RUTLAND—Rutland Recreation and Parks superintendent Cindi Wight was recently invited to speak on the topic of hosting community running and mountain biking events at the National Recreation and Park Association’s annual conference in Las Vegas, Nev., which took place Sept. 15-17. Wight was also inducted into the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration during her time in Las Vegas. The academy maintains an active membership of 100 distinguished professionals and 25 educators committed to the advancement of the Park and Recreation field. Ed Koenemann, retired director of Vermont State Parks, nominated Wight.
“I was honored to represent Rutland and Vermont,” said Wight after returning from her trip. “I was inspired by the presentations at the conference and energized to return to Rutland and positively impact our community.”
Her presentation focused on creating accessible, low-cost fitness opportunities, something that the department has embraced with its Go Play races during the summer months. Wight presented with two Oregon colleagues, Jeanne Sprague of Portland and Phil Lewis of Northern Wasco County Park & Recreation District in The Dalles, Ore.
The theme of health and wellness was discussed early and often at the conference. The opening address was presented by United States Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, who stressed the important role parks and recreation agencies play in improving public health. Murthy has released a report highlighting the need for more walkable communities to create a healthier nation. He asked the more than 7,000 parks and recreation professionals in attendance to engage their communities to prevent chronic disease such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
“Locally, Rutland Recreation and Parks Department is working with community partners to get our community moving more through Rutland Area Physical Activity Coalition’s 100 Miles in 100 Days program,” said Wight. For example, the distances were measured around local athletic fields to encourage parents and siblings to go for a walk while waiting for a game to start or practice to finish, rather than waiting in cars.
The department maintains 12 community parks. Included within these parks are multiple athletic fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, picnic areas, playgrounds, an ice arena, the main office, park operations and the trails at Pine Hill Park. Current projects include the renovation of Rotary Park, a new park development on Baxter Street, resurfacing of tennis courts and the demolition of Center Street Alley. Recreation programs are offered to support the community’s athletic interests, cultural arts activities, special events and general interests.
The community is encouraged to get up and moving and join the Halloween 5K run and walk on Saturday Oct. 31. The pre-registration fee is $5.