How has Gilbert Parks and Recreation programs, events, facilities, or parks impacted you and your family? Share your story! Your story may be featured on our webpage or on one of our social media channels!
Betty has been involved with the Town of Gilbert in Parks and Recreation for more than 12 years. She initially started visiting the Gilbert Community Center where her daughter, Jennifer, participates in the Adaptive Recreation program. Her passive role as spectator and supporter quickly turned into a volunteer role. Betty started to call Bingo for AZCEND, the organization that runs the Gilbert Senior Center, and soon she had a following that lead her to heading the entire program!
The more time Betty spent at the Gilbert Community Center, the more she got involved. With the help of her daughter, Jennifer, she will stuff goody bags for events and organize areas of the Center. Betty also runs social nights for the Adaptive Recreation program and helps with the Special Olympics bowling league. The participants love her and have been known to ask where she is if she is ever absent. As reliable as she is giving, Betty volunteers around 15-20 hours a month in Parks and Recreation. Her gift of time has been incredibly valuable and has made a positive impact in the Gilbert community. Betty states, “I am dedicated to Bingo but I am always willing to help wherever I am needed. I strongly believe in the program and can’t say enough about the staff.”
Betty is a self-starter, compassionate, and unbelievably organized. She always has a smile on her face while sharing her many talents whether it be her attention to detail, her budget-conscious nature, or her experience working with people of all abilities and ages. Betty truly exemplifies what it means to have a giving heart and has been a valuable asset to the Town of Gilbert, Gilbert Parks and Recreation, and to the Gilbert community.
Carmen was born and raised in El Paso, TX and has been living in Gilbert, AZ for 30 years. In August of 2001 she joined the Town of Gilbert as a Custodian in the Public Works Department. She went on to receive certification in the Facility Maintenance Master Technician Program and received a Bachelor of Science in Technical Management with a concentration in Project Management. With her increased knowledge and skills, Carmen was able to move into various roles including her current role as Security System Technician within the Facilities Division.
In the last 19 years, Carmen’s role within the Facilities Division has been the responsibility of various departments but found it’s home within Parks and Recreation several years ago. She loves working in Parks and Recreation because the Director and management staff really understand all the work it takes to maintain a facility. Gilbert Parks and Recreation and the Facilities Division oversee about 52 facilities within Gilbert!
Carmen also loves the culture, the work environment, and the collaboration she experiences when executing a project. “I have meet amazing employees with lots of knowledge and experience and I have noticed how passionate employees can be with their projects. Even though we are a very lean organization, we do so much!”
Her love for her work is what really sets Carmen apart. She is praised by her peers in Parks and Recreation, as well as across Town departments, as being a team player, an innovative thinker, and a friend. Carmen shows great integrity and loyalty and is an excellent example of the Town of Gilbert’s mission to anticipate change, create solutions, and help people.
Clare, a full-time teacher, has been working for the Town of Gilbert in Parks and Recreation since 1983. She started as a guitar instructor, but quickly moved into a Recreation Leader position and has filled that role for the administrative offices - formerly housed in the Gilbert Community Center (1983-1994), McQueen Park Activity Center (1994-2004), and Freestone Recreation Center (2004-Present). Her responsibilities have been incredibly varied over the years and she is always willing to do whatever it takes to serve the Gilbert community. From stuffing envelopes, to facilitating “concerts in the park”, to subbing in the administrative offices answering phones and helping patrons, Clare embodies the Town values of being driven, kind, bold, and humble. One of Clare’s unique responsibilities over the years was to serve as the “voice of class,” spending hours recording her voice with the details of every program offered by Parks and Recreation!
For Clare, the recent pandemic has allowed her to reflect on her time with Town of Gilbert. The experience of closing facilities made her realize she made the right decision to work in Parks and Recreation because she missed seeing the patrons and her co-workers! She was so excited to return to work. Clare loves working in Parks and Recreation because of the flexibility, the ability to build relationships, and the opportunity to show off her strengths. When asked what Clare is most proud of, she stated, “My employee number which is #146. I never quit!”
Frank has been with the Town of Gilbert working in Grounds Maintenance for Parks and Recreation since October 2019. His exceptional landscape and grounds maintenance work can be seen throughout Gilbert parks, including Desert Sky and Gilbert Regional Park, where he was key contributor to the park openings. Frank has even been recognized for his superior performance in the Parks Division with the receipt of the Golden Rake Award! He was nominated for this internal award (recipients are awarded a rake, wrench, and a clip board) by his peers and shows his willingness to go above and beyond.
It was at the first Gilbert Parks and Recreation Quarterly Staff Meeting that Frank knew he had made the right decision to work in Parks and Recreation. As he states, “They introduced all of the new employees and it made me feel like part of a family.” His favorite part about working in Parks and Recreation is knowing that he is part of a community and that his work helps to keep the parks where he lives and works clean, beautiful, and safe.
“I love working for Parks and Recreation because I enjoy being outside and being able to see the community enjoy the parks.” Frank is an integral part of Gilbert Parks and Recreation and the Parks Division and his dedication to his craft, as well as his team work, are valued by his peers. His commitment to the Gilbert community is definitely above and beyond!
Jody has been highlighted in the July 2020 issue of the Parks and Recreation Magazine, distributed by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). View the article here. She is also featured on the NRPA's social media @nrpa.
Jody has been an employee of the Town of Gilbert in Parks and Recreation since January 1996 and has been instrumental in the development of the Gilbert Park Rangers. This team started with two, nonuniformed caretakers assigned to assist with maintenance duties at Town parks. Today, this team is fully uniformed and work closely with Town Facilities, Maintenance, and Police Divisions to protect and secure town parks, facilities, and resources. The Gilbert Park Rangers also assist visitors, provide education, and have a variety of enforcement authority.
In addition to her Park Ranger responsibilities, Jody oversees court-appointed community service and county crews, rescues and rehabilitates wildlife, works on graffiti abatement, and even volunteers herself for ball field drags! She is also a certified playground inspector, using her keen attention for detail to maintain the safety and longevity of Town playgrounds and equipment. Jody also gives back to the Gilbert community through a successful Junior Ranger program. This program, facilitated by Jody and her staff, educates participants on the responsibilities of a park ranger. A total of 24 participants have completed the program so far!
Jody is a respected member of the Parks and Recreation team and is known for her outstanding job performance and desire to advance the Gilbert Park Rangers. Her attention to detail and willingness to help wherever needed has allowed her peers to successfully manage parks, implement programs, and host special events. She was Gilbert Employee of the Quarter in 2001 and the Gilbert MVP for Innovation in 2014.
Jody is an asset to Parks and Recreation and the profession of being a Park Ranger. She is a role-model and a tremendous leader for her team.
Scott is currently one of three Field Supervisors working in Gilbert Parks and Recreation in the Parks Division. He started working for the Town in 2001 and knew from the moment he accepted his job offer, that he made the right decision to work in Parks and Recreation. His decision was further solidified by the Town’s dedication to its employees during the economic downturn in 2008 and again throughout the 2020 pandemic. His positive experiences, despite challenging circumstances, keeps Scott dedicated to his work and to the Gilbert community.
One of Scott’s favorite things about working in Parks and Recreation is the thread of purpose and commitment that runs through the organization. He states, “I know the work we do matters and can make a difference in people’s lives for the better. I have truly enjoyed working with the individuals that ‘get it.’” Scott deeply appreciates, respects, and values his coworkers and notices daily their commitment to their team and community, not only in the best of times but also in the most difficult of situations. In his time in Parks and Recreation, he has enjoyed observing coworkers better themselves and, in turn, changing the circumstances and possibilities for themselves, families, and loved ones.
Working in Parks and Recreation has led to some interesting experiences for Scott and his coworkers. Specifically, the critters! Dogs, cats, birds, ducks, lizards, turtles, rabbits, geese, snakes, and who knows what else have been found, rescued, and often nursed back to health by the Parks staff. Word to the wise: the “Caution: Animal Inside” sign occasionally posted to the restroom door should never be dismissed!
Scott is considered by his peers as being passionate, innovative, and thought-provoking. The beautiful landscape and maintenance of many of the Gilbert parks is a direct result of his leadership and attention to detail. For Scott, working in Parks and Recreation provides him with the opportunity to enjoy his passion for the earth - grass, trees, and plants. He also receives a great deal of satisfaction working in a situation where the fruits of his labor are relatively direct and apparent to the experience of the Gilbert community.
If you have been involved in Gilbert Parks and Recreation programs or events, you have probably interacted with Warren! While his current role is as an Administrative Assistant II at the Parks and Recreation main offices, since 2007 Warren has also filled the roles of:
- Characters such as Santa, the Easter Bunny, and event mascots
- Driver of cars, busses, and floats
- Nature Educator
- Program Assistant within Adaptive Recreation
- Recreation Leader & Senior Recreation Leader
- Special Events Assistant
Only in Parks and Recreation would Warren perform in front of 1,500 people as the Beast, with opera-trained and fellow staff member Taryn Cantrell performing as Belle, for the Movie in the Park showing of Beauty and the Beast! His experiences have been unique and varied and he considers them each an adventure to be proud of.
After a career in air transportation and fitness, a former supervisor invited Warren to join the staff at Freestone Recreation Center. He decided a second job would help his finances, so he agreed to the opportunity. Warren attributes his move to full-time work and longevity within Parks and Recreation to his initial group of coworkers who inspired him. In fact, he likes to tell people that Parks and Recreation chose him! Warren even met his wife working for Gilbert Parks and Recreation, but that is a story for another day...
Warren loves working in Parks and Recreation because it is quick moving and always changing. You just never know what will happen next!
If people told me years ago I would drive in a parade, be a Zombie in a haunted house fundraiser, a college mascot on TV, a performer in front of hundreds of people, a teacher, or a Swamp Monster I would have told them they were crazy. I dearly love doing all that and more. I also dearly love the people. I have made lifelong friends in Parks and Recreation that I will never give up!