Monday, August 15, 2016

Steven C. Buschor Memorial Scholarship

Steve Buschor, 58, of Roanoke, Virginia, passed away at home Monday, June 6, 2016 surrounded by his family after a brief battle with liver cancer.

Steve was a loving husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, and friend to so many. He enjoyed spending time with family, riding his motorcycle, reading, anything having to do with Ohio State (especially football), cooking, woodworking, and generally just being a handyman. His family was the light of his life.

Steve was a passionate public servant dedicated to his community, having worked as Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Roanoke for nearly a decade and a half. Before moving with his family to Roanoke he was Director of Parks and Recreation in Gladstone, Missouri and Van Wert, Ohio. He was a member of the National Recreation and Park Association, past member of the board of directors for Virginia Recreation and Park Society, and past officer of the American Parks and Recreation Society, Missouri Parks and Recreation Association, and Ohio Parks and Recreation Association. Steve also served on the Roanoke Valley Campus Advisory Board for National College (Now American National University) and Roanoke Valley Greenway Commission. He also proudly served as a judge for the 2015 Miss Virginia Pageant.

Originally from Delphos, Ohio, Steve was a graduate of Delphos St. John’s High School and The Ohio State University. He graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Community Recreation Administration. He also served as an athletic trainer for Ohio State athletics where he earned and proudly wore his 1975 Rose Bowl ring. He was a member of St. Andrew's Catholic Church in Roanoke.

The 2016 Steven C. Buschor scholarship is dedicated to his memory and sponsored by Cunningham Recreation.

Steven C. Buschor Memorial Scholarship

Purpose: Designed to assist full-time, undergraduate college/university students in pursuit of a degree in the field of Leisure Services (preferably public recreation).

Award: $1000 towards the cost of undergraduate education.

Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be full time students in pursuit of a degree in the Leisure Services field and enrolled at the undergraduate level at an accredited institution.

Criteria for Selection:
  • Education background
  • If applicable, service in the Leisure Services field (employment, internships, volunteer service)
  • Professional goals
  • Involvement in the field of Leisure Services (committee work, offices held, special projects)
  • Relevancy of educational program (for which funding is requested) to applicant's future employment
  • Recommendations from three people, one of which must be from applicant's academic program
  • Should the applicant be selected, he/she will be committed to attending 2016 VRPS Annual Conference as a student (cost-free conference attendance opportunity is available for VRPS Student members) and being recognized as the recipient at the Opening Session to be held Sunday, November 6, 2016 at Hotel Roanoke.
Scholarship Deadline: All applications must be submitted by Wednesday, September 28, 2016.

Scholarship preference will be given to those individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to the profession through membership in VRPS and the Foundation of VRPS.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Back in Time

by Sandy Kellogg

Aquatic Operations Supervisor, Mount Vernon RECenter
Fairfax County Park Authority
VRPS Aquatics Resource Group 2016 Chair
VRPS 2016 Awards Co-Chair

Last week I got to go back in time!  No, not in a fancy sports car hitting 88 miles an hour, although I may have come close on 81 south on a couple of downhill stretches, I went to camp!  Every year I take a group of Boy Scouts to summer camp.  I have done some really cool things.  I've canoed a week on the New River, covering 50 miles in a canoe.  Rafted through the New River Gorge, listening to stories about Mary Draper Ingles walking back down banks of the river that we went screaming past.  This camp, however, has a special place in my heart.  For a week we go back to the time of the Mountain Men.  They were a tough lot!  Open fire cooking, no showers, shooting black powder, blacksmithing, and my personal favorite, long evenings by the campfire with my guitar and no cell service. 

My troop has gone to the same summer camp ten years in a row - Camp Ottari, just south of Blacksburg, near Claytor Lake.  I met a lot of other adult leaders, ready to give up a week of their summer and their vacation days just to come up and run a camp for their scouts.  It reminded me of what we all do, and why we do it.  Our parks and recreation programs get kids in motion, teach them physical skills or art or music, and get them out there! 

Interestingly, it was as a new trend appeared that I was headed for an old school camp - I actually caught a Pidgey sitting on my scoutmaster's arm on the way to camp!  Yes, I play Pokemon Go.  It is not to level up or get the rare ones, although I'm proud of my Pikachu, it is to understand a completely new paradigm.  Suddenly people are outside and wandering around, finding parks and facilities they did not know existed, and actually walking just to hatch those eggs.  Mythical creatures are appearing in real life backgrounds, making me wonder who caught them before the game?  It's exciting, imagining what the next adventure will bring, whether living in the past or imagining the future.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Tobacco Free Parkland Signage for VRPS Agencies

The Tobacco Use Control Program invites all Departments and Facilities to join us in eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke at local parks, trails, playgrounds, and athletic fields, by participating in the “Welcome to Our Tobacco Free Parkland” initiative sponsored by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).

It is easy to participate, by posting signage at your sites you can begin to change the behaviors of tobacco users that visit your outdoor spaces. The Tobacco Use Control Program created the new Welcome To Our Tobacco Free Parkland sign for VRPS partner agencies. The signs are FREE and available to order.

Please do not hesitate to contact the VDH for assistance in this effort.

Rita W. Miller, Cessation Services Coordinator,

Monday, July 18, 2016

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

by Sandy Kellogg

Aquatic Operations Supervisor, Mount Vernon RECenter
Fairfax County Park Authority
VRPS Aquatics Resource Group 2016 Chair
VRPS 2016 Awards Co-Chair

The Latin quote above is often translated into “Who watches the watchers”, but according to the ultimate authority, Wikipedia, it literally translates into “Who will guard the guards themselves?”.  Last week I had the privilege of being asked to come tour an aquatic facility in Loudoun County.  The Lovettsville Community Center has a beautiful seasonal pool overlooking the mountains to the north, and with their new lounge chairs it definitely has a country club atmosphere.  I saw lots of interesting things at the facility, but the one thing that sticks in my mind are the surveillance cameras that they have pointed at the pool.

Many facilities will have security cameras on the front desk or entrances, but there seems to be a reluctance to have similar surveillance for the aquatic areas.  Many people have told me that they are reluctant to have video surveillance, especially with recording capability, simply for liability issues.  Yes, having a video that shows negligence or unprofessionalism behavior would definitely show up in a courtroom, but the liability would be very straightforward, and in today’s connected world the video and pictures are happening anyway.  And as a training tool, the Lovettsville Pool has a decided advantage.  A recent rescue was caught on video, and was a great training tool for other staff.  It was also a great tool for seeing what went well, and what could go better.

I have taught a lot of aquatic risk management, and there is nothing more powerful than actual video footage.  At a recent camp director training the 13 minute video of the Yoni Gottesman incident was much more powerful that anything I could say or do.

We can use cameras to ‘watch the watchers’, but lacking the technological investment aquatic facilities can still benefit from staff that knows people are watching them.  We use unannounced audits when an aquatic staff member comes from another facility, often in street clothes, and watches the guards.  They even go as far as to put a silhouette into the water, or swimming themselves and simulating an emergency.  The staff on duty never know` when or who, and the unknown is often the extra edge to their scanning.  A simple spot check can let the guards know that people are watching, just like back in 2nd Century when the Roman poet Juvenil wondered who would guard the guards.