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March 17, 2014

Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation Receives 12 Honors at URPA Conference

Callie Birdsall - Email
385 468 1800
2001 South State Street

The Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation Division was recognized and honored Tuesday evening at the annual Utah Recreation and Parks Association awards ceremony in St. George, Utah.

Katelyn Chambers and Amber Milne were honored as Outstanding Young Professionals of the year, while Clark Littleton received the award for Outstanding Recreation Professional. Outstanding Adaptive Program of the year went to the Otters Swim Team, a newly implemented Autism Swim Development program designed to specifically target youth with autism. Outstanding Class III Facility went to J.L. Sorenson Recreation Center, a county recreation facility in Herriman.

Division Director Michele Nekota received a lifetime achievement award for her 28 years of service with the division. Nekota recently announced her retirement from the county and will be moving to Honolulu, Hawaii, where she will take over as Director of Parks and Recreation.

A posthumous Lifetime Achievement award was presented in the honor of Sue Kocher, a 26-year employee of the county’s Parks and Recreation division, who passed away unexpectedly last May. Kristin Riker, Associate Division Director for SLCO Parks and Recreation presented the award to Sue’s husband, Willie, and son, Will.

The new 2014-2015 URPA Board of Directors will include four SLCO Parks and Recreation staff: Kay Cameron, Administrative Representative; Ryan Roghaar, Recreation Representative; Susie Schroer, Adaptive Recreation Representative; and Heidi Summers, Hershey Track & Field State Representative.

“We have tremendously dedicated employees in Parks and Recreation who love their jobs and it shows,” said Erin Litvack, Director of Community Services for Salt Lake County. “Whether you are working out in one of our recreation centers, jogging on one of our trails or spending time in one of our 105 County parks, you’ll experience the pride and professionalism of our parks and recreation professionals.”

New to URPA this year is the Leadership Academy, which was created to help shape the future of Parks and Recreation in Utah. This program is designed to be the most comprehensive development program for devoted individuals wanting to become the next leaders in the profession. Four county staff members were accepted into this elite program for 2014: Katelyn Chambers, Amber Milne, Ryan Roghaar and Tawnee Tucker.  Garrett Snyder was awarded the Fred and Judy Tamagawa Scholarship.

In addition to managing 4,828 acres of open space and 23 miles of trails, Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation consists of 280 full-time and approximately 3,000 seasonal staff who oversee 18 swimming pools, 21 recreation centers, 6 golf courses, 3 ice centers, Wheeler Historic Farm, and 105 parks encompassing 7,983 acres within Salt Lake County.   Visit