Newsroom

Apr
20

Below are the nomination descriptions remarks presented on all the 2017 mParks Community Service Award Winners. Attached is the PowerPoint presentation from the Ceremony.

Army National Guard - 107th Engineering Battalion

The Army National Guard 107th Engineering Battalion took time out of their busy lives to build a new playground at Van Riper State Park. This is a group of skilled, honorable young adults. So skilled that organizers had trouble keeping up with them. A nice problem to have. After completion, the guard members brought out their families. They all smiled with joy and pride as they watched children play

Eastpointe-Roseville Chamber of Commerce

We are thankful to have such a dedicated partnership with the Eastpointe-Roseville Chamber of Commerce. The Eastpointe-Roseville Chamber of Commerce has been a sponsor for several of our Authority events, including Big Bird Run, Easter Egg Hunt and an annual youth baseball/softball team and banner sponsor. In addition, the Eastpointe-Roseville Chamber of Commerce has been essential in marketing our programs and department sponsorship opportunities to the local business community.

This valuable support has allowed us to maintain low-cost programs and events for the residents of Roseville and Eastpointe. We are extremely grateful to have the Eastpointe-Roseville Chamber of Commerce as a partner in providing quality recreational opportunities for our Authority members.

Northeast Chapter of the Michigan Mountain Biking Association

The Northeast Chapter of the Michigan Mountain Biking Association is a group of enthusiastic individuals dedicated to the maintenance and development of trails in Midland and surrounding areas. Most notably, this group is the driving force behind the miles of mountain biking trails at Midland City Forest. The group works tirelessly in all weather to create structures and innovative elements in the trail such as bridges, ramps, and other features. The club provides a constantly changing environment for our bikers and brings in other athletes from around the state. The club does this by not only using their own time and money but also by partnering with other like-minded organizations such as the City of the Midland Parks and Recreation Department, local Eagle Scouts looking to receive their highest rank and Chemical Bank for the Chemical Bank Cares Day. The group not only creates new features but also helps to maintain the trails on a regular basis. Group members are constantly holding clean-up days and extract large pieces of debris that accumulate over time. In addition, members of the group have created a Facebook page to keep users abreast of happenings on the trails and weather conditions to ensure that the track isn’t destroyed by overuse. The Midland Area Mountain Bikers are true stewards of the land by providing sustainable outdoor opportunities coupled with a focus on the management of the forest’s natural resources.

Dean Terry Sharik

Terry L. Sharik, Dean of the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Sciences (SFRES) has donated a gift to Michigan Technological University to establish the Terry L. Sharik Endowed Fund for Natural Resources Workforce Diversity. He plans to seed the fund with $25,000 by 2017 and donate an additional 10% of his estate upon his death. The fund is designed for others to contribute to it in the near future. Dean Sharik explained the reason for his gift, “I decided to make this gift because I care deeply about the future of the natural resources profession, which in my opinion requires a diverse workforce if it is to serve society at a high level.”

The endowment fund is designed to support a variety of initiatives that Dean Sharik hopes will attract and retain underrepresented populations to the student, faculty and staff ranks in SFRES. These programs could include scholarships, on-campus visits by natural resources leaders from underrepresented populations, sending Michigan Tech people to conferences on diversity issues and creating social networks for underrepresented groups.

The endowment will provide permanent resources for efforts to increase and support underrepresented populations of students, faculty and Michigan Technological University School of Forest Resources and Environmental Sciences. Dean Terry Sharik is “Creating a lasting Legacy!”

Scott Whipple

Scott Whipple is deserving of this award as he was instrumental in helping us establish our Mother Nature’s Classroom (MNC). MNC is a mobile classroom with teaching aids that can be taken to classrooms, which is originally what we did; a 2-hour program in a 4th or 5th-grade classroom, followed by a park visit by that classroom, on a different day for 5 hours.

Scott coordinated meetings, getting input from area educators, active and retired. He included local business people who have a passion for getting kids outdoors. He developed a curriculum for our program that would align with the State education guidelines, making our program a desirable, educational field trip, tweaking programs to accommodate any size group. Scott worked with us to revise the program to exclude the classroom visit, and only include the field trip component.

He received grant $$ for purchasing program supplies such as GPS units, owl pellets, and small camp stools for kids to use during journaling. 4th graders visiting the park learn about birds of prey and have an opportunity to dissect owl pellets. 5th graders learn about trees and their importance, they learn about recycling and they learn how to make paper. All students take a nature hike, participate in a teambuilding activity, learn about and use GPS units, and spend 20 minutes journaling.

This program began in 2012 and participation has grown every year. We have interacted with students from all of our public schools, including the rural schools and parochial schools. During the 2016 school year, we had just over 400 students participate in our programs.

Tyler Weston

As a very busy, passionate, and successful real estate agent, Tyler Weston is heavily involved in his local Ypsilanti Community! When Tyler is not working for his clients, he is passionately involved in his community. Tyler is a huge advocate and supporter of the Ypsilanti park system and recreation programming for youth in the community. Tyler is heavily involved in the annual Ypsilanti Proud Day, which is a community-wide clean-up day, with a focus on the park system.

Tyler has been consistently dedicated to helping maintain and improve the Ypsilanti park system! Over the last year, Tyler has been working to enhance the look and perception of Ypsilanti’s Parkridge Park, which is in a very at-risk neighborhood. This park is used heavily but is in need of maintenance and upgrades. With Tyler’s help and support, this park has had huge improvements made, from the baseball diamond, basketball courts, tennis courts, signage, and more to come!

Tyler has also worked very hard, dedicating a lot of time, to help start the East Washtenaw Basketball League, a partnership between the Ann Arbor YMCA, Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office, and Ypsilanti Community Schools. The basketball league is held on Friday nights for students in grades 6-12. The program’s mission is to connect youth with opportunities to engage with caring adults outside of school and home life. Tyler is involved every Friday as a coach, leader, and role model to these students. Tyler is an exemplary example of strong community engagement and involvement!

Thomas Township Kiwanis Club

The Thomas Township Kiwanis Club has been a major supporter of our Parks and Recreation programs for many years. In 2013, Thomas Township built a 2.3-mile rail trail which has been a major hit in our community. The Kiwanis Club started raising money by selling 50/50 tickets each year since the trail was built to raise money to help maintain the trail, donating over $1,000 towards the trail maintenance fund.

Robb Harper

Oakland County Farmers Market holds six Cooking with edibleWOW Demonstrations at the market during the winter focusing on local chefs and restaurants. The events are on Saturdays, a popular day at the market, and are hosted by edibleWOW Magazine owner and publisher, Robb Harper.

Attending the demo is free for anyone to attend, thanks to edibleWOW’s partnership. Harper’s contributions to the Oakland County Farmers Market include raising awareness of the market as a community resource.

Harper is very active in promoting the events and showing that buying local can save families money, time and provide healthier meal options. He plans the seasonal meal for the demonstrations with the chefs to be sure as many local fruits and vegetables as possible are used.

Harper’s goal is to create an atmosphere where the most useful tips and the information is provided and in a setting where people can get involved and ask questions. The chefs discuss how to cook the ingredients that you can buy at the market, food preservation, and other kitchen skills. They are very passionate and offer plenty of free advice.

Harper’s magazine is a guide to local food shed in Southeastern Michigan. The magazine focuses on telling the story behind the food locals eat or want to eat. Magazines are provided for free at the market and during cooking demonstrations.

Mid-Michigan Mountain Bike Association – Lansing

Mid-Michigan Mountain Bike Association (MMMBA) is a chapter of Michigan Mountain Bike Association (MMBA) and the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA). They are a group of local riders who have a passion for creating and maintaining trails. This enthusiasm is apparent when they volunteered countless hours to construct a six mile, a non-motorized trail through three parks spanning over 100 acres parkland along the Grand River in Lansing.

This dedicated group, with their years of experience and knowledge, designed the trail, removed downed trees and brush, created a trail map and promoted the new trail to mountain bike enthusiasts through their website. The trail is mixed use, allowing for both biking and walking through these beautiful waterfront properties. They are dedicated to this project and continue to provide assistance with cleanup after storms by removing debris and ensuring the trail is clear and safe for all users.

The trail neared completion during 2016, with the remaining connection being a bridge across the drain in Hunters Ridge Park which is scheduled to be installed this spring along with additional directional signs.

The trail traverses through four areas; Hunters Ridge, Fulton, and Fine Parks, as well as the soon to be acquired Lansing Boat Club parcel immediately north of Fulton Park.

This partnership is a perfect example of service to the community and creating advocates for Parks and Recreational resources.

Sally Berman – Friends of the Porcupine Mountains

Sally Berman, current president of the Friends of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, is very dedicated to the mission of the friends group which is “To promote, support, and enhance the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, inspiring appreciation of wilderness for current and future generations.”

Sally is very passionate about the park and the “Friends of the Porkies.” She is the one that has, as of late, been able to get the groups focus back on the needs of the park and how they can assist us with achieving our mission as well as the friend’s group mission. Sally is very giving of her time and donates to many causes throughout the Ontonagon County area. She is routinely called upon by the friends group to represent them at local and regional events, award presentations and meetings. Sally is a leader in the entire statewide friend’s system and an asset for us all.

Friends of Macomb Township

The Friends of Macomb Township: A Community Foundation is a charitable organization established in 2002. The purpose of the organization is to provide financial support for endeavors that enrich the lives of youth and families within Macomb Township.

The friends have a college scholarship fund; have assisted the Glen Peters School for Children with special needs in the M.I.S.D. and they have paid for the construction of a memorial to veterans and first responders, now in front of Town Hall.

The Macomb Township Parks and Recreation Department has been very fortunate to be on the receiving end of many of the “friends” projects.

When the Recreation Center was first built in 2004, the friends donated funds to have a beautiful mural painted in our lobby, a welcoming symbol for all of our patrons to enjoy. When families have financial difficulties for registration fees, the friends came through and paid those fees so everyone can participate. When our special needs program needed equipment, the friends paid for it, to help the program grow and flourish. In 2014 the friends held a fundraiser to install scoreboards at Macomb Corners Park. In 2015 those 3 beautiful scoreboards went up and are in use in the Township’s biggest park.

The Friends of Macomb Township have truly lived up to their name and are well deserving of the mParks Community Service Award. They are a group we know we can always count on to make Macomb Township a great place to live and work.

The Youth Connection Career Academies

The Youth Connection Career Academies exposes, engages and trains metro-Detroit youth for future careers and continuing education. Each year, over 100 youth ages 14-24 in the program attend career building workshops, go on field trips, participate in life skills seminars and best of all receive a paid internship.

Youth in the YCCA learned everything from resume/cover letter writing, proper job interviewing skills, workplace etiquette, financial literacy, and first aid/CPR. The YCCA enjoys an excellent partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to expose youth in the YCCA to outdoor careers and recreational activities. Through the partnership, youth have been able to experience new activities that are “Pure Michigan” while having a chance to train for environmental/outdoor recreation careers they may not have imagined as possible. Youth ages 16-19, has assisted with trail maintenance and invasive species removal at Wilderness State Park and Proud Lake Recreation Area.

The Youth Connection Career Academies deal with homeless youth and youth they have pulled out of drug houses. Through this MDNR experience, one of their participants has been accepted to Michigan Technological University. The Youth Connection Career Academies has”CONNECTED YOUTH TO A BRIGHTER FUTURE! THAT IS “PURE MICHIGAN”

Anne Brown

As a former Commission Chair, for the City of Ypsilanti Parks & Recreation Commission, Anne Brown has shown constant passion and support for the Ypsilanti park system. During her time as the Commission Chair, Anne worked tirelessly to bring awareness and help to the city’s parks that were in dire need of help, maintenance, and updates. Anne also worked to help develop the current Parks & Recreation Master Plan to ensure a future for the Ypsilanti park system. Anne also continues to support the City of Ypsilanti’s recreational opportunities and plans. She currently is helping lead the charge with the Ypsilanti Trail Town Team with help from the Huron River Watershed Council. Anne is working to ensure the importance of Ypsilanti’s trail system, on land with the Border to Border Trail, and water with the Huron River Water Trail.

With Anne’s drive, the City of Ypsilanti and Huron River Watershed Council are almost ready to finalize the Ypsilanti Trail Town plan and work with the city, and other organizations to implement this plan. Also, Anne has been a leader in inspiring young women, by leading an impactful presentation about women in government to neighboring agency Canton Leisure Services with their Lead #LikeAGirl Program. Anne is leading by example and inspiring young women to become powerful leaders in their communities. Anne is a shining example of an engaged and involved leader, constantly working to make an impact and improve the community she calls home.

Sigma Gamma Foundation

The Sigma Gamma Foundation has generously provided a playground for children of all abilities in the Detroit community. In the fall of 2016, Belle Isle Park’s first playground to comply with access guidelines under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act opened. This nature-themed playground is fully accessible at ground level and exceeds ADA standards.

The Sigma Gamma Foundation worked closely with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation Division and Penchura during the development of the park. The design theme of the playground compliments its picturesque location overlooking Lake Muskoday and the Belle Isle Nature Zoo and provides a variety of play opportunities. The playground includes a range of equipment that allows children of all abilities to enjoy the park's newest attraction. All kids benefit from exploring the four defined areas of developmental skills when at play. The four defined areas of developmental skills are: Sensory, Motor, Cognitive, and Social/Emotional. Multi-sensory experiences are beneficial to a child’s development. When children use more than one sense at a time, this activity helps to build the brain more quickly. However, children with disabilities may need to break that information into smaller parts. Some may require additional sensory input; others do better with less. It is important for playgrounds, particularly inclusive playgrounds, to provide a variety of developmental options for children to choose from.

Sigma Gamma Foundation’s most recent effort to support children with disabilities ensures all local Detroit children can enjoy active play outdoors.

Friends of Oden Hatchery

The Friends of Oden Hatchery (FOOH) was formalized in 2007 in an effort to balance local interests and connectivity between the state and its community. FOOH is a unique, first-of-its-kind community treasure, staffed by volunteers working diligently to support and uphold excellence in public programming for the public benefit with a focus on teaching visiting families the critical important of healthy aquatic ecosystems and fisheries management. They achieve these goals through their support of year-round programming including their signature annual ice fishing program held on Crooked Lake in Emmet County and through tremendously successful fundraising endeavors to implement public events at the Oden State Fish Hatchery.

They have helped champion the importance of our Michigan fish hatcheries through social media, programming, special events, and effective strategic planning meetings. Their fundraising efforts have worked to protect the natural features of the Michigan Fisheries Visitor Center at Oden State Fish Hatchery, including planting and interpreting native vegetation for the enjoyment of over 100,000 visitors annually and estimated by many as one of the highest visited of all the DNR visitor centers in Michigan.

Additionally, because of the immediate success and dedication of the Friends of Oden Hatchery, they “paid it forward” and served as a support network that helped guide, advise, and enable the formation of the Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery Visitor Center Friends group, in downstate Mattawan, Michigan.

Their energy, endurance, and dedication to their mission to support aquatic recreation programming is inspiring to all their community supporters and stakeholders.

Chuck Sansone

Chuck is the executive chef for Continental Services and about a year and a half ago he was rear ended and it left him paralyzed. Chuck's desire is to walk again and he doesn't let this keep him down as he does physical therapy almost daily.

He volunteered to do a cooking show at the Warren Farmers' Market once a month this past year and the show was an instant hit. The show is called Farm to Fork with the Able Chef. He has modeled the show for people with disabilities where they can learn how to cook with their own limitations. He keeps the show very current by using fruits and vegetables from our farmers and meats from local producers. He spends extra time answering questions from the show’s audience which numbers close to 100. Chuck is currently preparing for his shows this season and we encourage everyone to check it out.

Sally Starr and Nancy VanEenenaam

Sally and Nancy were the catalysts for a community-based collaboration that brought together the DNR, Carter’s Kids, Lake Michigan Credit Union and a number of state and local businesses in an effort to bring a new play structure to Holland State Park. Their dream to bring a playground to the beach for their grandchildren was realized on August 17, 2016 when the impressive new structure was opened to the public. Thanks to Sally and Nancy this project was completed with the majority of funds and labor donated, thus filling a need that would otherwise have waited until higher priority projects around the state had been completed first.

Barb and Gary Smithson

Barb and Gary Smithson have volunteered with Oakland County Parks and Recreation since 2015. They help with nature education programs at Red Oaks Nature Center, dog swims at Red Oaks Waterpark and special events like Pumpkin Fest, Glow on the Road and Haunted Hallows. In addition, they are dog park ambassadors at Red Oaks Dog Park.

They are always willing to assist - especially at the last minute.• Volunteer Coordinator Julee Erskine said, “One phone call and they are on their way to the park. They are positive, fun, outgoing people whose enthusiasm engages visitors and translates into a better experience for everyone.”

Clinton Township Department of Public Works: Management Team

The Clinton Township Recreation Department services over 100,000 residents. We provide numerous activities ranging from major events like our Fireworks and concerts in the park to individualized children’s programs such as Sporties for Shorties and Indoor Playground.

The department also has a dog park with over 550 registered dogs and thousands turn out for many of our special events. None of these events would be possible without the dedication of our Department of Public Works management team and their great staff! This team works extremely hard in supporting every aspect of our department. They are committed to providing the best for the Clinton Township Residents.

Members of this group include nationally Certified Playground Safety Inspectors, members of mParks, and one is even an elected official in another community. This management team and their staff perform a variety of tasks. Here are just a few: maintenance for 12 parks, oversee community-wide trash hauling, monitor and maintain all drainage issues in the community, commercial paving inspections, pavilion and baseball field reservations, all street light issues, resident tree chipping and snow plowing!

After all of this, they find time to support the recreation department with every program. This group is often in the background at every event, never on stage and always doing the hardest work. Today we want this group to take center stage and be recognized by mParks. Thank you for your pride and dedication to the Clinton Township Recreation Department and the residents of your community!

Moe's Bait Shop

For the past 10 years, Moe's Bait Shop has provided support and bait for countless 'Learn to Fish' programs done by the DNR at Belle Isle, Milliken State Park, and the Outdoor Adventure Center.

Owner Michael Noblett is always ready to support the youth of Detroit and the DNR's programs. He has also offered to spend time teaching during programs. He gives his time and his resources. In the past year, Moe's bait shop has provided enough free bait to allow over 1500 children to have - what for many - is a first fishing experience.

The Michigan DNR is grateful for the support and generosity of Michael Noblett and Moe's Bait Shop.

Linda Beals

Since May of 2016, Linda Beals has been volunteering regularly at the Turner-Dodge House and has put in more than 170 hours. Linda has spent most of her life living just a few blocks from the Turner-Dodge House and shares stories of visiting the house with a friend to “pay the rent”,• seeing an elderly Josephine Dodge-McClean sitting in the parlor, and being in awe of the two grand pianos in the house. Since she was a child, she has been fascinated with the house and its history and is passionate to promote and preserve it.

Linda is incredibly energetic and is willing to help with any job, be it working in the dusty basement or serving patrons at one of our teas. She has a knack for decorating and was indispensable in making our first Victorian Halloween display super spooky. Her table centerpieces --which combine books, silk flowers, and antique gadgets -- are beyond charming. Linda’s passion for the Turner-Dodge family history finds her doing research on her own and sharing her findings, making my job as the house historian easier and even more rewarding. I highly recommend Linda Beals for the honor of receiving this reward. She truly deserves to be recognized for her great service to the Lansing community.

Barbara Torburn

Barb Thorburn is a true champion for Delta Township. For over 20 years, she had dedicated herself to making Delta Township a great place to live, work, and play. While serving on the Parks, Recreation & Cemeteries Commissioner for all of those years, Barb has assisted the department with program development and implementation.

Barb has always gone above and beyond the call of duty and often enlists the help of her family members. During the annual Fireworks Celebration, one of the township's signature events, Barb has recruited numerous family members and friends to operate the sponsorship area. The Fireworks event would not be possible without the sponsors and the sponsorship area would not be possible without Barb.

Through her dedication and leadership, sponsors and their guests are treated to the best seats in the house, delicious food, games, and entertainment. Barb’s last meeting as commissioner was in March of 2017, she will truly be missed!

Jim Peters

Jim Peters is Saline's number one volunteer and Saline Parks & Recreation Department’s greatest asset. Jim is involved in Saline's renowned Celtic Festival where he volunteers hundreds of hours annually to make the festival spectacular. He’s an exceptionally active member of the Parks Commission. He spearheaded the effort to successfully have City Council designate a 15-acre piece of property into Salt Springs Park. He then reached out to the Archeological Society of Southeast Michigan to conduct a two year dig project to search for ancient artifacts.

Jim is involved in a non-profit organization that purchased a 17-acre parcel now designated as a nature preserve that will eventually connect to two of Saline's Parks. Jim Peters is a man of action; he is relentless in propelling projects into action. Jim has offered invaluable engineering expertise working with several scouts on their Eagle Scout projects. The Saline community is extremely fortunate to have such a passionate parks advocate in our midst.

Drew James Wyatt and Alanson Boy Scout Troop 4

In the spring of 2016, seventeen-year old Drew Wyatt inquired if there was any task in Wilderness State Park that he could take on as his Eagle Scout Project. I presented Drew with my wish list of park improvements that I simply did not have the funding or manpower to complete. At the top of that list was to improve an 800-foot section of the pondside trail to meet ADA standards, thereby making it accessible to everyone. This project was as or more demanding in planning, manpower as well as in material needs than any of the other projects on the list. Drew saw the value that this project had for people with mobility issues and therefore, did not hesitate to take on this challenging effort. Drew played the key role in all aspects of this project. Using a laser level, Drew assisted in taking out the trail to meet ADA standards. He acquired a donation from Tri-County Excavating for 50 yards of compactable material, the use of heavy equipment and the operator hours needed to complete the project.

Drew and BSA Troop 4 raised all the funds to need for various supplies as well as the material trucking costs. He organized the work days and, with his oversight, assured that the final product met ADA standards. This project is a fine example of what one young man determination, drive, and effort can do to encourage others to help him improve people’s lives.

Waterford Area Chamber of Commerce

For five years, the Waterford Area Chamber of Commerce and the Oakland County Farmers Market have enjoyed a unique collaboration on an event with a regional draw of more than 300 people. Oakland Uncorked offers guests 21 years and older an evening of culture and entertainment while experiencing the best Oakland County has to offer in culinary tastings, fine wines, and craft beer.

The collaboration is ideal, and everyone wins. Amid elegantly-appointed table decor, warm summer breezes and the sounds of a jazz band, chamber members, including 20 different local restaurant, and wine/beer vendors, gain valuable exposure to potential customers.

The Chamber of Commerce expands its service to the business community and increases its online presence by taking registration through its website. The Oakland County Farmers Market benefits by allowing its rustic charm to shine on event night.

“Working with the Chamber has become more like friends sitting down to plan a party than a business partnership,” says Market Manager Jeremy Brown. In addition to planning and promoting Oakland Uncorked through their newsletter, website and e-marketing messages, the chamber also hosts monthly networking meetings at the market and has sponsored a “Cash Mob” event in which nearly 50 chamber members descended en masse on the market to shop with vendors.

“The Waterford Area Chamber of Commerce has been an invaluable partner in promoting and expanding the reach and services of the Oakland County Farmers Market,” Brown said.

Delta Sigma Phi Gamma Tau Chapter of Eastern Michigan University

Delta Sigma Phi began volunteering with Canton Leisure Services in 2014. Over the course of 3 years, this group of college men have provided over 160 volunteers, of those 51 being unique, and have as a group, accumulated close to 700 hours of service to the Canton Community. This group has played a large, important, and meaningful role in many of our special events by providing assistance with everything from program and event set up and clean up, running games and activities with participants, and even dressing in costumes for our Trick-or-Treat Parade.

This group consistently brings a positive attitude and high energy to every program they volunteer with, always willing to provide additional help, even if it’s not expected of them. Their volunteer commitment has helped save staff hours and wages and many events would not have been as successful without their hard work and smiling faces.

This relationship is mutually beneficial as Delta Sigma Phi requires their members to complete 15 hours of community service per semester. In both 2015 and 2016 academic years, Delta Sigma Phi completed and was recognized by the University Administration, for the most accumulative hours of community service of any Greek organization at Eastern Michigan University by working with Canton Leisure Services.

The relationship between Canton Leisure Services and the Eastern Michigan University chapter of Delta Sigma Phi is unique as many communities don’t have the opportunity to partner with college fraternities. This group helps break the stereotype associated with many college fraternities.

Jim Rudicil

Jim Rudicil and the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex have a great partnership with Muskegon State Park. Over the past year alone, Jim has headed up a fundraising campaign and work bees to repair and refinish the Blockhouse. He has acted as a friends group in collecting special donations to be used at Muskegon State Park. He has been an important part of the Muskegon State Park master plan process. All the while making improvements and taking pride in the north side of the park and hosting events to promote Muskegon State Park.

Yohannes Bolds - Take One Community Programs

Take One offers comprehensive after school programs for youth that are fun, lively, and creative. He also provides summer jobs for teens with his partnership with Detroit Edison and the DNR.

Yohannes' goal is to empower young people to develop positive character traits through recreation. Youth engage in enrichment activities, develop healthy relationships enhance their sense of self-worth.

In addition to after-school programming Take One offers summer recreation opportunities involving civic programs such as community clean-ups, field trips to the annual Health Affair at Belle Isle, and special events such as operating a booth at the renowned Dream Cruise.

This community endeavor has a long history in Pontiac and is sure to continue the mission. They have impacted the quality of life for youth and their parents in Pontiac and therefore is very deserving of recognition by mParks with the Community Service Award.

Maria Adams-Lawton - Healthy Kidz Inc

Nearly every day in the news we hear another story of youth violence and hopelessness. One incredible woman had a dream and a vision to change the narrative by giving kids and adults in Detroit a safe haven from the streets. If you walk through the Robert Tindal Activity Center on 7 Mile Road in Detroit, the ceilings used to be caved in and the gym floor use to float in four inches of water. Ms. Maria Adams Lawton, Executive Director of Healthy Kidz (and retired Detroit school teacher) Inc heard from the naysayers. She was told,” you are nuts, I wouldn't waste my time” or “nobody is going to help you get that place reopen…...it's going to cost way too much money!” Ms. Lawton would not be moved from her dream. She reached out to the City of Detroit Recreation Department and she persuaded the department and the city council to let her reopen the closed center.

With the help of UAW-Ford a new community gym floor and HVAC unit was installed, new lights, facility painting, roof work, and exercise room (with weights, etc) equipment were completed. Not all work is completed to complete all of the work will be ongoing. However, the Tindal Activity Center is now re-opened.

Children, Adults(Seniors too!!) who had no place to g...now have a place to go because of Ms. Lawton's dream. Her programs have provided jobs, educational and athletic opportunities to under-served youth and adults, Bottom line...Ms. Maria Adams- Lawton has made a transformational difference along with her staff with her dream.

The Tindal Activity Center is a center of hope, love, opportunity and compassion. To quote Ms. Lawton, “ For the Tindal Activity Center to survive and it will…this center is only as good as the community that has to support it”. One woman can and has made a difference!

Chemical Bank

Since 2013, Chemical Bank has turned Columbus Day into Chemical Bank Cares Day by volunteering in and around their local communities. Some Chemical Bank employees volunteer here at Bay City State Recreation Area and help us finish small projects and maintain grounds for the pleasure and convenience of our visitors. Volunteers help tear down and rebuild picnic tables, prune branches that overhang the trails, pick up litter and debris throughout the park, help with garden maintenance, clean garbage and ashes out of the fire pits in the campground, paint structures, and help put together crafts for kids at the Saginaw Bay Visitor Center for the Mother Nature Halloween Trail. Their support helps Bay City State Recreation Area visitors enjoy the beauty and amenities we have to offer.