Monday, October 20, 2014

2014 Foundation of VRPS Jesse A. Reynolds Memorial Scholarship Winner

by Nancy Turnage, VRPS Central Office

Jesse A. Reynolds was a parks and recreation director for the City of Richmond. He was instrumental in establishing professional parks and recreation "registration", which was the predecessor to Virginia's CPRP program. Upon his passing, Jesse's family, including son Ron Reynolds, a former director in Campbell County and a former VRPS Foundation Board member, established a scholarship in his name.

Designed to assist professionals currently employed in leisure services (preferably public recreation), this $1500 scholarship is granted to assist in graduate level education, either on a part-time or full-time basis, and is awarded every other year.  The 2014 scholarship applicant pool was extremely admirable; the Foundation Scholarship Committee was more than impressed with their accolades, initiative, and potential.  This year's winner is Rebecca Flaherty of Lovettsville, Virginia.

Rebecca is employed by Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority and is a working towards her Master of Science in Sport and Recreation Studies at George Mason University, with an expected graduation in Spring, 2016.  Specifically, she is the Assistant Manager of the Upper Potomac Regional Park Golf Pro Shop, to include operations, staff supervision, retail, and more, as well as assisting with managing all other operations of the park, such as facility rentals, boating operations, waterpark functions, and much more.  In a former role with NVRPA, Rebecca assisted with management of the Upper Potomac Regional Parks, to include Temple Hall Farm, Balls Bluff Battlefield, Red Rock Wilderness, Whites Ford, and Seneca Regional Parks.  And, to round things out even more, she is a former National Park Service Ranger.

"My graduate program at George Mason University has allowed me the opportunity to realize and develop my long term goal of fostering civic development within the community. My thesis will focus directly on this idea, and my study will be based on the outdoor programming that Adventure Links, based out of Hemlock Overlook Regional Park, offers.

Adventure Links offers similar recreational opportunities as Outward Bound and National Outdoor Leadership School, only on a smaller scale. There has never been a study done on their programming, and I believe the results will benefit them, as well as the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority. I would love to be able to help promote both agencies more, as well as provide evidence of the need for more programs like Adventure Links."

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