Parks and Recreation are two wonderful words (three actually), I do not mean the TV show, I mean real life. For me, it was because I liked organizing, and had a good mentor in Mr. Leo Galway of Riverhead Hr. Grace. Leo spent thousands of hours organizing games and tournaments in the “River”. .He was also instrumental in developing a wonderful playground that was second to none even to this day. Although it was not CSA approved, in the 80’s in rural NL, most things were not. We grew up in that playground and adjacent ball field and as we grew older we assisted Leo and the other members of the recreation commission. I guess for me, that is what made me want a career in recreation, even when I did not know you could get paid for it.
Recreation NL and the Cy Hoskins Award.
As time passes there is seldom time for reflection; we all have our jobs , interests and of course families to fill our days. It takes an honourable opportunity like receiving a provincial award to put ones career into prospective and to reflect, it made me think of the past, and it was refreshing. Sometimes we all need to sit back, look from where we came to ensure we are on the right path for the future. I like looking at old pictures, newspaper articles and old files; there is always an opportunity to find out a little bit about whom you were and what was important to you. It reminds me of beginnings, of meeting new friends who had the same challenges when I first started.
I can still remember my first year coming to the RNL Conference. I did not know many, but was quickly introduced to the personalities of Ron Healey, Greg Wells, Gary Milley, Ed Evans, Ken Anthony, Ray Osmond, Kevin Waterman, and my first recreation boss, Kevin Bennett to name a few. To sit and listen to Ron Healey’s stories was reason enough to come to the convention. These colourful characters paved the way for my commitment to parks and recreation. I did not have the honour to have met Mr. Hoskins but I am sure he, like those mentioned, instilled the same sense of pride in those he knew.
A simple thank you
I wanted to write this blog so those who wished could get a taste of what our profession means to me and the pride that comes with it. At times it is a thankless job with many hours away from friends and family to ensure an event or tournament is seen through. The most time is spent empowering and motivating those in your community who wish to help. Volunteers and elected officials are a valued part of the development of positive experiences within our community. I would like to thank the town of Hr. Grace for getting me started, the town of Burin for giving me experience and last but not least the town of Bay Roberts who allowed me the opportunity to dream and give me the support to think outside the box on events and programs offered to our residents and region. A special thank you to all the councils and staff over the last 20+ years including Premier Dunderdale who was Deputy Mayor of Burin at the time of me being selected to the Recreation Directors position.
I wish to thank RNL for this honour and to congratulate the association on their 40th anniversary. I also wish President Ian Flynn a successful term chairing the board of directors and leading the association in a progressive manner into the future.
Leaving with a message
Before I get off my soap box I would like to leave one message. The impact of recreation within a community and province is far reaching. It is notjust about ensuring there is a playground or a ball field in a community. It is a right for all; recreation instils community spirit.Ffacilities that are administered by recreation professional’s support economic development. They help skilled people make the decision of where they would like to live, including much needed doctors in rural NL. Neighbourhoods with CSA approved playgrounds and green spaces increase land value. Tourism numbers coming into the province that are linked to tournament play should be credited to municipal recreation; sport tourism is a huge industry. The medical field who wish to reduce childhood obesity and encourage wellness in our seniors have to look to the municipalities and recreation professionals. Youth at risk and those who wish to give them an opportunity for a better life need recreational facilities. The roll of you, ladies and gentleman, is vital and necessary and is no longer a “soft service”.
To my family
To my mom and Dad , Ron Sr. and Shirley Delaney, thank you for the support and for giving my brothers, sister and I a push out the door and telling us to “let the wind blow on us”.
To my wife Lisa and my children Maggie and Kaegan, thank you for the tremendous support and sacrifice being connected to someone connected to this profession. Love you .
I dedicate this award to my two friends who left us too early, Greg Wells and Ron Healey.