Employee-funded scholarships help Blue Valley Recreation staff.
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (7/23/2012) – Enthusiastic, hard-working employees and dedicated volunteers are the strength of any organization. Blue Valley Recreation Commission greatly values their 46 full-time employees, 650 part-time/seasonal employees, and numerous volunteers who donate their time. This program personifies the sense of commitment and community that employees and volunteers both experience.
In 2009, Executive Director Steve Baysinger envisioned a way to honor staff and volunteers by establishing an annual scholarship. Because of the relationship between Blue Valley Rec and the Blue Valley School District, he believed an educational scholarship was a natural fit. These scholarships are funded entirely by voluntary contributions from staff and commissioners. The funds are granted to assist with post-secondary education expenses. Scholarships are available to those who have either volunteered a minimum of 20 hours or been employed 80+ hours during the most recent fiscal year.
Jennifer Suppes and Brooke Hendrickson have been selected as this year’s scholarship recipients. Jennifer has been a dance instructor at the Activity Center for 18 months. Brooke has worked in concession stands at the Recreation Complex since 2008.
Jennifer, from Lindsborg KS, will enter her senior year this fall at Olathe’s Mid America Nazarene University. Jennifer’s area of study is elementary education. She is also involved in a student ministry focused on spiritual leadership. As a dance instructor, Jennifer was able to blend her course of study and her passion for dance. She speaks fondly of Ms. Marilynn, lead instructor of the Blue Valley Rec dance program. “My favorite part of teaching dance has been working with Ms. Marilynn, who is very special to me,” Jennifer reflects. “She is always encouraging and cares about me personally.”
Brooke graduated from Blue Valley High School in 2009. This fall she’ll enter her junior year at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, MO. Her course of study is children’s ministry. Brooke said it was great working with other employees and that her self-confidence has improved from serving the public and learning how to deal with patrons. She added, “It’s fun, and I enjoy the camaraderie with “regulars” who come to the complex.”
Steve Baysinger, Director of Blue Valley Rec, noted “Offering continuing education scholarships is just one of the ways staff lives our vision of “Enriching Lives, Strengthening a Spirit of Community.” He added, “Blue Valley Recreation Commission may be the only parks and recreation agency in Kansas to fund educational scholarships with voluntary employee contributions. It makes me proud to be part of this Commission.”