does the future hold for Rec Sports? Talks are underway about the possibility of partnering with the Physical Education Activity Program to use the facilities in their new building. There have also been discussions about adding on to the Student Recreation Center. These discussions will continue with input from the university community. Whatever changes or additions are made to the Student Recreation Center, the results will make the Aggie family proud. The Department of Recreational Sports is always looking for ways to improve their facilities, programs and services. The renovation of the Penberthy Rec Sports Complex is a great example of this. Rec Sports programs and facilities are truly some of the best in the nation.
Artificial Turf Field
Dr. Richard A. Box
It is great to be here and see this wonderful facility and know that it is going to benefit the students not only today, but for years to come.
President R. Bowen Loftin
This is a great addition to Texas A&M and will be a heavily used facility by our students who are very active in all types of sports.
Lt. Gen. Joseph F. Weber
Texas A&M has one of the greatest Rec Sports programs and facilities in the country because of the staff at Rec Sports. It’s absolutely unbelievable.
Walter Penberthy, Jr.
This complex will benefit the students in a number of ways and will bring the students together.
Texas A&M Rec Sports tries to provide our students with the best quality programs and services, while helping our students understand the value of living a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
Mr. Walter Penberthy, Sr.
This is an absolutely beautiful facility.
Jeff Pickering, Student Body President at Texas A&M University represents the student body at the Grand Opening
Gymnastics Club prepares for future endeavors
LEAVE YOUR MARK
The Texas A&M Gymnastics Club not only knows how to transition their creativity from the mat, but they can apply it to fundraising as well. Before every home football game, you will see members of the club doing “flips for tips” right outside the Texas A&M Student Recreation Center. Why, you ask? “The fundraiser helps mostly with nationals. We compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Gymnastics Clubs, held this year in Salt Lake City, Utah. The more money we can raise, the less each member has to pay for travel expenses,” said President of the Gymnastics Club, Daniel Kelley.
fundraising, the Gymnastics Club has an endowment fund that can be used for things that benefit the club, such as travel costs, scholarships and new equipment. “We really want to use the fund for scholarship money for members that really show their commitment to the team,” said team treasurer, Michael Bynum. “This club is not just for people who are experienced. It is for anybody who wants to start or wants to get back into it. There is no obligation to compete,” said Kelley. If you do not want to pay membership fees, you can still join the Gymnastics Club during open gym for only three dollars per day!
On October 29, before the home game vs. Missouri, the club took their fundraising to To learn more about the club, visit the next level when they set up a high bar gymnasticsclub.tamu.edu/. along with a mini trampoline. Along with
Walk of Champions: The Walk of Champions is a part of the Department of Recreational Sports Brick Campaign and was created to give former and current students and employees the opportunity to have their name engraved on a brick that is placed in front of the Student Recreation Center. The campaign is used to fund an endowment that ensures that Texas A&M continues to have the best recreational facilities and programs in the country. The Walk of Champions is a way “to honor everyone’s dedication to leadership, fair play, honesty and integrity, which are all part of the Aggie Spirit”. Located in the front walkway of the Student Recreation Center, the Walk of Champions allows patrons to become a permanent part of the facility, as well as to benefit the future of Rec Sports and its members. To learn more about getting your own brick in the Walk of Champions, contact James Welford at jwelford@rec. tamu.edu.
Circle of Exellence:
champions SPORT CLUBS ACCOMPLISHMENTS
ARCHERY: • Jenny Nichols finished in the top 8 for Olympic Trials
CYCLING: • Alkek Velodrome: 2011 Volunteer of the Year • South Central Collegiate Cycling Mountain Bike Conference Champions • South Central Collegiate Cycling Track Conference Champions – 7th best team in Track Nationals • In the running for USAC Collegiate Club of the Year
The Circle of Excellence is dedicated to the hard working student staff of the Department of Recreational Sports. Every year, an awardee from each sub-department is recognized for their outstanding service and contributions to Rec Sports. Each winner receives a brick engraved with his or her name that is placed in the Circle of Excellence. In addition, each recipient is given a lapel pin or charm. Significant department donors are also eligible to receive this award based on their distinguished level of support.
PAINTBALL: • Ranked 1st in the nation
MEN’S SOCCER: • NCCS NIRSA Nationals – Quarterfinalist
WAKE BOARDING: • Ranked 1st in nation
WATER SKI: • Ranked 10th in the Nation Circle of Excellence
courage lifeguard staff following guidelines and saving lives This past summer, Cadet Ryan Ochoa was conducting breathing exercises for military training in the dive well at the Student Recreation Center Natatorium. Cadet Ochoa had been performing this exercise at least twice per week, but was normally with a training buddy. On June 28th Cadet Ochoa was practicing solo when something went terribly wrong.
today,” said Barber. Ryan Ochoa was immediately taken to the hospital where he miraculously made a full recovery. “I remember grabbing onto the ledge and waking up in the hospital. I had no signs of blacking out or tunnel vision; anything that a drowning victim would see or feel. If the lifeguards would have come in a minute later, who knows what would have happened? But they got there in plenty of time and I was Just like every other day, Cadet Ochoa was performing his normal able to get out of the hospital in two days,” said Ochoa. breathing exercises when Rec Sports lifeguards noticed that Ochoa had been Commandant, Brigadier General Joe underwater longer than usual; they knew Ramirez awarded the lifeguards who saved Cadet Ochoa with a symbolic coin typically something was not right. Melody Rulon, the lifeguard on duty, immediately jumped given to soldiers for excellent service, as well into the deep dive well to rescue Cadet as a letter of appreciation. Ochoa. Rulon was immediately assisted by The lifeguards on duty put all their training additional lifeguards Clara Stock, Rachel and teamwork to the test, and ultimately Munden and Robert Worley, who were saved Cadet Ochoa’s life. “We have inquick to perform the rescue techniques service training every two weeks for two they had practiced many times before. The hours. We go over and over all the rescues, Left to Right: lifeguards knew exactly what to do and it can be monotonous and boring, but this Melody Rulon, Lynne Barber and Robert Worley wasted no time. incident shows how necessary it is that we Lynne Barber, Assistant Director of Aquatics, cannot begin to describe repeatedly practice the skills. The staff reacted without having to sit how proud she is of her staff. “Cadet Ochoa’s rescuers knew something there and figure out what to do next; it was like clockwork. Everyone was not right and immediately went into action. They exemplify what knew their role and did their part. Knowing that our staff can react a lifeguard should be. There was no hesitation, there was no second with ease and confidence in situations like this makes me very proud. guessing. There was action, and because of that Cadet Ochoa is alive We have an amazing staff,” said Barber.
accomplishments Previous interns experiences with RecLIFE Magazine Each semester, the Department of Recreational Sports gives an intern the amazing opportunity of being the project manager of the RecLIFE Magazine. Responsibilities include interviewing current and former students and staff members about Rec Sports, writing articles, and working with an on-site student graphic designer to layout the magazine. This opportunity provides interns with excellent experience in the fields of marketing and journalism and helps prepare them for their future careers. Rachel Bertolini, Emily Miller and Jessica Menton each had the opportunity of working on the RecLIFE Magazine. Bertolini, who coordinated the Spring 2010 issue, said it was one of the most rewarding experiences of her college career. “I learned to think outside the box, tackle challenging assignments, and become an efficient writer as time progressed and deadlines approached. Much of the confidence I carry and the optimism I have toward the future are due to the knowledge I gained by interning with Rec Sports,” said Bertolini. Emily Miller, project manager for the Fall 2010 issue, truly experienced the benefits of being an intern at Rec Sports. While working on the magazine, Miller was able to form networking relationships with Rec Sports employees and gained professional experience that she can now use in job interviews. “Because I worked on the RecLIFE Magazine, I am able to pull out a great ‘product’ from my portfolio. I feel the experience has given me a distinct advantage over other recent graduates who are competing for the same jobs,” said Miller. Where is she now? Miller is currently the Interim Assistant Director of the Texas Future Problem Solving program and is seeking career opportunities in either Sports Media or Sport Management. Jessica “Jessie” Menton, the Spring 2011 project manager, is now working as an anchor and reporter for the International Business Times in New York City. Menton covers international business, global foreign exchange data and breaking news. “The position is definitely challenging, but I have been able to utilize the tools that Texas A&M has given me in order to be successful. I was lucky enough to be able to work for Rec Sports during the spring of 2011 where I picked up valuable journalism skills that are vital in my job today,” said Menton. Both Miller and Menton were Fightin’ Texas Aggie graduates in the Spring of 2011 and were seated right beside each other at graduation! 10
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