Posted 10/07/09 (Wed)
By Tina Foreman
Farmer Staff Writer
After watching his grandson playing flag football, Robin Arndt, Watford City Parks and Recreation supervisor decided there was more to parks and recreation than baseball and swimming. So, he created the city’s first Summer Recreation Program, hoping it would be a success, but never dreaming he’d receive an award for it.
For his efforts and success with the Summer Recreation Program, Arndt was awarded an individual Citation Award from the North Dakota Recreation and Parks Association.
“We, the Watford City Park Board, nominated Arndt for the award because of the work he did to develop the Summer Recreation Program,” says Cari Liebel, Watford City Park Board member. “We are very proud of what a town this size has to offer our citizens and believe that we owe a lot of this success to Robin. His efforts are appreciated immensely.”
Robin has been a member of the Watford City Park Board for 15 years. His duties include overseeing six parks as well as the Wild West Water Park, the Skateboard Park, the baseball field and softball diamonds, as well as working as the grounds keeper for the Watford City Golf Course.
“I love my job. The two boards I work with are great,” says Arndt. “After seeing my grandson playing football in grade school, I felt that Watford City could do more for our kids, and that’s where the Summer Recreation Program came into play.”
After talking to the Williston Parks and Recreation director and doing research into what other towns offer, Arndt came up with a plan for the summer programs.
“I could never have done the program without all of the support I received from the community,” adds Arndt. “After I decided to do the program, I went to the community looking for people to help out in their areas of expertise. I not only got a lot of volunteers, I also got ideas for more programs.”
With summer being his busy time, Arndt knew he couldn’t run the program on his own, so when the board approved the agenda, he also asked them to approve the hiring of a summer program coordinator.
“Robin’s idea included hiring a college student who was majoring in education or recreation, a field that related to the job they would be performing,” adds Liebel. “Working with the colleges we were able to hire Alex Veeder. In addition to receiving job experience, she also received credit from North Dakota State University for a summer internship.”
The programs offered something for everyone including baseball, hockey, crafts, excursions, line dancing, volleyball and even a girls day at the spa.
“The plan was to have a variety of activities throughout the summer so there would be something that interested each kid,” states Arndt. “I don’t think this is an individual award, because without the community and park board’s support it never would have been a success.”
With most of the programs this summer being a success, Arndt plans to spend some time this winter planning for next summer, and he’s open to any new ideas.
“I am pretty humbled and honored to receive this award,” says Arndt. “I don’t do this job for recognition, but it is nice to know that the board appreciates me and I’m honored that they nominated me.”