The three-day conference brought 235 parks professionals, students and vendors to Hopkinsville’s Bruce Convention Center. The conference included continued education sessions, idea exchanges, trade show, and evening socials.
Paducah (Class 4), Henderson (Class 3), and Eastern Kentucky University Recreation Administration (Class 1) joined Hopkinsville (Class 2) as Outstanding Department of the Year honorees. The Class 2 category is for departments with 6-10 full-time employees.
“Our Parks and Recreation Team is so outstanding and I could not be happier for them to receive this tremendous recognition for their work,” said Tab Brockman, Parks and Recreation Superintendent. “The statewide recognition simply validates what I see daily – we have the best parks and rec staff in the state.
“This team does an excellent job serving our community every day and they went above and beyond to put together a first-class KRPS Conference. Our team was proud to share Hoptown with our guests, many of whom had never been to Hopkinsville,” Brockman added.
The KRPS Outstanding Department of the Year Award recognizes organizations for excellence in overall operation quality and programming. This was the first such award received by the local department, according to Program Coordinator Pam Rudd, who has worked with local parks and rec for 45 years.
“This is the first time we’ve received an Outstanding Department of the Year honor as I can recall and we’re all excited and honored,” Rudd said. “We got some kind of department award over 30 years ago, long before we restructured as the Hopkinsville Division of Parks and Recreation. That was a different award at that time.”
KRPS also used the conference setting to announce the selection of Terri Wilkerson as the new Executive Director for the society. Wilkerson has been an active KRPS member for years and leaves her position as Aquatics Manager at Georgetown-Scott Co. Parks to lead the KRPS.
“I would like to congratulate the Hopkinsville Parks and Recreation team for the KRPS Outstanding Department honor. In addition to award-winning programs, the local staff also planned and hosted the 2016 conference and trade show. All of their efforts demonstrated exactly why they are an outstanding department,” Wilkerson said.
“KRPS wants to thank Hopkinsville Parks and Rec, the City of Hopkinsville, and Fort Campbell for creating a welcoming, educating and exciting experience for parks professionals from across the Commonwealth,” she continued.
The KRPS Conference attendees heard remarks about leadership from two local public figures who represented different segments of the community.
Hopkinsville Mayor Carter Hendricks offered the keynote address at Wednesday’s opening session. Brigadier General Scott Bower was the featured speaker at today’s Awards Banquet. Both men offered leadership qualities and techniques. The also shared their appreciation for the impact local parks make on families and community.
“We are excited that the KRPS recognized the hard work of our professional parks and recreation team. From Summer Salute to Fridays@5 to the Eclipse, our parks and rec team is working hard to help make for a happier, healthier Hoptown,” Hendricks said.
This week’s KRPS conference marks the last time the event will be hosted in rotating fashion for three years. Traditionally, the conference alternates from east to west locations on alternating years. The KRPS has decided to allow Louisville to host the State Conference for the next three years, while also moving the date from November to late February/early March. The calendar redirection means Louisville will host the event 2018-2020.