Opelika Parks and Recreation brought home three awards from the Feb. 6 Alabama Recreation and Parks Association (ARPA) conference in Orange Beach.
Director Sam Bailey was awarded the Jim Spain Professional of the Year Award. This award is named for one of the most respected and influential parks and recreation professionals to have ever worked in Alabama. It is the highest honor that an ARPA member can receive. The recipient is chosen by former Jim Spain Award winners and signifies respect from some of the most distinguished professionals from around the State of Alabama.
“I was extremely honored and surprised to be recognized by the Alabama Recreation and Parks Association, of which I’ve been a member of for 40 years,” said Bailey.
The Opelika Recycled Teenager Halftime Show was named the Innovative Program of the Year for Populations 15,001 & Above. This program is led by SportsPlex Adult Activity Director Valeri White, and it has allowed seniors aged 53-81 to perform at Auburn University Women’s Basketball games. For the past three seasons the seniors have been performing choreographed dances at halftime.
“I’m so excited for them,” said White, referencing the seniors who participated in the program. “It’s a lot of work trying new skills and learning new things. I love that they are showing the world age is just a number.”
Mandy Moore was awarded the Community Service Award for her time volunteering with Opelika Recycled Teenager Halftime Show. Over the past three years Moore has given more than 200 hours coaching seniors, creating choreography and traveling to games to perform.
“This volunteer work is truly a blessing and fills my heart with so much love,” says Moore. “Everyone deserves to know and enjoy the benefits of dance. This program is a testament that you’re never too old to do what you love with the people that you love.”
ARPA, an official affiliate of the National Recreation and Parks Association, is a professional organization that represents professionals delivering park, recreation and therapeutic recreation services in local, county, state, school district, private and agency settings. ARPA advances the profession through leadership, education, advocacy, promotion and service.