September 2014 – Montana Trails, Recreation and Parks Association “Professional of the Year” – Mark Jarvis, Park Planner
Mark has a Bachelor Degree in Landscape Architecture from Utah State University and has been employed with the City of Billings as a Park Planner for little over 9 years. During that time Mark completed over $18 million in construction projects (Dehler Park, several miles of paved multipurpose trails, Yellowstone Family Park and new waterslides at Rose Pool) and facilitated several neighborhood and community park master plans.
Mark is currently supervising the design and construction of a playground and spraypark at South Park, 4 tennis courts at Castle Rock Park, 3 tennis courts at Pioneer Park and 2 multipurpose trail projects.
September 2014 – Montana Trails, Recreation and Parks Association “New Professional of the Year” – Chris Waite, Volunteer Coordinator
Chris has a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts from Brigham Young University – Idaho and has been employed with the City of Billings as a Volunteer Coordinator for one and half years. Chris was instrumental in the creation of Billings Parks and Recreation Department’s Outreach Division. While working as the Volunteer Coordinator, Chris developed annual volunteer community events (“Refresh the Rims” and “Cache in Trash Out”), a community garden, served as a grant writer for the department, recruited and coordinated volunteers and implemented a Volunteer Park Ranger/Ambassador Program.
September 2014 – Montana Trails, Recreation and Parks Association “Citation of Merit for Agency Excellence” – Outdooor Adventure Camp Series
The Billings Parks, Recreation and Public Lands Department Adventure Camp series has completed its third successful summer in serving 8-15 year olds with ample outdoor recreation exposure. This camp has filled a need within the area for parents looking for affordable summer child care that was beyond indoor activities. Our success can be defined by the value parents and participants have found throughout our summer program and in the growing popularity Adventure Camp has gained, as our department now has waiting lists of those interested in enrolling.
Our Adventure Camp series hires quality staff, certified in CPR/First Aid and Wilderness First Responder, to work with 40 participants per week in high risk outdoor activities. Our campers are exposed to overnight camping, white water rafting, rock rappelling, rock climbing, canoeing, paddle boarding, horseback riding, hiking and much more! Though the challenges are great and our participants often small, our staff has witnessed the growth in each child throughout their summer enrolled in Adventure Camp.
The Billings Parks, Recreation and Public Lands Department identified a need within our community for 8-15 year olds to explore their local treasures. Over the last three years, our staff has continued to build their skill sets, education and flexibility in order to meet the increasing demand for more adventure. Our camp motto is borrowed from the Pixar film, UP, “Adventure is out there!” Staff continues to strive to find that adventure and ensure our first priority is to the children at camp.
September 2014 – Montana Trails, Recreation and Parks Association “Citation of Merit for Agency Excellence” – Outreach Division coordinated by Chris Waite, Volunteer Coordinator
The Billings Parks, Recreation and Public Lands Department’s Community Outreach Division began in May of 2013 with the hiring of a Volunteer Coordinator. The Outreach Division focused on three main areas; Volunteer Coordination, Partnerships, and Grants. During the first year of the volunteer program, over 2,000 volunteers completed more than 9,000 hours of work with a financial impact of $141,577 to the Department. Several notable accomplishments include the creation of a Volunteer Park Ranger Program, the establishment of annual community volunteer cleanup events, the mulching of over 350 trees, and creation of a volunteer graffiti removal program, the establishment of a community garden as well as many park enhancements and improvements done by volunteers. The partnership focus of the Outreach Division included establishing relationships with local universities to complete skills based projects such as GPS mapping trails, and partnering to create a large community cleanup event called Refresh the Rims. Other key partnerships included establishing a relationship with Bright and Beautiful to collaborate on a tree planting project using a $5,000 grant to purchase and maintain 300 trees planted by volunteers at Coulson Park. The final component of the Outreach Division was grant funding which included receiving $75,000 from the Land and Water Conservation Fund Grant Program to renovate playground equipment at South Park.