Oakland County Parks receives state awards

Oakland County Parks and Recreation was honored with six awards at the Michigan Recreation and Parks Association (MPRA) annual banquet in February in Lansing.
According to MRPA, these accolades recognize exemplary park and recreation professionals and citizen advocates. Honorees embody the core values of the profession, demonstrate the highest level of performance in their job duties and maintain a tremendous commitment to MRPA, according to MRPA Operating Officer Ann Conklin
“As a parks system, we work collaboratively to provide excellent parks and unique recreation opportunities for Oakland County residents and surrounding communities. The receipt of these awards is made possible because of Oakland County Parks’ staff’s passion for their jobs,” Executive Officer of Oakland County Parks and Recreation executive Officer Dan Stencil said.
The successful nominations were submitted by Oakland County Parks:
Marketing Awards
Outstanding Video: Dixie Gully Run
The video was produced to promote the collaboration between OCP, Groveland Township and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to recycle a portion of a mining operation facility to a proposed adventure park. OCP hosted two events for ORVers to test the track and provide feedback. The video was posted to OCP’s Facebook page as a means to attract people to register for a public event.
Media Advocate: Lisa LaGrou, Oakland County Moms
As creator of mom blog OaklandCountyMoms.com, LaGrou has been featuring family events in Oakland County for nearly 10 years. She is a staunch supporter of outdoor activities for children including events through Oakland County Parks and Recreation. LaGrou is a family source for media in the area and is regularly featured on WDIV’s “Live in the D” program with hosts Guy Gordon and Karen Drew as part of the Live in the D Mom panel.
Professional Awards
State Elected Official: Ruth Johnson, Michigan Secretary of State
OCP nominated Ruth Johnson who has proven that she is a constant supporter of outdoor recreation. She advocates for the DNR’s Recreation Passport, the pass for entrance to state parks, recreation areas, state forest campgrounds and non-motorized trail heads and boat launches. Because of her work, residents when renewing their license plates can now simply check the “yes” box on the license plate form to get their recreation passport.
Johnson served as an Oakland County Commissioner and an Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commissioner from 1994-1998. During her tenure, the Waterford Oaks Waterpark received major improvements including the addition of a children’s water playground and a group raft ride. Groveland Oaks County Park also underwent vast renovations including the reconfiguration of group campsites, the addition of seven new group shelters and water and electrical hookups.
Commitment to Excellence: Dan Stencil, CPRE, Executive Officer
Dan Stencil consistently demonstrates significant investment, support and guidance to his fellow professionals at Oakland County Parks. This honor is given to the person that exemplifies the highest level of professionalism within the industry and is chosen by MRPA’s president.
New Professional: Matt Pardy, Park Supervisor
Matt Pardy is a passionate advocate of lifeguard training. Through his leadership, OCP has expanded its training program to include refresher courses and extensive training for new lifeguards. Pardy oversees up to 100 seasonal employees and is responsible for the facility’s $1.25 million annual budget. He developed a manual for new employees, outlining expectations and policies, resulting in a cultural shift toward greater professionalism and pride at the park system’s facilities.
Programmy Awards
Outreach Partnership: Recreation Assistance Partnership Program
The Recreation Assistance Partnership Program continues to bring a full slate of programs to Oakland County’s 62 cities, villages and townships by bringing enriching outreach programs directly to residents. Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commission continues to show its support for RAPP through its annual funding allocation. This year those monies will allow the program to provide recreation activities to more than 200,000 residents who may not otherwise have access to these opportunities.
Health and Wellness Program: River Walk at Red Oaks Waterpark
The 1,000 foot long River Ride at Red Oaks Waterpark serves a dual purpose in the Madison Heights community. By day, the moving river is a relaxing waterpark ride with guests of all ages gliding down the twists and turns on tubes. By evening, it is transformed into an outdoor exercise area for adults to enjoy a brisk cardiovascular workout.
The gentle resistance of the circulating, waist-high water is ideal exercise for people with disabilities, joint replacements or other health challenges, while offering an invigorating therapeutic experience in a scenic setting. The River Walk has helped many Oakland County residents commit to a healthy lifestyle.
Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commission is committed to creating year-round recreational opportunities at 13 parks while preserving park land. In 49 years, the Oakland County Parks system has grown to 7,000 acres of natural landscapes. Oakland County’s beautiful parks contribute to the high quality of life that attracts businesses and residents to the communities and outdoor recreation for Oakland County residents.
Visit DestinationOakland.com for more information about Oakland County Parks and Recreation and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter @DestinationOak.