Dept. of Recreation & Park Administration Honored

Eastern Kentucky University’s Department of Recreation and Park Administration (RPA) and two students in the department were recently recognized at the annual Kentucky Recreation and Park Society conference.

EKU’s RPA program took home the 2013 Outstanding Program Award for a mentoring program developed at the Bellevue Learning Center in Richmond. The Bellevue Learning Center Mentoring Program, which began in 2007, is an eight-week program that provides services in the public school system in response to the Individuals with Disability Education Act. The program provides a non-threatening environment where at-risk youth can play, learn, socially interact appropriately, develop meaningful friendships with EKU students, and have fun via recreational activities. After the initial meeting, it is the responsibility of EKU students to plan what each session will include, such as games, tutoring, music lessons, job interview skills, etc.

Sarah Bellamy, an undergraduate RPA student at Eastern, and Brittany Toombs, a full-time student in EKU’s graduate RPA program, received 2013 Student Scholarship Awards at the conference.

Toombs, who also works full time at the Program Coordinator for the Richmond Parks and Recreation Department, is an active member in KRPS and NRPA. Her long-term goal is to obtain a doctoral degree and teach at the university level in the recreation field.

Also at the conference, the Richmond Parks and Recreation Department was presented the Facility Award Class I for its Universal Playground at Lake Reba Recreational Complex. In 2005, the City of Richmond Parks and Recreation Department, along with EKU’s RPA department, Richmond Civitan Club, Richmond and Bluegrass Rotary Clubs and numerous volunteers and community members, worked countless hours and hosted several grassroots fundraisers to help build the playground.

The Universal Playground Project evolved from a playground where a wheelchair could access the top of a ramped structure to a playground where all kids could play together on one level. The playground is an accessible play structure that accommodates children of all ability levels. A 55-by-50-foot poured-in-place play surface features several fun and educational play items that can be used by all of the parks participants, regardless of ability. The playground, designed with areas for children ages 2 to 5 and 5 to 12, includes climbing walls, musical instruments, and a RockNShip that can accommodate up to four wheelchairs at one time.

Published on November 21, 2013