Successful Cleanup Day at Tetherow!

 Spring blossoms on the plum trees at Tetherow Crossing Park

Spring blossoms on the plum trees at Tetherow Crossing Park

Each year, Leadership Redmond, a leadership development program put on annually by the Redmond Chamber of Commerce, selects group service projects to benefit the Redmond community.  This year, one of those service projects included the Tetherow Homestead, the oldest structure in Deschutes County (built 1878).

On the last Saturday in April, volunteers converged on Tetherow Crossing Park (5810 NW Tetherow Rd.) for a cleanup day.  Lowe’s donated 27 bags of mulch to surround the trees around the house, which had been recommended by an arborist last summer, to care for the historic grove.  High Country Disposal donated a dumpster that volunteers filled with debris from the house and yard.  Summit Cleaning & Restoration evaluated the property in the days before and provided not only their cleaning and safety expertise, but staff and equipment as well.  They outfitted the project with masks, a shopvac, work lamp, air scrubber, and a generator to power everything.  Three of their employees joined the workforce and took on much of the heavy lifting with regard to the dirtiest portions of the homestead.

 Thanks, Summit!

Thanks, Summit!

The difference before and after the cleanup day is remarkable.  Floorboards and a striking gem-toned strip of linoleum emerged from beneath the dust and broken glass and debris from thirty years of critters and squatters. 

 Summit staff setting up air scrubber BEFORE cleanup

Summit staff setting up air scrubber BEFORE cleanup

 Summit staff finishing up AFTER cleanup

Summit staff finishing up AFTER cleanup

 Who knew?!

Who knew?!

Cobwebs were swept aside and surfaces wiped down to reveal a shock of yellow linoleum in the kitchen. 

 Before

Before

 After - look at those countertops!

After - look at those countertops!

Once the stiffened carpet and cracking blue shower curtains were shuffled outside...

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...a tiny seahorse skeleton suspended from a string as bathroom decoration was suddenly and puzzlingly visible! 

 Whaaaa?!

Whaaaa?!

Outside, dead branches and leaves were trimmed and raked away, a large slash pile was removed, and native lava rock was arranged to hem in a neat diameter of brown mulch around the tree trunks and along the west side of the house.

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Jess Tetherow's grandson, Dave, even came out to help!

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Over the course of the day, neighborhood residents driving by on their weekend errands would brake suddenly as they noticed the door to the homestead ajar and the buzz of activity around the site.  Many stopped to sneak a peak inside, compare the present day view with historic photos from the early 1900s, and get caught up on our plans to preserve the homestead – now in the architectural planning phase.  Over and over we heard “give me a call next time!”  The homestead, which has long stood vacant, is obviously still valued and remembered fondly in this part of town.

 The oldest part of the house - the only remaining original section - features more than a century of layers of different colored wall paper, and newspapers dating back to the 1900s in the walls for insulation.

The oldest part of the house - the only remaining original section - features more than a century of layers of different colored wall paper, and newspapers dating back to the 1900s in the walls for insulation.

We are grateful to Leadership Redmond, Summit Cleaning & Restoration, and Lowe’s for making our Tetherow cleanup a success!

We look forward to welcoming kids and families to the property for our Tetherow Pioneer Day on May 26th to celebrate Historic Preservation Month.  We’ll have a pioneer general store and penny candy shop for kids, pioneer era games and an introduction to the early Native American game of stickball, the ancestor of modern lacrosse.  We will be doing site tours with historic photos and the Deschutes Public Library will present an information booth with genealogy research assistance and listening stations with digital recordings of oral histories of life in early Central Oregon.

To inquire about a private site tour for your family or group, feel free to email margaret.maffai@raprd.org

Celebrate STEM Week at RAPRD's First Ever Touch a Truck Event!

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May 6 – 13 is STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) week in Oregon.  Schools and other organizations have scheduled dozens of STEM themed events around the state. 

To celebrate, RAPRD is hosting a Touch a Truck event on Saturday, May 12th (11am – 2pm at Redmond High School) to spark curiosity about machines, trades, and experiential learning

Touch a Truck will bring together trucks and other big machines from local organizations and businesses so that kids can see and touch them, ask questions of the drivers who work with these machines every day, and (where allowed), climb up in the truck to learn what it can do.

Thanks to the fantastic staff of Central Oregon STEM Hub, kids can roll up their sleeves and get their arts and crafts on with auto parts donated by Marshall's Automotive and Kids Build kits donated by the Redmond Home Depot.

We would like to thank all of the awesome companies and agencies joining us at this event to show off their vehicles and staff.  Here are a few of our partners and their trucks!

Baker Equipment

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City of Redmond

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High Country Disposal

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Redmond Airport

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Redmond Fire & Rescue

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Knife River

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Redmond Police Department

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Celebrate Historic Preservation Month in Central Oregon with Tons of Free Events!

 A fresh bloom on the historic Tetherow plum trees (It's a metaphor for keeping the past alive, get it?!)

A fresh bloom on the historic Tetherow plum trees (It's a metaphor for keeping the past alive, get it?!)

This year, Redmond Area Park and Recreation District is joining the Deschutes County Historical Society, Deschutes County Historic Landmarks Commission, the landmarks commissions of Bend and Redmond, Deschutes Land Trust, and other organizations to celebrate Historic Preservation Month.  These organizations and more are hosting events throughout Central Oregon to honor historic preservation success stories – local places that have been saved and restored – and explore how historic preservation maintains our links to the past, and enhances our quality of life today.

For our part, RAPRD is hosting an event at Tetherow Crossing Park to celebrate the unique history of the park, and highlight our efforts to preserve the Tetherow Homestead, the oldest structure in Deschutes County, built in 1878. This homestead was one of the first sites where pioneer families could safely cross the Deschutes River, and the home also served as an inn, general store, blacksmith, and was the site of the first brewery in Deschutes County.  We will have activities for all ages, including:

·         A model general store with penny candy

·         Pioneer-era games

·         A presentation on the Native American game of stickball, the ancestor of modern

lacrosse.

·         Nature crafts and mountain man skills

·         Tours of the property with historic photos

·         Oral histories of early Central Oregonians offered by Deschutes Public Library

·         A booth presenting the genealogical research services the library offers to help local

families trace their roots.

 

Thanks to Summit Cleaning and Restoration, and the Leadership Redmond Class of 2018, the Tetherow Homestead, which has long been closed to the public for safety reasons, has been cleaned and will have some viewpoints open for the public to see (although not enter) inside.

 Dave Shirley, descendant of the Tetherow family, volunteering at the homestead.

Dave Shirley, descendant of the Tetherow family, volunteering at the homestead.

We hope you will join us, and our partner organizations across Central Oregon, to explore efforts to preserve our local heritage through photo displays, hikes, talks, and other events throughout the month of May.  The Kickoff is WEDNESDAY, MAY 2ND at Redmond City Hall, beginning at 5pm!

***To arrange a small-group tour of the Tetherow site, or to inquire about donating funds or volunteer work to the Tetherow preservation project, please email margaret.maffai@raprd.org.

 

HISTORIC PRESERVATION MONTH 2018 - SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

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May 2nd, 5pm to 7pm - Preservation Month Showcase, Redmond City Hall

Stop by Redmond City Hall to celebrate the kick-off of Historic Preservation Month, with a variety of preservation exhibits and activities, and see what events are happening during May in Central Oregon. Visit displays of historic properties in Central Oregon and learn about the many supportive organizations for historic preservation. Enjoy a slide show, snacks and refreshments, too. Join tours of both the Historic Downtown District, and of the newly renovated City Hall (formerly the Evergreen School and Redmond Union High School). The Vault Taphouse will offer post-tour drinks and live music!

MAY 3rd, 10am to 12pm - History + Geology Walk at Willow Springs Preserve, guided by Carol Wall & Derek Loeb, Deschutes Land Trust

Join the Deschutes Land Trust, Carol Wall, and Derek Loeb for a spring history and geology walk at Willow Springs Preserve. We’ll wander the meadow and learn about its underlying geology. Then, we’ll dig into the Preserve’s history, including its relationship to the Santiam Wagon Road and those that lived at nearby Camp Polk Meadow Preserve. Registration is required and opens 1 month prior to the event. Please register online at www.deschuteslandtrust.org/hikes

Hike Rating: Moderate, 1 to 2 mile hike on old roads and through grassy meadows.

What to bring: Snacks/Lunch, water, sturdy hiking shoes. Dress for the weather.

MAY 3rd, 6:30pm - “Presidents Who Shaped the West”, presented by Richard Etulain,

Bowman Museum, Prineville

Join us at the Bowman Museum in Downtown Prineville for author and Western scholar, Richard Etulain, for an informative presentation on the United States Presidents that helped shape the West! Admission is

Free. Bowman Museum is located at 246 N Main Street, in Prineville.

MAY 5th, 10am to 12pm - Hindman History Wander at Camp Polk Meadow Preserve, guided by Carol Wall & Jan Hodgers, Deschutes Land Trust

Join the Deschutes Land Trust, Carol Wall, and Jan Hodgers for a history wander around Camp Polk Meadow Preserve. Explore the starring role that Camp Polk played in the history of Central Oregon as one of the original stopping places on the Santiam Wagon Road. Admire the craftsmanship of the Hindman barn (one of Deschutes County's oldest structures), and imagine what living in the Hindman house would have been like with a descendant of the Hindman family. Registration is required and opens 1 month prior to the event. Please register online at www.deschuteslandtrust.org/hikes

Hike Rating: Easy, less than 1 mile walk on gravel trail. Portions will be off-trail through a grassy meadows.

What to bring: Snacks, water, sturdy hiking shoes. Dress for the weather.

MAY 7th, 5:30pm - Deschutes County Historic Landmarks Commission Meeting

The Deschutes County HLC holds its regular meeting which coincides with Historic Preservation Month. Planning staff will highlight historic preservation month activities and upcoming projects supported by the renewed Certified Local Government (CLG) grant program. Join us at 1300 NW Wall Street, Barnes & Sawyer Room.

MAY 7th, 6pm to 7pm - Know Heritage: “Quackery: The Heritage of Medicine”, Downtown Bend branch of Deschutes Public Library

Community Librarian Nathan Pedersen presents the worst ways to cure anything. Free admission. Meet at the Brooks Room at the Downtown Bend Library.

May 9th, 12pm to 1pm - Something Old is New in Sisters, Sisters Park & Recreation District. Come learn about the new Three Sisters Historical Society – their mission and vision, the successful first events held this past winter, and the activities planned for this summer. Meet the founders and see a slide show of historic photos that bring early Sisters to life. Held at Sisters Park and Recreation District, 1750 McKinney Butte Road, next to the high school. Event is free of charge.

May 10th, 6:30pm - “The Roots of History: Oregon’s Heritage Trees,” presented by Nate

Pedersen, Bowman Museum, Prineville

Join us at the Bowman Museum in Downtown Prineville for author and community librarian, Nate Pedersen, for a very popular presentation on the Oregon Heritage Tree Program: A Virtual Tour of Oregon's Historic Trees. Admission is Free. Bowman Museum is located at 246 N Main Street, in Prineville.

MAY 13th, 12pm to 4pm - Bend Open Streets in Old Bend Historic District

Bend Open Streets will be on Sunday, May 13th (Mother's Day!) for the NEW “Old-town” Bend route. Bend Open Streets is an initiative of Commute Options, City of Bend, Oregon Government and Bend Park & Recreation District. Temporally closing 1 mile of streets to automobile traffic, so that people may use them for walking, biking, skating, playing and more! It is free, family focused and dog friendly! Bring your bicycle, or just your feet and explore the streets in a safe, healthy and more livable way. Learn more: https://bendopenstreets.org

MAY 15th, 6pm to 7pm - Know Heritage: “Savages in My Family Tree”, Downtown Bend

Deschutes Public Library

Every family's history has hidden stories of characters and their capers, but not everyone goes out of their way to learn about their escapades. Join Clinton K. Clark on his journey to meet and discover the stories of his roughneck relatives who helped settle Oregon with all around Wild West pizzazz.

MAY 15th, 6pm - Bend Historic Landmarks Commission meeting, Bend City Council Chambers.

The Bend Landmarks Commission regular meeting coincides with Preservation Month, open to the public. The Bend City Council’s proclamation of Preservation Month will be presented (as well as at the regular City Council session on May 2nd). City Hall is located at 710 NW Wall Street.

MAY 15th, 7:30pm - “Historic Fire Lookouts of Central Oregon”, featuring Penni Borghi, at Archaeological Society of Central Oregon (ASCO)

The ASCO May meeting and presentation will feature Penni Borghi, Archaeologist with the Deschutes National Forest, with an overview of the historic of fire lookouts in Central Oregon. ASCO’s regular business meeting begins at 7:00 PM, and the speaker is scheduled for 7:30 PM, at the COAR building,

2112 NE 4th St., Bend. The event is free to the public, but donations are gladly accepted.

 Still from documentary film Queens of the Roleo

Still from documentary film Queens of the Roleo

MAY 16th, 6pm to 7pm - Know Heritage: “Queens of the Roleo”, Downtown Bend

Deschutes Public Library

Screen the documentary and meet the director of this unique film! Documentary film maker Dave Jones discusses how and why he decided to document the story of four girls from a small Idaho town who earned 11 log rolling World Championships in 14 years and why it's important to preserved the lost chapters of our heritage.

MAY 17th, 5:30pm to 7pm - History Wander at Indian Ford Meadow Preserve, guided by Kelly Madden, Deschutes Land Trust

Join the Deschutes Land Trust and Kelly Madden for a short stroll to learn about one of our flagship Preserves - Indian Ford Meadow. Explore the human history of the meadow including both Native American and pioneer use. Then, learn about the history of the mountains that surround the meadow while you stroll along a gravel path throughout pine forest and sage meadow. Registration is required and opens 1 month prior to the event. Please register online at www.deschuteslandtrust.org/hikes

Rating: Easy, ~1 mile walk, partially accessible.

What to bring: Snacks, water, sturdy walking shoes. Dress for the weather.

MAY 17th, 6pm to 7pm - “Pioneer Settlers of the Fort Rock Valley” Panel Discussion,

High Desert Museum

Join photographer Rich Bergeman and a panel of descendants of pioneer settlers for a discussion of the history of the lost communities of the Fort Rock Valley facilitated by Andries Fourie, the High Desert Museum’s Curator of Art and Community Engagement. The panel discussion is part of the programming for the exhibition High Desert Dreams: The Lost Homesteads of the Fort Rock Basin, which features photographs by Rich Bergeman. Museum Members $3, non-members $5

MAY 17th, 6:30pm - “Wandering the High Desert with Stories and Poems” Cowboy Poetry, presented by Rick Steber, Bowman Museum

Join us at the Bowman Museum in Downtown Prineville forNorthwest history writer, speaker and educator, Rick Steber, for an entertaining evening of stories and poetry about the High Desert. Admission is Free. Bowman Museum is located at 246 N Main Street, in Prineville.

MAY 18th, 12pm to 1pm - Know Heritage: “Savages in My Family Tree”, Sunriver Library

Every family's history has hidden stories of characters and their capers, but not everyone goes out of their way to learn about their escapades. Join Clinton K. Clark on his journey to meet and discover the stories of his roughneck relatives who helped settle Oregon with all around Wild West pizzazz.

May 19th, 10am to 3pm - Nels & Lilian Andersen Homestead Days

Instant Landscaping Company invites you to visit and learn about the Nels and Lilian Andersen

Homestead. They will share the story of a wonderful Bend pioneer couple and their family homestead and dairy. Instant Landscaping will dedicate a new interpretive sign for the Homestead and Dairy Farmhouse.

The staff is proud to be part of a Bend Landmark property and look forward to showing the unique Tudor farmhouse and homestead to visitors. Instant Landscaping is located at 63160 Nels Anderson Road, accessed from Robal Road (off of Highway 97).

MAY 22nd, 6pm to 7pm - Redmond Know Heritage: Redmond City Hall, presented by

Scott Woodford, Redmond Public Library

Join Scott Woodford, Senior Planner for the city of Redmond, for a look back and a look forward on Redmond. Listen to a discussion put on by City of Redmond officials on the story of how the 1922 high school became a new city hall for the community, including how the City ultimately decided to remodel the historic building, the design process, and details on how construction occurred, including several surprises during the process, followed by a tour of the building. Scott Woodford is Senior Planner for the City of Redmond and staff liaison to the City's Historic Landmarks Commission.

MAY 23rd, 4pm to 7pm - Santiam Wagon Road Walk at Whychus Canyon Preserve, guided by Kelly Madden, Deschutes Land Trust

Join the Deschutes Land Trust and Kelly Madden to explore the 150-year old Santiam Wagon Road at Whychus Canyon Preserve. Hike back in time and imagine traveling west in a wagon train to transport wool from Eastern Oregon to the Willamette Valley, or east to graze livestock on the grasses of the desert. Explore the site of an early homestead, and the signs and symbols still visible along the trail today that help tell the story of travel and commerce in the high desert. Registration is required and opens 1month prior to the event. Please register online at www.deschuteslandtrust.org/hikes

Hike Rating: Moderate, ~3 mile hike on old roads through juniper forest.

What to bring: Snacks, water, sturdy hiking shoes. Dress for the weather.

May 24th, 6:30pm - “Of Plants, Rocks and Peoples: a Geobotanical Tour of Central Oregon” presented by Stu Garrett, Bowman Museum, Prineville

Join us at the Bowman Museum in Downtown Prineville for a great presentation of geobotanical features of Central Oregon, by Stu Garrett, Botany, Agriculture Plant Science Researcher with COCC. Admission is Free. Bowman Museum is located at 246 N Main Street, in Prineville.

MAY 24th, 4:30pm to 6pm - Redmond Historic Landmarks Commission meeting, Redmond City Hall

The Redmond Landmarks Commission May agenda may include an update on the Commission’s Oregon State Historic Preservation grant applications. City Hall tours will also be offered. Meetings are held at City Hall, at 411 SW 9th Street.

MAY 25th, 4pm to 7pm - “Cowboys and Settlers in Sisters”, Sisters HomeLand Realty

As part of the Fourth Friday Art Stroll in Sisters, come view the artwork of cowboy artist Len Babb and meet the artist. The art will be on display in the 1908 home of Sisters early settler, stockman, blacksmith, and businessman Hardy Allen. Current owner of the house, Ali Mayea of Sisters HomeLand Realty, will provide refreshments and give guided tours of the house. Get a glimpse of early day Sisters, learn about the new Three Sisters Historical Society that will be offering for sale historic photos of Sisters, and view Babb’s work that reflects the life of the working cowboy, so much a part of the history of Central Oregon.

The historic Hardy Allen House is located at 401 East Main Avenue. Free of charge.

MAY 25th-28th - Ponderosa Mountain Men Little Deschutes Spring Rendezvous, La Pine

Each Memorial Day weekend, the Ponderosa Mountain Men organization promotes and encourages the historical interest and safe use of black powder firearms, with a recreation of historical accurate dress, lifestyle and events. Dry camping is available, and events are numerous, including shooting events, trading, a cook-off and potlucks. Contact Andy Anderson at 541-808-5392 for additional information, or visit www.ponderosamountainmen.org. Registration is required. The weekend event takes place south of

La Pine, 4 miles off of Highway 97, heading west on Highway 58.

MAY 26th, 12pm to 4pm - Tetherow Crossing Pioneer Day, Redmond

All ages are invited to join Redmond Park & Recreation District and Deschutes Public Library for a special event at the historic Tetherow Homestead (5810 NW Tetherow Road). Learn about the history of the homestead and river crossing, and our plans for the coming restoration. We’ll have Pioneer Era games, a general store with penny candy, and mountain man skills for kiddos, as well as site tours, Central Oregon oral histories, and an intro to genealogy research.

MAY 29th, 7pm (doors open at 5:30pm) - History Pub - “Camp Abbot: Training for War on the High Desert”, presented by Tor Hanson, McMenamin’s Old St. Francis School, Father Luke Room

Today Sunriver is an idyllic community in Central Oregon, but during World War II, it was the site of Camp Abbot, the western-most engineer replacement training center of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Under the leadership of Col. Frank Besson, the U.S. Army trained 90,000 men at the camp, from 1943 through 1944. There, amongst pine trees and sagebrush, soldiers endured sub-freezing winters and hundred-degree summers. Local historian Tor Hanson has lived in Bend, Oregon for more than 25 years. He is a board member of the Deschutes County Historical Society and editor of its monthly newsletter, The Homesteader.

Event is free but reservations are requested and available by visiting www.deschuteshistory.org. McMenamin’s is located at 700 NW Bond Street in Bend.

MAY 30th, 10am to 1pm - Santiam Wagon Road Walk at Whychus Canyon Preserve, guided by Kelly Madden, Deschutes Land Trust

Join the Deschutes Land Trust and Kelly Madden to explore the 150-year old Santiam Wagon Road at Whychus Canyon Preserve. Hike back in time and imagine traveling west in a wagon train to transport wool from Eastern Oregon to the Willamette Valley, or east to graze livestock on the grasses of the desert. Explore the site of an early homestead and the signs and symbols still visible along the trail today, that help tell the story of travel and commerce in the high desert. Registration is required and opens 1month prior to the event. Please register online at www.deschuteslandtrust.org/hikes

Hike Rating: Moderate, ~3 mile hike on old roads and through juniper forest.

What to bring: Snacks/Lunch, water, sturdy hiking shoes. Dress for the weather.

MONTH-LONG ACTIVITIES

MAY 15th to 31st - Preservation Success in Central Oregon, La Pine Library

Through informative graphic displays, learn about local historic projects in Central Oregon that have been preserved, restored or rehabilitated. Historic structures and properties include the Penney Galleria in Bend; Redmond City Hall (Redmond Union High School and Evergreen School); Deedon Homestead in La Pine; Liberty Theater in Bend; Paulina Lake IOOF Cabins; Sisters Belfry; Bend Amateur Athletic Club; French House in Bend; Redmond Freight Depot; Trinity Episcopal Church in Bend; and Mirror Pond in Bend. La Pine Library is located at 16425 First Street.

Guided Tour of Historic Downtown Bend - Fridays & Saturdays in May, 10am, Bend Visitor Center

Join a Bend expert from Visit Bend for a free one-hour guided tour of the historic downtown core. Learn a bit of the past as well as the ins-and-outs and hotspots of present-day Bend and Central Oregon. Dates include 5/4, 5/5, 5/11, 5/12, 5/18, 5/19, 5/25 and 5/26. ADVANCE RESERVATIONS REQUIRED. Please call 541-382-8048 for details, recommended for children 10 and older. Meet at 750 NW Lava Road.

Support Redmond Homeless Through Our 2018 April Showers Campaign - Donate Today!

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Perhaps you’ve seen this sign on flyers at Cascade Swim Center or the RAPRD Activity Center.  We at RAPRD take our role in the Redmond community seriously.  Our programs are made possible by public support and we, in turn, make it possible for the public to participate in fitness and recreation offerings without the membership fees required by private clubs and gyms.  Although our primary purpose is not social services, our role as a public entity dedicated to community wellness uniquely positions us to serve otherwise underserved populations. 

We endeavor to never lose track of that sense of purpose.  For example, our Adventure Quest before and after school program, and our Camp Adventure Quest summer program for kids provides healthy snacks to keep kids full of energy and playing hard all day.  We offer scholarships so that community members have the opportunity to experience wellness and recreation programs regardless of ability to pay.  We offer our Hero Pass to honor Redmond veterans and encourage them to participate in programs with their families.

Longer than all these programs, however, going back decades, we have offered use of our shower facilities at a low cost.  We understand that, for many in Redmond, recreational and enrichment programming simply isn’t on the table.  We want to do our part to make wellness a possibility even for those who must dedicate all their money, all their time, and all their energy just to getting by.

 Photo by  Mark O'Rourke

Photo by Mark O'Rourke

Around 1 in 5 of the homeless or housing insecure in Central Oregon is considered “unsheltered,” meaning camping, squatting, or living out of a car.  Some families may “double up” with neighbors or friends, and some may live in RVs without utilities.  Central Oregon’s homeless include veterans and the elderly, and more than 40% of Central Oregon’s homeless population are children under 18.

These numbers only scratch the surface.  According to Chris Clouart, Managing Director at Bethlehem Inn homeless shelter in Bend, “the annual homeless count is a snapshot.  It has a limited reach.  If you are accessing the shelters, you are in a position to be counted, but if you are trying to keep your campsite from being found and taken away from you, you are probably off the radar.”  Clouart estimates that the annual homeless count doesn’t capture a sizeable percentage of Central Oregon’s homeless.  “The count is probably inaccurate by about a third,” he says.

 Photo by  Karim Corban

Photo by Karim Corban

Homelessness increases in the summer as an influx of hard-working people move to the area to fill the seasonal jobs that tourism and construction bring to the area.  With housing prices high and climbing, and a very tight rental market, these people might have regular jobs but no place to live.  They’re filling a needed gap in the workforce, trying to do jobs that keep Central Oregon’s economy humming in the summers, but they don’t have access to something as basic as showers or running water.  They don’t fit the stereotypical image most people have of a homeless person, and in fact, don’t see themselves that way.  “They’re living out of their car, so they aren’t homeless in their own eyes,” Clouart explains.  They’re a hard working man or woman who says “well, I’m not homeless, I just can’t find housing.’”  This mindset means that people who are working, but unsheltered may not seek help from local resources. 

For people in this situation, “The most critical issues are the issues of hygiene,” Clouart explains, “Running water just seems like such a natural thing to most people.  You don’t realize what a necessary thing it is until you don’t have it.”

 Photo by  chubstock

Photo by chubstock

At RAPRD, we recognize water as a force for wellness.  We see it in our aqua fitness classes and in water therapy for patrons with injuries or disabilities.  Water can be restorative.  A shower is more than just shampoo.  A shower is a moment of peace, of independence, of purification.  “To be able to say ‘I feel clean,’” Clouart describes, “what an emotional boost that can be to someone.” Access to shower facilities improves mental and physical well-being, can restore confidence, and helps job applicants maintain a professional appearance. 

For such a simple thing that most of us take for granted, the impact is significant.  Clouart says, “If you talk to someone who has gone several weeks without a shower and you ask them how they feel, they’ll say ‘I feel grubby, I feel itchy, I feel scratchy, I don’t feel good.’  And then they take the shower and they can say ‘I feel good.’  So you’re not just talking about physical hygiene, but mental hygiene as well.”

 Photo by  Guilherme Yagui

In partnership with the Redmond Library, RAPRD offers a limited number of free showers to housing insecure individuals every month.  The temperature extremes we experience in Central Oregon mean our winters are bitterly cold and our summers oppressively hot; both potentially dangerous for those without sufficient shelter.  In anticipation of another hot summer, our April Showers fundraising campaign will support this program to continue to make free showers available to those who need them.

 

The cost of a shower is only $1.50.

 Make a donation today to give a free shower to someone in need.

(Note: if you are reading this in email, some carriers like Gmail disable the PayPal link.  You can click here to donate through our blog in your browser.)

Generous Grant Brings STEM to Adventure Quest

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For the past year, Redmond Area Park and Recreation District has partnered with Redmond Parks Foundation and the Central Oregon STEM Hub to incorporate STEM – science, technology, engineering, and math – themes throughout our programs and events.

 

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Our most significant STEM initiative has been the new materials and curriculum our leaders are implementing in our Adventure Quest program.  Adventure Quest is a before and after school program at four Redmond schools to keep kids active and engaged, playing and learning even when they’re not in class.  Last year, the Redmond Parks Foundation received a generous grant of $5,000 from the Chambers Family Foundation to incorporate STEM programming in Adventure Quest.

The Chambers Family Foundation is a private, non-profit foundation based in Eugene, whose philanthropic works build stronger communities through the support of arts, education, medical, health, and human needs. “We are a family foundation with four generations of business leaders. We focus on communities where we can leverage our grants with others to make a difference,” explained one of their trustees. When asked why the Foundation believes that introducing school-aged kids to science, technology, engineering, and math themes and activities is important, the Trustee described, We see students as future leaders and STEM programs are essential to help develop the critical thinking skills.”

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As this was the first year we were actively engaged in seeking out STEM materials and learning opportunities for our AQ participants, we wanted to make the best use of the funds to reach the widest number of our participants and benefit all of our school sites.  We reached out to the Central Oregon STEM Hub, a state-funded support organization that works with the school district and other broadly-defined educators, for their expert tips and recommendations.  They recommended hands-on experiential learning techniques and encouraging creative play with STEM materials. They suggested getting kids involved early in cutting-edge subjects like circuitry, environmental technology such as solar and wind, building, and even coding.  Informally, we also sought advice from local school district staff who reinforced this input (“Coding is the next big thing”).

 An Adventure Quest Leader guides students through building a single motherboard computer called a Raspberry Pi

An Adventure Quest Leader guides students through building a single motherboard computer called a Raspberry Pi

The Central Oregon STEM Hub has a Lending Library consisting of pre-packaged STEM-themed teaching activities in boxes that educators can check out for a few weeks at a time and returned.  On a more competitive basis, they also have a popular 3D printer that can be checked out for a week at a time.  Our Recreation Program Coordinators checked out a number of Lending Library activities during the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year to experiment with in the Adventure Quest classrooms to see what types of themes resonated most with kids, and what kinds of materials and equipment classroom Leaders could train with and implement quickly and effectively.  We determined that the 3D printer was too advanced and took too long to hold the sustained interest of our youngest participants but other tools, like snap circuits and KLUTZ circuit clay were instant winners.  With these tools, kids can follow age appropriate instructions to build specific projects, or they can freely create their own working electrical systems.

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This trial and error process narrowed down our search to a number of innovative tools that make learning cutting-edge tech skills fun and engaging, even for our youngest participants.  We also focused on durability and sustainability to seek out materials that can be used again and again, by all our kids and across all our school sites, with easy to find replacement parts.  For example, a construction set of PVC pipe cut into different lengths, with different elbows and joints, helps kids learn building principles through trial and error. 

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Our Leaders have started implementing STEM-themed activities in our classrooms, and making materials available to the participants for solo and group exploration and kids are having a blast.  “We built the first piece together,” said Recreation Program Coordinator Tyler Best of an inventor kit project, “it was a button that you push and it flips up a lever.  Then I stepped back and the kids took it from there.  This one kid came up with a ramp, so the lever pushed a marble down the chute.  But then someone else made a little catapult so the lever set off the catapult, which launched the marble to the ramp and down the chute.” 

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Adventure Quest Coordinator Brandy Princehorn says this is typical of the leaders’ approach to implementing the STEM materials.  “We give them the instructions and examples, do one or two things together, and then step back.  When kids struggle, the leader will model critical thinking by re-reading the instruction booklet with the kids.  We don’t just show them the answer so they have to learn to troubleshoot and solve problems that come up.”

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The Chambers Family Foundation grant has benefited the 560+ participants in our Adventure Quest program so far during the 2017-2018 academic year and will continue to grow and shape this program into the future.  “We appreciate everything we’ve been able to do with it so far, and are excited to see it continue over the years with new groups of kids,” says Princehorn. “We purposefully picked things that could be updated and reused each year.”

Implementing science, technology, engineering, and math activities in Adventure Quest also inspired us to create two new STEM-themed events, free to everyone in the community.  These events – Aviation Day and Touch-A-Truck – aim to inspire STEM curiosity in kids K-8th and connect them with local educators, experts, and companies that value STEM education and skills.  Aviation Day offered hands-on drone instruction and participation of flight programs and the radio-control airplane club to show kids the aviation-related careers and hobbies that boost our local economy.  It was a big hit and drew nearly 300 kids and their families.  Touch-a-Truck will aim to engage the youngest kids (Pre-k – 2nd) by offering exploration and experiential learning opportunities with construction, transportation, and first responder vehicles; arts and crafts with auto parts, and reading time with transportation-related books.  This event will celebrate STEM week – a week of science, technology, engineering, and math activities by many organizations throughout Central Oregon. 

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In this way, the Chambers Family Foundation STEM grant – although the funds were only used for STEM programming in Adventure Quest – has inspired us to implement STEM themes in our education and enrichment programs and our free community events as well.  As such, we have developed contacts with science, technology, and engineering experts in our area who will hopefully help us broaden our reach and sustain this momentum.

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Tetherow Homestead Historic Preservation: What's Done, What's Next

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We have previously written about Tetherow Crossing Park northwest of Redmond, where RAPRD owns the oldest structure in Deschutes County, the Tetherow Homestead.  We are working to preserve this important piece of Central Oregon heritage and restore it as a multi-use public space. The possibilities for its use are endless: classroom, art studio, wedding venue, conference room, yoga gym, family reunion BBQ and picnic spot.

We’ve made a lot of great progress since our last blog post about the Tetherow House and our efforts to save it.  We are starting to fundraise for the brick and mortar preservation and construction work, so feel free to share this post with local history and preservation-minded folks.  As part of our fundraising and awareness raising, we are happy to arrange for a site tour for small groups interested in the project, just send us an email.

In 2017, we successfully met our fundraising goal to support the planning work for the restoration.  We are very grateful to our donors, the Roundhouse Foundation and the Hodecker Family (through the Oregon Community Foundation) for believing in this project. 

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Their donations, in addition to RAPRD’s own contribution from our operating funds, meant that our search for an architect to take on the project could begin.  We released our Request for Proposals for the planning work in July, but unfortunately, that bidding process, which concluded in August, only generated one bid.  This sole bid was over our estimated budget, so the Board decided to put the planning project out for bid one more time.  With the help of Restore Oregon, a Portland-based non-profit, we were able to widely circulate our RFP for a second round of bidding. 

Restore Oregon was also instrumental in helping us secure a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation in October.  Our application with their endorsement must have been persuasive, because we were awarded $4,800 toward the planning work

During the fall, we received comments and questions from a number of architecture firms and we provided the opportunity for a site tour.  At the deadline in November, we received two bids, both with historic preservation experience and both within our budget.  The RAPRD Board reviewed these and made their selection on December 12th.

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The Board selected Stemach Design + Architecture, a family-owned Bend-based firm with experience repurposing historic buildings for modern uses in the Central Oregon community. Some of their projects include the Pine Tavern remodel, the old Box Factory site renovation and redevelopment, and feasibility studies for expansion of the Bowman Museum in Prineville, including relocation of the caboose.  The contract is signed and they are set to begin work in January.  Their bid for the architecture and engineering planning work also includes providing estimates for construction costs.  We expect the plans to be completed in May.

In another recent development, the 2018 class of Leadership Redmond, a program put on by the Redmond Chamber of Commerce is also working on the Tetherow project.  Each class picks a handful of service projects and one team has chosen to work on Tetherow-related awareness-raising.  The goal of this team is to increase public awareness of the homestead and highlight our efforts to save it.  They plan to develop marketing materials, including digital video (with drone footage), and also a toolkit teachers can use to incorporate the Tetherow story into a unit on Redmond history.

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Finally, Redmond Area Park and Recreation District is working with the Deschutes Land Trust, the Deschutes County Landmarks Commission, the Deschutes County History Museum, the Redmond Library, and other local organizations on the planning for Preservation Month in May. Subscribe to our blog to get updates on all our projects and the historic preservation events and activities we will be involved in this spring.

If you have questions about the Tetherow Homestead preservation project, or want to arrange a tour of the property, please email Margaret.maffai@raprd.org.  If you would like to make a donation, you can use our online form, donate in person at Cascade Swim Center, or send a check to RAPRD at PO Box 843, Redmond, OR 97756.  In addition, we are interested in programs and events that will bring more people out to Tetherow Crossing Park.  If you have special skills such as bird watching, photography, art, ecology, etc. and would like to put on a program for kids or adults, we’d love to hear from you!

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Recreational Immunity: How a Hole in a Portland Park Punched a Hole in Oregon Law

 Photo: Ian Caldwell (c)

Photo: Ian Caldwell (c)

A unique legal issue called Recreational Immunity, which affects park and recreation districts (and all public and private landowners that offer their lands for public use) came before the Oregon Legislature in the latter half of 2016.  Although RAPRD, as a public agency, does not take positions on pending political issues, we thought it would be interesting to take an objective look at a matter that Oregon has already resolved that many in Redmond might not have been aware of at the time.

In most states, the legal principle of “recreational immunity” protects landowners who offer their lands for public use for free.  For example, if a landowner turns a plot of land into a little pocket park for their neighborhood, or if a land trust allows equestrians to utilize the trails on undeveloped land, and they don’t charge a fee, park and trail users wouldn’t be able to sue the land owners if they twisted their ankle or fell off their horse.  Schools that leave their playgrounds and sports fields open after hours for the public to use for free can’t be sued if someone slips off the monkey bars.  The purpose of this immunity is obviously to encourage land owners to open their lands for public use free of charge.  Without such protection, why would anyone ever provide the public access to their property if they then had to insure themselves to the hilt to protect against the threat of lawsuits?

Recreational immunity is usually created by statute.  That means the state legislature usually writes and passes a law that says that landowners who let the public use their property for recreation can’t be sued if someone engaging in recreational activities there gets hurt.  Oregon has had such a law on the books since 1971 as part of the Oregon Public Use of Lands Act.

Other parts of Oregon law make sure that individual employees who are just doing their jobs the right way can’t be sued personally for something done under the umbrella of their jobs.  The employer is sued but the individual is protected.

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A “tort” is the kind of wrong that the law says you can sue for.  It is the civil law equivalent of a “crime” under criminal law.  The law in Oregon that explains who can be sued and for what is called the Oregon Tort Claims Act.  One of the key parts of the act is the part that explains how employers are responsible for the acts of their “agents.”  For example, if a delivery driver hits reverse instead of drive and backs into a storefront, usually the company can be held legally responsible.  Volunteers are often also considered “agents” of a company or organization for the purposes of the lawsuits. 

Previously, in Oregon – as in other states, this kind of agency law, which decides who counts as an agent, and what torts committed by agents employers can be held legally responsible for – also protected employees and volunteers from certain types of lawsuits.  This kind of immunity meant that if it was your job as a school district employee to clean up the playground and later, someone got cut on a piece of glass there, as long as you could show you were doing your job properly, your employer would be responsible, and you (in your personal capacity) would be protected from the lawsuit as an agent of your employer.

Then, in March of 2016, the Oregon Supreme Court changed everything.

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The hole the court ruling would eventually punch in the law began with a hole in the ground. A city maintenance employee named Gibson dug a hole to fix a sprinkler in a Portland public park.  Johnson, a legally-blind jogger, was injured when she fell into the hole, and sued Gibson as well as the maintenance supervisor, Stillson, individually.  She argued that they didn’t do their jobs properly and were personally responsible for her injury.  She further argued that recreational immunity did not protect them because they weren’t “owners” of the land, under the definition of the Oregon Public Use of Lands Act.  Rather, the city was the owner and the individual employees could be sued.  The Supreme Court agreed. 

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After reviewing all the case law, the Court determined that the legislature had not meant employees and agents to be protected by recreational immunity, but rather only landowners (in this case, the city).  This case devastated public entities like cities, counties, school districts, and park and recreation districts, who regularly allow the public to use their lands for recreational activities free of charge.  It would become prohibitively expensive to insure all their employees against the possibility of expensive lawsuits, so many of these agencies would have to close their lands to the public.  The ruling was very unexpected because recreational immunity in other states protects the agents and employees of landowners, as well as the owners themselves.

Thankfully, in July 2016, the Oregon legislature stepped in to correct its error. They amended the law to restore recreational immunity protection to agents and employees of landowners.  This means that every park employee you see out in Redmond mowing a lawn or fixing a sprinkler, maintaining a trail, or unloading a picnic table is no longer at risk of losing their livelihood in a lawsuit against them personally as a result of their job keeping lands available to the public for recreation.  Because of the legislature’s quick action, only months after the potentially damaging Supreme Court ruling, landowners like RAPRD can still afford to open their lands to the public for hiking, cross country skiing, riding, parks, etc. without the crush of impossible insurance costs.

 Photo: Ian Caldwell (c)

Photo: Ian Caldwell (c)

Our First Newsletter - See What We've Accomplished in 2017!

We at Redmond Area Park and Recreation District are so proud of everything we've accomplished this year.  We simply couldn't achieve our goals without the determination and hard work of our dedicated staff and volunteers.  Feel free to stop by our offices at Cascade Swim Center or the Activity Center to pick up a hard copy of our newsletter.  While you're there, please consider donating to our scholarship fund or other projects before the year's end!

You can also donate online here.

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Smooth Takeoff for First Annual Aviation Day

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Thanks to everyone who came out last month to make Redmond Area Park and Recreation District’s  first annual Aviation Day event a success!  Nearly 300 kids and their families came out to enjoy the warm, sunny day and clear, blue September sky, and a fairgrounds packed with aviation crafts and activities.

We want to thank all our participants who spent hours introducing Redmond kids to the local aviation industry and hobbies and the importance of learning and being curious about science, technology, engineering, and math subjects in and out of school.  The Bend and Sisters Experimental Aviation Association Chapters spread the word about their Young Eagles programs, which pair kids up with experienced pilots to go for free flights and learn about piloting aircraft.  The Warm Springs Test Range represented one of only six federal drone test ranges in the country.  Sisters Airport and Sisters High School came with some students involved in the high school’s Flight Science program, where high school students can earn their pilot’s licenses as part of the curriculum. 

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Redmond’s Field of Dreams RC Club brought a collection of radio controlled aircraft to show kids how they can enjoy aviation-related hobbies right in town. 

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Volunteers from the Central Oregon STEM Hub helped little builders construct trucks, bug cages, and flower pots from Kids Build kits donated by Home Depot. 

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In the drone building, Paul Povey from Povey Surveying showed off the professional drones he uses in his local family company, and Kevin Siverston from the Central Oregon Community College Aviation Program ran a drone camp for all ages to learn to operate real drones and practice their skills on drone flight simulators.  Thanks to Jim Bull of Central Oregon Sound and Security, parents could watch their kids perform acrobatic maneuvers on the simulators projected onto the big screen.

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Although kids as young as 4 got a chance to give the drones a try, the big machines were the most popular with the younger set.  Redmond Fire and Rescue brought their aircraft fire truck, a 90,000 pound neon green beast, and kids could climb in the cabin and touch the controls, and touch the hoses and other equipment along the outside of the vehicle.  Redmond Airport contributed a huge bright yellow snowplow, usually charged with thundering down the runways keeping the airport clear of snow and ice. 

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AirLink sent a helicopter and crew to dramatically land at the event and talk about their exciting jobs saving lives.  With the help of these participant businesses and organizations, RAPRD was able to stoke the STEM curiosity of Redmond youth and introduce them to the many local outlets for an interest in aviation.

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We especially want to thank our local sponsors, Redmond Athletic Club and Hooray Café for making Aviation Day possible.  We are fortunate in Redmond to have local business owners so invested in our community and offering fun recreation opportunities for Redmond kids.  “It is so important for businesses to support their community,” says Branegan Dixon of Redmond Athletic Club (the RAC).  With all the outreach and volunteers we have that step up to donate their time and resources, the community should be able to lean on local business.” 

Dixon, who has an 8 year old and a 2 year old, was drawn to Aviation Day in particular, he says, because “I think it is important to stimulate the minds of our youth.  Exposure to different jobs, careers and possibilities out there that kids might not otherwise experience is fantastic.  With these types of events, the kids get a chance to challenge themselves and get a feel for something different and fun.”  Dixon and his wife, Tasha, brought their kids to Aviation Day and he was pleased with how the event turned out.  “The kids really enjoyed flying the drone and getting inside of the helicopter and fire truck.”  For families who didn’t manage to make it out this year, Dixon says, “I would say check it out next year.  As a first annual event, they did a great job in set up and organization.  I can only imagine the experience will be more and more enjoyable each year.”   

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Ken Streater, who runs Hooray Café, a website dedicated to featuring good news stories and a platform for communities to connect and do good, found in Aviation Day a chance to further his mission of community building.  “Hooray Cafe and The Goodness Sake Project are dedicated to illustrating what is good about us and to foster even more goodness. Aviation Day allowed people to connect, to see each other in a positive, creative, and rewarding setting, and to realize how much that community organizations like RAPRD mean to a flourishing place to live.”

A speaker and author, Streater explains his belief that the community is “the source for fairness and good.”  As such, Streater believes that “all business owners should support organizations like RAPRD that help form the flavor and character of a community.  When we support these kinds of activities, we are supporting our own by expanding our compassion circle to include and enrich more people.”  Aviation Day, he says, and other community recreation events, “help create a diverse, knowledgeable, playful, creativity, and collaborative populace. Events like these empower those who want to learn more in and do more with their lives, be they children or adults. “

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In addition to these moral and philosophical views, Streater’s personal experience as a dad and an RAPRD volunteer led him to see Aviation Day as a piece of the mosaic of activities RAPRD provides in the Redmond community.  “Each child has a unique set of goals, skills and concerns. There is no box they fit into. Trust me, as the father of three very unique individuals I experience this every day. So, RAPRD is spot on in creating a palette of opportunities for kids and adults from all walks of life to participate in. Aviation Day is an example of this, as is youth soccer and horseback riding and painting. To give our citizens an opportunity to find what they like and then grow with this is invaluable.”

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RAPRD plans to continue the tradition of Aviation Day next year and we have already received  positive and constructive feedback from many of the participants and families who attended.  One mom pointed out that balloons near the entrance would make it easier to locate the event at the fairgrounds.  This is a fantastic idea and we’ll definitely onboard it for next year.  The RC club has indicated an interest in bringing more and even bigger RC planes, and perhaps organizing a demonstration of their different radio controlled aircraft in the outside lawn space.  

Because of this year’s amazing turnout, we did run low on drones at the end of the day.  Next year we’ll be sure to have more drones on hand for when units crash or need to be re-synched to controllers.  If you are interested in supporting next year’s event, a donation of $35 will purchase one drone for kids to learn and play with.  See our donation page here.  If you went to Aviation Day this year and you’d like to submit a comment for us to review in preparation for next year, and/or if you’d like to be on our interest list for future drone activities, feel free to send us an email.

We are grateful for everyone’s support for our first annual Aviation Day event and we are looking forward to seeing you all again next fall for an even bigger and better event!

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Gone to the Dogs

Every year, on the last day before our annual shut-down at Cascade Swim Center when we completely drain, clean, repair, and repaint the pool, we give our last open day to our 4-legged friends and their owners to come enjoy both the indoor pool and the kiddie pool.  This year, we had 75 dogs.  Amid some very blurry pictures of some very fast moving wet dogs, we got some clear shots of the pups who came to help us close out in style.

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Nicole brought 6 week old Dibbles and Tipsy, a mini-Aussie with an intense gaze.

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 Shawn with 9 month old poodle Mim

Shawn with 9 month old poodle Mim

 Big dogs in the kiddie pool

Big dogs in the kiddie pool

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 Jenny with 3 year old mini golden doodle Teddy

Jenny with 3 year old mini golden doodle Teddy

 Casey and 2 year old Boston Terrier Sidney

Casey and 2 year old Boston Terrier Sidney

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 4 year old Golden Retriever Quincy (left) and brother Trip wait for mom to throw the ball!

4 year old Golden Retriever Quincy (left) and brother Trip wait for mom to throw the ball!

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 Everybody wants that ball!

Everybody wants that ball!

 4 year old brown Golden Retriever shakes off in his red life jacket

4 year old brown Golden Retriever shakes off in his red life jacket

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 The water polo team gives each dog a good wash when they're done playing in the pool.

The water polo team gives each dog a good wash when they're done playing in the pool.

 3 1/2 year old mini Aussie Dixy on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with a bath and escaped a shampoo not once but twice!

3 1/2 year old mini Aussie Dixy on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with a bath and escaped a shampoo not once but twice!

 Kids enjoyed the kiddie pool too.

Kids enjoyed the kiddie pool too.

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 4 month black lab Lola was tentative at first

4 month black lab Lola was tentative at first

 ...but soon found her sense of adventure!

...but soon found her sense of adventure!

 Golden Retriever Luna Moon was donated to her owner by BrightSide, and is being trained as a service dog for autism.

Golden Retriever Luna Moon was donated to her owner by BrightSide, and is being trained as a service dog for autism.

 8 year old Sheltie Rosie was a dignified lady in and out of the pool.  Right: in her custom bathrobe.

8 year old Sheltie Rosie was a dignified lady in and out of the pool.

Right: in her custom bathrobe.

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 Igor, a 2 year old Sharpei Pug mix gets some air!

Igor, a 2 year old Sharpei Pug mix gets some air!

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Thanks to everyone who came out to share this special day with us!

The Redmond Water Polo Jamboree: “A great toughen up thing”

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In the early days of water polo in 19th century Scotland, the game was more like “water rugby,” and players were allowed to wrestle opposing players under water and hold them there until they surrendered the ball.  Players scored goals by placing the ball on the opposite deck, but the goalie could defend by jumping off the deck directly on top of the approaching player. 

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In most ways, the sport has evolved from this violent historical version.  Pulling or holding an opposing player underwater will result in a penalty.  Goalies defend a goal box from inside the water, and must constantly tread water in the goal while their team defends the deep end of the pool. 

 The goalie must now defend from inside the goal, treading water, rather than jumping onto opposing players from the deck.

The goalie must now defend from inside the goal, treading water, rather than jumping onto opposing players from the deck.

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Players can even be asked to submit to a fingernail check before the game to ensure safety from scratches.  But the civilized modern version of water polo retains the feeling of urgency, the speed of play, and the rush of strength and adrenaline of the rougher days of “water rugby.”

 Ridgeview sneaks a shot past Madras

Ridgeview sneaks a shot past Madras

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The Redmond Water Polo Jamboree, an annual tournament of 26 teams (boys, girls, and co-ed) from all over the state is less cutthroat than in the olden days of the sport, but no less exhausting and exciting.  The jamboree, held last weekend, is an ideal pre-season event for competitors to come together to meet for the first time and get a sense of the strengths and weaknesses of other teams in a whirlwind of 142 short, 8-minute games.  The pace and number of games ensures that with only 7 players in the pool on a side, even brand new players get playing time to prove themselves over the course of the 3-day event.  It is tradition that the teams – often including parents and siblings – camp out at Cascade Swim Center throughout the jamboree.  The RHS parking lot fills with RVs and the grassy park along Rimrock Drive fills with tents and towels. 

The jamboree dates back to 2000, before Ridgeview High School was built, when RAPRD began operating the water polo programs after being approached by some RHS players committed to developing a Redmond water polo program.  One of these founding players, Jay Rowan, is honored on a plaque outside Cascade Swim Center.

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Many of this year’s players are younger than water polo in Redmond, a fact that baffles veterans of that early program like RHS head coach Denise Maich.  She coaches both girls and boys teams with her assistant coach Ricardo Monroy, and her brother Joe DeLeone coaches both Ridgeview teams with his assistant coach Spencer Gorman.

 Ridgeview coach Joe DeLeone referees one of the 142 Jamboree games.

Ridgeview coach Joe DeLeone referees one of the 142 Jamboree games.

 RHS Head Coach Denise Maich watches a tense play.

RHS Head Coach Denise Maich watches a tense play.

Whereas many of those early players left team sports like soccer and football to play water polo, an interesting trend is that for many current players, water polo is often their first, or even their only team sport.  Some players do martial arts, or cross country, or snowboarding, and most of them are also on swim team.  Competitive swimming requires hours of individual practice and, even in relays, features each swimmer in the water alone, separated from opposing teams by lane lines.  Each swimmer swims their own race, or their own relay leg, and their points support the team’s overall score. 

Yet it is the team dynamic of water polo that seems to be a major draw for these otherwise very independent solo athletes.  Caitlyn Owen, 14, who has never done a team sport before water polo says that the sport is a mix of independence but also support.  Her teammates from Redmond High School, Mackenzie Carlson, 18; Annabelle Crispen, 14, and Sage Russell, 14 agree that the feeling of being on a team is one of the most rewarding aspects of water polo.  It is a feeling they pour considerable energy into building and maintaining.  Carlson, the girls team captain, explains that team captains proactively build team spirit by organizing events like house parties and campfires to bring the group together in their off-time. 

 Redmond Girls Mackenzie Carlson, 18; Annabelle Crispen, 14, Sage Russell, 14, and Caitlyn Owen, 14. 

Redmond Girls Mackenzie Carlson, 18; Annabelle Crispen, 14, Sage Russell, 14, and Caitlyn Owen, 14. 

I discovered team bonding even extends into the virtual world when Crispen mentions “the group chat,” and Russell confirms that there are actually multiple girls team group chats across all social media platforms.  But the girls are quick to assure me that water polo “is not like other teams where there are cliques or one person has just one other friend.”  Carlson emphasizes how much of the captains’ job, in and out of the pool, is reinforcing this inclusivity.  “If even one person doesn’t listen, or one person misses a practice, it affects everyone,” she says.

Augie Tobish, 16, is going into his junior year at RHS.  For him, what sets water polo apart is the athletic challenge; the difficulty of being in a different environment.  “The human body isn’t designed to be in the water.” I mention the demanding physicality of the sport; guarding another player face to face, treading water with arms and shoulders out of the water to defend and steal.  I ask what he would tell younger kids who might have come to this year’s jamboree and wondered whether they are up for it.  “I definitely recommend it,” Tobish doesn’t hesitate.  “It is hard, and can be frustrating, but it is great for character building.  It’s a great toughen up thing to do,” he says.  Augie’s brother Gavin Tobish is a rookie this year.  I ask if he gives him a bit of a hard time, and Augie grins.

 Water polo demands strong swimming skills as players with possession must tread water even in the shallow end.

Water polo demands strong swimming skills as players with possession must tread water even in the shallow end.

Jaime Tracewell, 16, of the Ridgeview girls team, is also going into her junior year.  This is her second year playing water polo.  She was already on swim team, and did cross country, but laughs and admits she is “not that into running.”  For Tracewell, water polo is the best of both types of sports.  “It’s team driven and individualistic,” she says.  “Everyone has their own position and knows what to do for themselves in that situation, but everyone still needs to work together as a team.”  Tracewell doesn’t see any conflict between retaining her individuality and working as part of the larger group.  “I still have a lot of freedom in what I do and how I do it, while still having a team that supports me and I support them,” she observes.

Asked about rivalry between teams, and how players feel about the opposition in such an intense, physical game, Tracewell sees the competitiveness and intensity as added value. “Yeah it can be super rough,” she acknowledges, but the people you’re playing against are very gracious and friendly.  We like having a strong team to play against.  It tests you and shows who’s made of what.”  Considering what she has learned in water polo that she applies in her life out of the pool, Tracewell says “Being able to take charge, that leadership quality.”  She adds that water polo has taught her “the ability to be aggressive and also kind – a delicate balance.”

 A Ridgeview co-ed team squares off against a Madras co-ed team toward the end of the 3-day jamboree.

A Ridgeview co-ed team squares off against a Madras co-ed team toward the end of the 3-day jamboree.

Ridgeview coach Joe DeLeone, agrees that water polo builds skills into players that helps them grow up in and out of the pool.  “It is challenging, physically and mentally.” He acknowledges, “it makes you work hard, and you have to work as a team or you’re not going to succeed.”  It is less about individual talent or ability, he says, than it is about the ability to play together with a common purpose.

 Ridgeview boys and girls huddle up at halftime in a co-ed game against Madras

Ridgeview boys and girls huddle up at halftime in a co-ed game against Madras

Kimberly Kawelmacher, whose daughter Rachel is a Redmond rookie this year, sees the potential of water polo as a space for kids to practice adult skills.  By learning team work, and having to show up for pool and dryland training on time, learning to listen to instructions and not let teammates down, she says water polo “works through some life lessons, but it is a fun outlet to learn that responsibility.”  Kawelmacher’s family moved to Redmond from Texas just last month and she notes that RHS is bigger than their whole town.  For her, the jamboree has had a practical benefit: “It is a really good way to meet people before school starts,” she observes.  When asked if she is worried at all about waterpolo being a bit of a rough sport, Kawelmacher laughs.  Her daughter has 3 older brothers, she says, and she has done karate for years.  “She can handle it.”  Regarding advice to other new parents, Kawelmacher doesn’t hesitate: “If you’re going to do it, jump in feet first.”  She gestures around at the tents and towels everywhere marking the boundaries of the RHS team’s campout territory.  “Get into it, be part of the team.” 

A number of local families camped out together, not just the kids on the team.  As I was leaving, a water polo dad was starting to pack up the lavish accommodations that had built up around the entrance to an enormous RV in the RHS parking lot next to the pool.  Coolers and chairs created an impromptu outdoor living room and an iron skillet with a Dutch oven lid indicated there had been a kitchen out there too at one point.  “Where you from?” I asked, thinking he had a long drive ahead when the games wrapped up a little before 5pm. “Here!” he laughed.

 Towels drying in the sun mark the boundaries of RHS' camp out spot

Towels drying in the sun mark the boundaries of RHS' camp out spot

First Ever RAPRD Aviation Day - Free Community Event!

Planes, helicopters, and drones!

Redmond Area Park and Recreation District will host its first ever Aviation Day

a free community event

at the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center on

Saturday, September 23, 2017 from 11:00am to 4:00pm

Aviation Day will include exciting demonstrations and activities for all ages and fun prize giveaways!

Whether your child has already shown an interest in planes, helicopters, or drones, or they are just discovering technology through toys and games on computers and smartphones, Science/Tech/Engineering/Math themes will play a big role in their future education and career options.  RAPRD hopes this fair-like atmosphere and hands-on fun will spark interest and curiosity about STEM and aviation careers and hobbies.  

Central Oregon, with its high, flat landscape, clear of tall buildings and other hazards, is particularly well-suited to recreational and professional aviation activities. Redmond is therefore a fertile ground for aviation careers, as well as flight-inspired fun.

The booming local aviation industry – and COCC’s Aviation Department - presents a unique opportunity to interest Redmond kids in STEM fields early on, so they'll be ready to connect  with local training, licensing, and educational opportunities at our community college, and perhaps eventually find a home in the local economy so that Central Oregon can hang onto our young STEM talents. 

Our goal is to foster a fair-like atmosphere where Redmond kids and families can connect with local aviation hobbyists and professionals to ask questions and experience some of the options available in Central Oregon.  This is the first year we hosting Aviation Day, but we are hoping it can become an annual event. 

Special thanks to the Central Oregon STEM Hub team for helping to organize this unique event!

Confirmed Participants

Central Oregon Community College - Volunteers from drone operator classes will show off their drones and moves, and demonstrate basic operation and safety in a "drone camp" for participants. 

Drone camp will include a safety cage with an obstacle course inside.  Participants will fly drones through the course with help from COCC aviation department volunteers.  Family members and kids waiting for a turn at the drone controls can watch from bleachers and outside the cage, COCC will set up computer stations with a simulator so that kids can fly simulated model aircraft flights and play games.

Once kids get the hang of the drone controls and safety rules, COCC will organize races through the obstacle course, time and space permitting.

Redmond’s Aircraft Fire and Rescue Team – Firefighters will show off one of the fire trucks they use to respond to aircraft emergencies.

AirLink – Crew members will bring their helicopter on site so that kids can get a look inside and ask the crew about the exciting and important work they do.

Warm Springs FAA UAS Test Range – member of the Pan Pacific Test Range Complex under the auspices of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. One of only a handful of national test ranges, Warm Springs will show off their EZ Rig drone.

Sisters and Bend area EAA Chapters of the Experimental Aircraft Association. These local non-profit groups provide "discovery flights" for both "Young Eagles" and Eagles (those over 18), and other projects to get them interested in aviation.

Sisters High School Flight Science, Outlaw Aviation, and Sisters Eagle Airport - Students from Sisters High School will show off what they've learned in their Flight Science class, where they are studying for their pilot's licenses, and the Sisters team will bring a flight simulator so that kids can experience what it's like to be in the cockpit.

 Outlaw Aviation with their Cessna 172

Outlaw Aviation with their Cessna 172

Field of Dreams RC Club - members will display their radio control planes in all shapes and sizes and be on hand to answer kids' questions about building and flying RC planes in Redmond.

Field of Dreams 1.jpg

In addition to the booths, displays, and drone camp, other activities will include:

parachute play

flight simulator

balsa wood model building and painting

building and flying FPG-9 gliders donated by the Academy of Model Aeronautics

twirly copter folding and coloring

paper airplane contests.

Nearly 6,000 of You Celebrated the 4th of July with RAPRD!

Redmond Area Park and Recreation District hosted our 6th annual Old Fashioned 4th of July Celebration this month.  Nearly 5,800 participants flooded the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center to ride ponies, the zoo train, and a horse-drawn carriage, to race to devour pies and watermelon, to try the climbing wall and the zip line, and to enjoy the bounce houses and bubble soccer.  

We wanted to send a special thank-you to our presenting sponsors, Central Oregon Truck Company and Papé Kenworth, and to all of our activity sponsors and volunteers who helped make this year's Celebration the best yet!

Break up your workday with a scroll through some photos of this Independence Day fun!

 Just the right size for this challenge.

Just the right size for this challenge.

 Go ahead, hum the JAWS theme.  You know you want to.

Go ahead, hum the JAWS theme.  You know you want to.

 The hats!  The shoes!  The thrilled expressions! 

The hats!  The shoes!  The thrilled expressions! 

 
 Water games took on a special priority as temps climbed into the 90s.

Water games took on a special priority as temps climbed into the 90s.

 The sheer drop from the Daredevil Island bounce house proved too terrifying for many, this brave jumper made the leap.

The sheer drop from the Daredevil Island bounce house proved too terrifying for many, this brave jumper made the leap.

 
 Even the littlest archers were right on target!

Even the littlest archers were right on target!

 
 
 
20170704_124227.jpg
 
 Girls test their strength on the climbing wall

Girls test their strength on the climbing wall

 
 
 This midfielder tries out an unconventional move to gain a bubble soccer advantage.

This midfielder tries out an unconventional move to gain a bubble soccer advantage.

 
 Is this a pony hop or a rodeo?!

Is this a pony hop or a rodeo?!

 Pony hop caravan heads toward the Cascades!

Pony hop caravan heads toward the Cascades!

 See you all again next year!

See you all again next year!

How the Nation’s Fastest Growing Sport Found a Home in Redmond

 Photo: Janelle Leeden

Photo: Janelle Leeden

When they moved to Redmond from Humbolt County, California in 2002, Scott and Laurie Purcell had never even heard of lacrosse.  For that matter, neither had Redmond.  But over the next decade, their family’s own challenges and overcoming obstacles would mirror and intersect with the efforts to establish and grow lacrosse in Redmond.  Although many families have powered the growth of the sport, and poured in hours of volunteer time to support their kids’ teams, the Purcells’ experience tells the story of lacrosse in town, and RAPRD’s efforts to help secure its future.

The Purcells moved to Redmond when their boys, Troy and Austin, were in second and third grade, respectively.  Scott’s job with FedEx had offered the family a transfer to Central Oregon, and, after visiting the area, they chose to settle in Redmond, which they found was the safe, affordable place to raise their family they were looking for.  Laurie recalls they chose Redmond for many reasons.  “For the affordability, for the size of the community, the school ratings…”  She also notes that the size of the town allows a busy mom or dad to make pick ups and drop offs of multiple kids at multiple sports without taking all day.  “We’ve been really happy with Redmond and have never regretted that decision,” she says.

 Photo: Jasmine Kleckler

Photo: Jasmine Kleckler

The family moved in August, and so missed the cutoff for fall soccer through RAPRD.  Laurie remembers, “We moved up so late that Troy was on a wait list, and they told me the only way to be sure he could be on a team would be if I agreed to coach.  So from the minute we moved up here, I coached.”  Although she had coached in Humboldt County, Laurie was reticent, as she has not played soccer all the way through school.  Luckily, her assistant coach that year would eventually become the Central Oregon Christian School soccer coach.  “We wound up having a great relationship with him and we had a wonderful time, and it was great.”  After that first season, the family’s relationship with RAPRD only expanded.  “Our kids were really into sports,” Laurie says, “soccer and basketball.”  Scott coached flag football while the boys played and Laurie coached cheerleading.  When they were older, both boys eventually reffed for youth sports.  “We’ve had a long history with park and rec,” Laurie says.

Laurie, who has her accounting degree and now works for the food bank at NeighborImpact, takes youth sports very seriously, as type of map, or instruction manual to teach kids how to behave in adulthood.  “I don’t care what grade you are, you can learn to be respectful, on time, you can learn to be reliable because people depend on you.”  Laurie says, “Everyone gets equal play time, I don’t care about your skill,” because every kid needs a chance to learn these values.

 Photo: Jasmine Kleckler

Photo: Jasmine Kleckler

Seven years ago, when Troy was in 9th grade, his friend Sam came to him.  They had been good friends since second grade.  Sam played lacrosse for Redmond High School and they needed another player.  Troy already played jazz band, regular band, soccer, basketball.  He had been planning to take spring season off.  But Sam asked him to play so they could field a whole team.  “We need 10 on the field,” he told him, “You can just stand there and hold the stick.”  Troy couldn’t say no to Sam. 

“Scott and I honestly didn’t know what Lacrosse was,” Laurie recalls, “We heard the name, we saw a stick, but we had no idea.”  Troy, in turn, got Austin interested in the game.  “Troy got hooked.  Austin got hooked.  And I wound up with 2 boys who loved lacrosse.  We blame it on Sam,” Laurie says, laughing.

 Photo: Janelle Leeden

Photo: Janelle Leeden

Once the sport began to grow in Redmond, the Purcells realized there would be serious hurdles.  “It’s a club sport,” Laurie explains, “it’s self funded, it is never stable because no one is being paid.  So lacrosse was always having a hard time.”  The next year, Ridgeview opened, but lacrosse was still a club sport so Ridgeview didn’t have a team and the Purcell boys played for Redmond lacrosse.  “It was a struggling program, “Laurie describes.  “They had the most kids they’d ever had but they didn’t have enough uniforms.  It was being kept alive, thank gosh.  Bless their hearts, they did what they could.”

The high school split was hard on all the sports and lacrosse was no exception.  When Troy was a sophomore and Austin a junior, Austin asked their parents if they could start a lacrosse club at Ridgeview.  “Thinking they’d never do it, I told him to go do the work and talk to the principal, talk to the athletic director.  Austin came back having done everything.”  The principal of Ridgeview, Mr. Loving, agreed, and said he was one hundred percent behind them, but that the school couldn’t financially support a club sport. 

The kids played out the rest of the season in Redmond and then the Purcells teamed up with Sharon and Mark Langliers, whose son Chase played with Troy and Sam.  “We had no money, no gear, and four players,” Laurie laughs.  “You have to dedicate your life when you’re starting something,” she says.  “Money was the first challenge.  We knew that it’s an expensive sport.  The gear is expensive.  If parents did not know what it was and their kid has never played it, they weren’t going to pay for $500 worth of gear.  So we knew we were going to need to supply everything.” 

 Photo: Brandy Smith

Photo: Brandy Smith

They wanted the best for their players but it wasn’t about optics or branding.  Investing in equipment and uniforms was key to building team spirit.  “They had to look like a team,” Laurie said.  “They needed jerseys with shirts and shorts that matched their socks.  So they could come out on the field with pride.”  To build their team and supply the equipment so that kids who didn’t even know what lacrosse was would still come out and play, the Purcells and Langliers embarked on a massive fundraising campaign.  “We did everything,” Laurie remembers. “We went up and cut firewood and sold cords of wood. We sold root beer floats.  Car washes every weekend.”  And it paid off.  The Ravens lacrosse club was able to field a team of 19 players and outfit them with home and away jerseys, helmets, gloves, arm pads, and chest pads, and supply the goals and equipment needed to line the fields.  By their second year, the team had moved up to the varsity level and Austin, who had graduated, became the assistant coach.

Once both boys had graduated (Troy and Austin are 20 and 21 now, respectively), Scott and Laurie stepped away from the day to day operations of the Ridgeview team.  “Scott and I stepped back last year to focus on the youth.  We knew from the minute we started the Ridgeview team that the future of high school lacrosse was the youth.”  RAPRD had been supportive of the program from the beginning but hadn’t been able to take on a new team sport at the time.  But the Purcells were determined to make it work.  “We knew we had to get it into park and rec because it is always there, staff gets paid, so it is sustainable,” Laurie says, “We are focusing on growing the park and rec program, getting it available, getting kids involved.”  RAPRD handled the registration and gear distribution for the youth teams this year, and will continue to use its infrastructure to lend stability to the program.  RAPRD is “doing wonders for lacrosse,” Laurie says.

 Photo: Brandy Smith

Photo: Brandy Smith

From RAPRD’s perspective, giving kids more options for sports to play is a big plus.  “For kids that aren’t into the big three – baseball, soccer, and basketball – it allows those kids another avenue to be active and competitive,” explains Mike Elam, RAPRD Recreation Manager.  “We currently work with Bend Park and Recreation to enter Redmond teams in their league.  We provide the gear for three teams,” Elam says, but adds that the goal is to be able to afford enough gear to increase the number of teams.  “I hope that we could build the program enough and people excited enough here in Redmond that we could eventually support our own league,” Elam describes.  This would allow the local schools to build team spirit among Redmond youth and interleague competition could help everyone sharpen their skills.  “When you are able to play other towns, it increases the diversity,” Elam notes.

 Photo: Jasmine Kleckler

Photo: Jasmine Kleckler

The future success of the sport in Redmond depends, as it always has, on fundraising and attracting new players.  As with the high school team, Ravens Youth Lacrosse kids fundraise to build their program and Laurie won a grant from US Lacrosse for gear.  “That really helped us over the challenges, and hurdles,” she says, “so a big thank-you to US Lacrosse.”  The local community has also really shown up to help support the program.  “The local business owners of Redmond have been wonderful,” Laurie says, “and if not for their donations Ravens Youth Lacrosse would not be we are.”

 Photo: Jasmine Kleckler

Photo: Jasmine Kleckler

US Lacrosse strongly supports the development of the sport, particularly in areas where lacrosse is new and organizations are still building programs.  “We are a non-profit, member based organization that fuels the growth of lacrosse by providing a variety of programs and services to our members and to those that are starting new lacrosse organizations,” describes Pacific Northwest Regional Manager Lyn Porterfield.  Although the sport is less well-known in Oregon, which creates funding and promotional challenges for those working to draw new players to the sport and outfit new teams, this can also be beneficial, Porterfield explains: “Out West of course the sport is much newer, and being “new” is often what makes the sport intriguing for kids.”  Also, because parents and kids are learning the sport at the same time, she says, it gives kids, rather than parents, a chance to be the experts, “and kids like that!” she notes.

US Lacrosse introduced the Lacrosse Athlete Development Model (LADM) last year, which places priority on fun, safety, and lifelong love of the sport.  Their six core values include making sure that the sport stays fun and kid-centered, promoting smaller field and team sizes to get kids more playing time, encouraging involvement of lacrosse players in many sports to develop as athletes and stay active all year, and providing resources for training of coaches and referees. “Any body type or size can play on both the boys and girls side,” Porterfield notes, emphasizing that the sport can draw in kids who might not be attracted to more traditional sports. 

 Photo: Janelle Leeden

Photo: Janelle Leeden

This focus on fun, wellness, and development integrates well with RAPRD’s aims to put forward fun recreation programs that support an active lifestyle.  US Lacrosse, in turn, sees the potential for park and recreation organizations to play an important role in growing the sport.  They “already have the infrastructure to organize teams (field access, coaches, registration, etc),” Porterfield notes, and “they’re often the local ‘experts’ in delivering a safe and fun sports experience to the kids in that community.” US Lacrosse provides resources to club teams, parks and recreation organizations, and PE teachers to help educate coaches, teach the rules of the game, and “provide a great experience for the kids,” Porterfield says.

The Purcells and RAPRD hope to benefit from some of these resources and support from US Lacrosse to build lacrosse in Redmond.  Looking to next year, Laurie explains, “We want to double the numbers of youth teams,” noting that the large team size this year isn’t ideal for getting kids playing time.  Another goal for next year is to get kids started even younger, by adding a 1st and 2nd grade co-ed team.  “The youth program is where it’s at,” Laurie says.  “That is what is going to keep the high school program running.” Asked what she sees for the future of lacrosse in Redmond, Laurie acknowledges that growing the program will take commitment, dedication, and sacrifice.  “Lacrosse is the fastest growing sport in the US.  We really want lacrosse when you come back in 10 years to be booming.”

 Photo: Brandy Smith

Photo: Brandy Smith

Although Laurie and Scott rush to spread the credit around, it is clear that the Purcells have impacted the evolution of lacrosse in Redmond.  What is more interesting is how lacrosse has impacted the evolution of the Purcells.  Laurie explains the unique path their family took and how she believes it changed them all for the better.  “The first three years I don’t think we took vacation,” she recalls.  “Every weekend was a fundraiser.  All the wood we cut together.  All the fields they had to paint.  Austin and Troy are best friends because of it.  They have each others’ backs.  They were teammates, they had a goal, they were on the field together.  They are solid,” she says.   “How many families when their kids are juniors, seniors, and the first year in college are spending almost every weekend together for a common goal?” she asks. 

She acknowledges sometimes the path forward was rocky.  “There were a lot of heartaches.  There were a lot of ups.  There were a lot of downs.  But it brought our family closer.”  During a time when a lot of kids would be pushing away from their parents and trying to show their independence, the Purcell boys were spending all their time working with their parents to grow lacrosse.  “That can be the hardest time for a family.  Our kids respected us and we respected them and we had to depend on all of us and none of us could let each other down,” Laurie says.  “The last two years before my kids went to college we were always together as a family.  I look back at that as my fondest memory.  We did it as a family.”

 Photo: Jasmine Kleckler

Photo: Jasmine Kleckler

RAPRD Scholarships: All Aboard!

 Photo: BNSF

Photo: BNSF

When you think of Redmond Area Park and Recreation District, you might not immediately think of trains.  Or, maybe you do!  After all, we train Redmond kids how to play soccer, basketball, and lacrosse.  Our wellness instructors teach patrons strength and endurance training on land and in the water.  We train our staff and volunteers to put on top quality recreational programs!  But freight trains?  No connection, right?  Nope, wrong, we are happy to say!  We are excited to announce that we have received a $3,000 grant from BNSF Railway to support our scholarship program!

As you have probably seen as you waited at a railroad crossing, from the block letters emblazoned on the sides of the freight cars that run through the East side of town, those trains are operated by BNSF, our local railway company.  BNSF Railway is an enormous freight transportation company, operating approximately 32,500 route miles of track in 28 states and three Canadian provinces.  Its history stretches back to 1849, a decade before Oregon achieved statehood, and their trains carry everything from grain to coal to petroleum, building materials, and food.  Unlike Nike or the Trailblazers’ Foundation, however, you might not automatically associate a railroad with youth sports, before- and after-school programs, or summer camp.  But BNSF saw something special in our community, and in RAPRD, and has stepped up to support us. 

RAPRD’s scholarships help make our programs accessible to everyone, regardless of ability to pay.  RAPRD Executive Director Katie Hammer explains, “Recreation programs enhance lives by offering an opportunity to learn a new skill, be physically active and to socialize.  RAPRD offers scholarships because we feel that it is important for every member of our community to have the chance to benefit from recreation programs.”  We believe that even in tough financial times – especially in tough financial times – participating in recreation, education, and enrichment activities supports wellness and brings individuals and families together.  Our programs help individuals find wellness, and also bring our community closer by providing opportunities to find strength, fitness, and make social connections together and our scholarships help keep our programs affordable and within reach of everyone.

BNSF likewise considers the quality of life in the communities their trains pass through.  Courtney Wallace, Regional Director, Public Affairs explains BNSF’s commitment to even the smallest of communities within their tens of thousands of miles of track.  BNSF employees live, work, and volunteer throughout the communities the company serves, she explains, and the company developed the BSNF Foundation as its main vehicle for charitable giving in 1996. Since that time, Wallace describes, “the Foundation's giving has expanded to help more and more communities.”

 Photo: BNSF

Photo: BNSF

Despite the size of the company and the vast territory they serve, BNSF staff views their impact on a local level.  As Wallace notes, BNSF's shipments help feed, clothe, supply, and power American homes and businesses every day.”  Hammer also observes the connection between small communities and large corporations which, after all, are made up of people: employees with families who play sports and picnic in local parks.  “Some businesses support communities where they operate because they are invested in the livability of that community,” Hammer says.  “By donating to an organization such as RAPRD, they are supporting activities that their employees and families and customers directly participate in.”

 Photo: BNSF

Photo: BNSF

RAPRD distributes tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships each year, to ensure that everyone can afford to participate in our programs.  Last year, we provided $64,000 in scholarships to low income kids and families and 58% of those funds supported kids in our Adventure Quest before- and after-school program, and Camp Adventure Quest in the summer.  The program focuses on fostering social connections and an active lifestyle, while encouraging creative skills in arts and crafts.  Brandy Princehorn, Assistant Recreation Coordinator knows how vital scholarships are to all her Adventure Quest kids, who develop close ties with one another, and a feeling of belonging.  “It gives kids who may be less fortunate the opportunity to be a part of a rewarding program that they may not have been able to participate in without the scholarship program.”  Camp Adventure Quest is gearing up for a great summer at the Redmond Early Learning Center thisyear, and will have access to more nutrition support and provide longer hours than in previous years.  “Kids have the chance to be a part of something really great,” Princehorn says, “They meet friends, stay active, and most of all have fun building lasting friendships with positive mentors.”

For her part, Wallace observes that organizations that foster a connection with the outdoors hold a place of special importance in Oregon.  “One of the most enduring values of the Pacific Northwest is its incredible beauty,” she says, “and Central Oregon, in particular, provides some of the best recreational activities.”  RAPRD youth sports programs, our Adventure Quest before- and after-school program, and our summer Camp Adventure Quest help connect kids and families to Redmond’s many parks and green spaces.  Time spent being active outside and in nature facilitates wellness and lays the foundation for a healthy lifestyle throughout all stages of life.  Wallace confirms that outdoor recreation programs should be affordable for everyone to enjoy. “We fully support the Redmond Area Park and Recreation District’s Scholarships program,” she says, “there should be no barriers to allow access for everyone.”

RAPRD is honored to have been chosen for grant funding from the BNSF Foundation.  Camp Adventure Quest is off on the right foot for a great summer thanks to the support of BNSF and other businesses like it that find value in investing in our community, our patrons, and our programs.

 Photo: Ron Reiring

Photo: Ron Reiring

You too can climb aboard the RAPRD scholarship train!  Scholarship donations help subsidize RAPRD programs like youth sports, Adventure Quest, and swimming lessons so that everyone can participate, regardless of ability to pay.  To donate, click here or press the donate button!

 

Missed the first Dog Day at Tetherow? Doggone it, it's not too late!

 Participants used stuffed dogs to practice first aid and CPR skills at Tetherow Homestead. Photo by Dennis Fehling

Participants used stuffed dogs to practice first aid and CPR skills at Tetherow Homestead. Photo by Dennis Fehling

Participants gathered last Saturday morning in sunny Tetherow Crossing Park to learn the basics of dog CPR and First Aid.  Instructor Dennis Fehling of Friends for Life Dog Training in Redmond also walked the group through the ins and outs of scene management – how to safeguard yourself and the injured animal when you are the first responder to an animal-involved accident.

 Dennis Fehling of Friends for Life Dog Training explains how to approach an accident scene.

Dennis Fehling of Friends for Life Dog Training explains how to approach an accident scene.

Topics covered included how to MacGyver a home-made muzzle from materials you might have on hand, such as shoelaces or a belt to ensure you can safely respond to an injured dog you don’t know without getting big, five different points where you can check a dog’s pulse, how to administer CPR to different-sized dogs, and how to respond to various choking scenarios.  Not only did the participants agree the class left them better able to respond in an emergency, they also felt more confident that they wouldn’t be helpless if their dog – or another injured dog – needed their help.

 Participants practice clearing airway obstructions and administering rescue breaths.

Participants practice clearing airway obstructions and administering rescue breaths.

Dennis agreed to volunteer his time to teach the course because he believes in giving back to the community, and as a way of spreading this valuable knowledge of how to help animals in an emergency situation.  Assisting in the class was Sarah McCoy, a member of the Friends for Life Dog Training team and instructor of next Saturday’s course on Calming Relational Massage for dog owners to perform on their dogs.

 Dennis Fehling, far right, and Sarah McCoy, second from right, give instructions.

Dennis Fehling, far right, and Sarah McCoy, second from right, give instructions.

Sarah is certified through the Animal Behavior College in Pet Grooming and Dog Behavior and Training, as well as Pet Massage, Cat Behavior and Management, and Pet Nutrition and Diet.  She enjoys sharing what she has learned – and is continually learning – with owners who would like to grow in their knowledge of their pets.  With expertise in such diverse fields, Sarah wears many hats.  “At Paws In Hand, we offer positive reinforcement-based training and will in the future also provide mobile pet grooming,” she says of her business.

Sarah has also agreed to donate her time to this course to support the historic preservation of the Tetherow Homestead.  Built in 1878, the homestead is the oldest house in Deschutes County and was the site of one of the first three crossings of the Deschutes River, the first use of the Deschutes for irrigation, and also the site of the first brewery in the county.  “I live close to the Tetherow Homestead,” Sarah says, “and I’ve always enjoyed walking along the river near it.  I look forward to seeing the house restored and the property maintained.  It’s a beautiful, tranquil place to visit.”

 Tranquil Tetherow Crossing Park, and the historic homestead, viewed from the Deschutes River

Tranquil Tetherow Crossing Park, and the historic homestead, viewed from the Deschutes River

Did you miss the CPR and First Aid class but you’d still like to join us for dog massage this weekend?  Don’t worry!  We are pro-rating the last 3 courses in this unique dog care series so it’s not too late!  Call us at 541-548-7275 to sign up or drop by Cascade Swim Center or the Activity Center on Canal behind Bi-Mart. 

Kids 7 & up are welcome and encouraged to attend – we hope to get Pam from Friends for Life out to do some awesome demonstrations with her nose work student dogs who can find objects by scent even out in Tetherow Crossing Park!

The schedule for the remaining classes is as follows:

May 20th – 10 – 11:30.  Learn massage therapy tips for dogs from Sarah McCoy of Friends for Life Dog Training.

June 10th – Dr. Bernadette Hartman, DVM will present a class on how to use essential oils for your dog. 10 – 11.

For the above classes, instructors will bring their own dogs to demonstrate the techniques.  Please do not bring your dog unless specifically requested.

June 24th – grooming tips from Shannon Dayton, a professional local dog groomer.  Learn how to clip your dog’s nails, clean their ears, the basics of grooming different types of coats, some tips on products and tools, etc.  10 – 11.  As long as your dogs are DOG FRIENDLY and won’t be distracting in the group class, you can bring your dog to get tips on specific grooming issues.

 The Deschutes River, viewed from one of the oldest crossing points in the county.

The Deschutes River, viewed from one of the oldest crossing points in the county.

If you'd like to support our efforts to restore the Tetherow Homestead, you can donate at any of our facilities, by phone (541-548-7275) or online:

 

(Note: if you are reading this in email, some carriers like Gmail disable the PayPal link.  You can click here to donate through our blog in your browser.)

Dog Days at Tetherow

 Photo by Friends for Life Dog Training

Photo by Friends for Life Dog Training

Central Oregonians are serious about our dogs.  Especially in the summer, our dogs come with us on camping trips, hikes, and even rafting and paddle boarding!  Also, as a time when more dogs are outside, dogs can be at greater risk of accident and injury in the summer.  That means the start of summer is a great time to learn more about how to take care of your dog – and even other dogs you might find outside injured.  Healthy dogs can also reap the benefits of proper grooming, massage therapy, and essential oils.  If you want to give your dogs a great summer, and attend to their health and well-being in new ways, come join a diverse cast of local dog experts in hourly classes in their fields of expertise.  

 Photo by Friends for Life Dog Training

Photo by Friends for Life Dog Training

 Photo by Friends for Life Dog Training

Photo by Friends for Life Dog Training

This series of classes will take place in Tetherow Crossing Park (5810 NW Tetherow Rd. in Redmond), and the instructors have generously volunteered their time so that all registration fees will go to support the restoration of the AJ Tetherow homestead, the oldest house in Deschutes County (1878).  Before and after class, participants can enjoy beautiful Tetherow Crossing Park, right on the Deschutes River, and learn more about the history of the homestead and its role as a critical point of transportation in the settlement of Central and Eastern Oregon.  For more about the homestead and our efforts to preserve the historic structure, you can check out our blog post on Tetherow Crossing.

 Tetherow Crossing Park 2017

Tetherow Crossing Park 2017

One affordable registration fee (going to a good cause) gets you four seminars with local dog experts starting this month:

May 13th – Learn Pet CPR and First Aid in an Emergency – tips for your own dogs and how to respond to a dog you might find injured on the road.  Taught by Dennis Fehling of Friends for Life Dog Training. 10-11:30.  Stay for a nose work demonstration!

May 20th – 10 – 11:30.  Learn massage therapy tips for dogs from Sarah McCoy of Friends for Life Dog Training.

June 10th – Dr. Bernadette Hartman, DVM will present a class on how to use essential oils for your dog. 10 – 11.

For the above classes, instructors will bring their own dogs to demonstrate the techniques.  Please do not bring your dog unless specifically requested.

June 24th – grooming tips from Shannon Dayton, a professional local dog groomer.  Learn how to clip your dog’s nails, clean their ears, the basics of grooming different types of coats, some tips on products and tools, etc.  10 – 11.  As long as your dogs are DOG FRIENDLY and won’t be distracting in the group class, you can bring your dog to get tips on specific grooming issues.

Kids 7 & up are welcome to attend with an adult, but to provide a safe environment, we ask that only kids participating in the class under adult supervision attend.

$40 per adult. 

1 child 7 & up can participate free with adult participant.  Additional kids who want to learn the techniques and attend with an adult, $20.

Pre-registration is required.

Meet some of the generous experts donating their time to help RAPRD preserve this piece of Oregon heritage and spread awareness of these important dog care techniques:

 Photo by Friends for Life Dog Training

Photo by Friends for Life Dog Training

 Photo by Friends for Life Dog Training

Photo by Friends for Life Dog Training

Dennis Fehling describes Friends for Life Dog Training as “a professional dog training business with a mission to help our clients and their dogs stay together through the use of positive reinforcement-based dog training.”  Friends for Life offers a variety of fun classes for puppies and adult dogs.  “We teach a puppy class for socialization,” Dennis explains, “and we teach older dogs manners so they can learn to live with their humans.”

Dennis will be teaching Pet CPR and First Aid in an Emergency.  “We live in a very dog-based community,” he observes.  “At any time you could face an emergency with your dog either at home or out in our beautiful part of the state.  Our goal of the class is to give our students a basic understanding of how to properly do CPR, and help an animal that is choking or bleeding through the use of proven specific techniques that anyone can do and should learn.”  Dennis agreed to give up a summer Saturday to volunteer for RAPRD, he says, because “We love giving back to our community in any way we can.  This was something we could support, as well as get our message out about positive based dog training.”

Dr. Bernadette Hartman has a veterinary practice in Bend and is also a nationally recognized speaker on the Animal Human Connection.  “My practice is focused on holistic veterinary care and intuitive energy healing for owners and their animals,” she explains, “I look at the whole picture including mind, body, spirit, energy and emotions.  Working with behavioral and emotional issues within the Animal Human Connection while helping people become empowered and more connected to their animals is a huge passion and large part of my practice.”

 Dr. Bernadette Hartman, DVM

Dr. Bernadette Hartman, DVM

Dr. Hartman will be teaching the class Behavior, Emotions, and Essential Oils for the Animal Human Connection.  “I feel this is important to help owners understand how and why their animals are displaying behaviors or emotions,” she describes, “how animals are reading energy and how and why essential oils are so important in supporting the Animal Human Connection.”  Dr. Hartman believes that this understanding is important to help owners “create a deeper connection and understanding of their animals and the roles they are playing in their lives.” She explains that the Animal Human Connection contains great healing potential, with the power to uplift and change lives. “This is what I help animals and owners find - deep authentic relationships and connection to ones truth.  The healing truly benefits both owners and their beloved animals.”

Dr. Hartman has agreed to donate her time to give back to the community in this way not only because of her passion for helping animals and their owners, but also because she believes the historic site has a special cultural significance for the county.  “The importance of preserving something that means so much to so many, and can offer a place of continued connection, is very powerful.  This will benefit future generations and all of us here in the present.  It's a win-win for all!”

Come out to Tetherow Park this summer to learn these important dog care skills and support the restoration of an important piece of Deschutes County heritage!  If you can’t make it to the dog care seminar this year but you’d like to support the historic preservation of the Tetherow Homestead, you can make a donation at the pool or the RAPRD Activity Center, or online.

 

(Note: if you are reading this in email, some carriers like Gmail disable the PayPal link.  You can click here to donate through our blog in your browser.)

 Tetherow Homestead c. 1915

Tetherow Homestead c. 1915

 Tetherow Homestead 2017

Tetherow Homestead 2017

Donations Flow to Support Redmond Homeless in April Showers Campaign

April Showers poster.jpg

Perhaps you’ve seen this sign on flyers at Cascade Swim Center or the RAPRD Activity Center.  We at RAPRD take our role in the Redmond community seriously.  Our programs are made possible by public support and we, in turn, make it possible for the public to participate in fitness and recreation offerings without the membership fees required by private clubs and gyms.  Although our primary purpose is not social services, our role as a public entity dedicated to community wellness uniquely positions us to serve otherwise underserved populations. 

We endeavor to never lose track of that sense of purpose.  For example, our Adventure Quest before and after school program, and our Camp Adventure Quest summer program for kids provides healthy snacks to keep kids full of energy and playing hard all day.  We offer scholarships so that community members have the opportunity to experience wellness and recreation programs regardless of ability to pay.  We offer our Hero Pass to honor Redmond veterans and encourage them to participate in programs with their families.

Longer than all these programs, however, going back decades, we have offered use of our shower facilities at a low cost.  We understand that, for many in Redmond, recreational and enrichment programming simply isn’t on the table.  We want to do our part to make wellness a possibility even for those who must dedicate all their money, all their time, and all their energy just to getting by.

 Photo by  Mark O'Rourke

Photo by Mark O'Rourke

Around 1 in 5 of the homeless or housing insecure in Central Oregon is considered “unsheltered,” meaning camping, squatting, or living out of a car.  Some families may “double up” with neighbors or friends, and some may live in RVs without utilities.  Central Oregon’s homeless include veterans and the elderly, and more than 40% of Central Oregon’s homeless population are children under 18.

These numbers only scratch the surface.  According to Chris Clouart, Managing Director at Bethlehem Inn homeless shelter in Bend, “the annual homeless count is a snapshot.  It has a limited reach.  If you are accessing the shelters, you are in a position to be counted, but if you are trying to keep your campsite from being found and taken away from you, you are probably off the radar.”  Clouart estimates that the annual homeless count doesn’t capture a sizeable percentage of Central Oregon’s homeless.  “The count is probably inaccurate by about a third,” he says.

 Photo by  Karim Corban

Photo by Karim Corban

Homelessness increases in the summer as an influx of hard-working people move to the area to fill the seasonal jobs that tourism and construction bring to the area.  With housing prices high and climbing, and a very tight rental market, these people might have regular jobs but no place to live.  They’re filling a needed gap in the workforce, trying to do jobs that keep Central Oregon’s economy humming in the summers, but they don’t have access to something as basic as showers or running water.  They don’t fit the stereotypical image most people have of a homeless person, and in fact, don’t see themselves that way.  “They’re living out of their car, so they aren’t homeless in their own eyes,” Clouart explains.  They’re a hard working man or woman who says “well, I’m not homeless, I just can’t find housing.’”  This mindset means that people who are working, but unsheltered may not seek help from local resources. 

For people in this situation, “The most critical issues are the issues of hygiene,” Clouart explains, “Running water just seems like such a natural thing to most people.  You don’t realize what a necessary thing it is until you don’t have it.”

 Photo by  chubstock

Photo by chubstock

At RAPRD, we recognize water as a force for wellness.  We see it in our aqua fitness classes and in water therapy for patrons with injuries or disabilities.  Water can be restorative.  A shower is more than just shampoo.  A shower is a moment of peace, of independence, of purification.  “To be able to say ‘I feel clean,’” Clouart describes, “what an emotional boost that can be to someone.” Access to shower facilities improves mental and physical well-being, can restore confidence, and helps job applicants maintain a professional appearance. 

For such a simple thing that most of us take for granted, the impact is significant.  Clouart says, “If you talk to someone who has gone several weeks without a shower and you ask them how they feel, they’ll say ‘I feel grubby, I feel itchy, I feel scratchy, I don’t feel good.’  And then they take the shower and they can say ‘I feel good.’  So you’re not just talking about physical hygiene, but mental hygiene as well.”

 Photo by  Guilherme Yagui

In partnership with the Redmond Library, RAPRD offers a limited number of free showers to housing insecure individuals every month.  The temperature extremes we experience in Central Oregon mean our winters are bitterly cold and our summers oppressively hot; both potentially dangerous for those without sufficient shelter.  In anticipation of another hot summer, our April Showers fundraising campaign will support this program to continue to make free showers available to those who need them.

 

The cost of a shower is only $1.50.

 Make a donation today to give a free shower to someone in need.

(Note: if you are reading this in email, some carriers like Gmail disable the PayPal link.  You can click here to donate through our blog in your browser.)

 

Special thanks to those who have already donated: Alicia, Donna, Lourdes, Susan, Leslie, Peggy, Melanie, Carolyn, and a number of anonymous donors.  If you donated and we didn't catch your name, feel free to contact us so we can thank you here!

Camp Adventure Quest Set to Begin a New Adventure in Redmond Early Learning Center

Throughout the school year, RAPRD offers its Adventure Quest program, before- and after-school enrichment program for children Grades K-5 at five elementary schools, where staff and volunteers lead organized activities, and arts and crafts projects.  The program operates Monday through Friday and during Winter and Spring breaks so that parents can drop their kids off and be assured they will have the attention and support they need.  Staff offers a homework reading period every day.  “It really helps the parents,” says Brandy Princehorn, Assistant Recreation Coordinator, “We know they have had a really long day, some kids are with us until 6:30.” Princehorn is a mother of three herself, and can sympathize.  “You have to go home and make dinner and the do the bedtime routine.  So we offer 20-30 minutes of homework time to give parents that extra help.”  Parents recognize the added value of such engaged staff.  Program participation has exploded, from 6 students per day in 2007 to nearly 80 students per day in 2016.  The program has spread out over five school sites in Redmond and Terrebonne.

Every summer, all those kids, from around the Redmond area, come together for Camp Adventure Quest.  Formerly Summer in the Park, for years, the program was based solely outside, in Redmond’s many community parks.  However, while active time outside is a major draw for the format, the program runs from 6:30am to 6:00pm, and some parents were hesitant to have their kids outside for the whole day.  The campers were at the mercy of the Central Oregon weather, and competed for park space with Music in the Canyon, and teenagers hanging out on summer break, who weren’t the best role models.

That all changed last year when Vern Patrick granted Camp Adventure Quest the use of two modular classrooms for the whole summer.  They finally had a base of operations (with air conditioning!) where the campers could cool off and securely leave their stuff, and do arts and crafts without worrying about the wind and rain sweeping their projects away.  The leaders set up a rotation between the two classrooms and the outside space.  In line with their themes for each week, they had crafts and games in each of the rooms, and field games outside.  On bad weather days, they had a protected space to move all the kids inside.

However, on those days and times with all 60 campers inside, it became obvious just how small two modular classrooms can feel, when filled with active kids.  Princehorn recalls, “That small space changed everything for the better. It let us offer more because we had three spaces to use instead of one [outside park space, as in previous years].  But we couldn’t grow in there.  The goal is to keep growing.”

Princehorn was able to draw on the program’s good reputation in area schools when she approached the Redmond Early Learning Center to ask for space for this summer.  “The schools love to use their space to reach out to the community and help families, so they benefit from our program as well.”  At RELC, the program will have access to the school’s cafeteria, gym, and the large stage/backstage space, which they will use as a classroom and activity room.  RELC is centrally located to a number of area parks, so Camp Adventure Quest not only has access to the school’s outdoor fields and playground, but will continue its tradition of hiking with the kids to different parks each day.  The Centennial Splash Park, and Cascade Swim Center, will become a regular part of their week again.  “These kids benefit from being outside,” Princehorn says, “We want them to enjoy all of our parks.  That’s what we are, we’re parks and rec.  We want to get our kids out to enjoy all that we have, not just the one space.” 

Camp Adventure Quest still meets many of the needs that Adventure Quest addresses during the school year.  Each week has a theme like “Stars and Stripes,” “Nature Gone Wild,” or “Jurassic Park,” that guides the crafts, games, and learning activities.  A librarian visits regularly to read to the kids and leave a rotating bin of library books and, on excursions to the library, and leaders help participants get library cards, and check out, and return books.  In the new cafeteria space at RELC, the school’s Nutrition Services will provide breakfast and lunch to school district nutrition standards each day, which Camp Adventure Quest supplements with morning and afternoon snacks.  “Kids will choose sugar over anything else and that doesn’t give them the fuel they need for the rest of the day so I’ve been trying to incorporate a lot more fruits and high protein snacks,” Princehorn notes.  “We run their energy out,” she says.  “They eat fairly often because they are playing all the time.” 

Like Adventure Quest, Camp Adventure Quest features crafts and stations on coordinated themes each week.  For Nature Gone Wild week, for example, participants hike to the local parks, picking up natural materials to make their crafts (bird feeders out of pinecones, porcupine characters out of pine cones and pine needles, rock pets to paint later, etc.).  Incorporated into the fun of collecting and creating is learning about the weather and the seasons, why some trees change and some don’t.  “We’re helping them learn to observe what’s around them,” Princehorn says.  Stations include fun projects like making characters out of paper bags or toilet paper rolls, but also trivia, board games, and activities like cooking (no-bake cookies, English muffin pizzas, etc.) to let kids be creative while learning life skills.

“We are different than a day care,” Princehorn observes, “because our job is not just to watch them.  We are in it with them.  We do all the activities with them, and we use ourselves as a reward.”  She recalls when the kids got to draw beards and mustaches on the staff, or pie them in the face at the end of the summer.  “We are more like an older brother or sister, or an aunt.  Them seeing us do stuff, rooting for us, competing against us in field games, just seeing us be silly; there is something about being outside and being active with them that builds those relationships.  We build that trust with them so they want to come back each year.” 

That trust and familiarity pays big dividends.  “We have had some kids who have been with us for a long time,” Princehorn says, “so seeing them grow and change from a shy kid that cries and clings to mom, and now mom is trying to give them a kiss and they are so excited to get here and jump right into an activity.  We see kids who used to test the waters who are now helpful to younger kids, who can show them the ropes and become mentors themselves.”

Princehorn talks wistfully about “a space that is our own, where we can have big things like a foosball table and aren’t restricted to what will fit in a storeroom, or what we can clear away on a rolling cart,” such as a comprehensive new RAPRD facility might one day bring.  For now, the new space this summer will dramatically benefit the program and allow plenty of room to grow.  She recalls, “The space last year made it feel like ‘Wow, there are a lot of kids in here.’ Whereas RELC is a big school for more kids.  Hopefully parents can see how much opportunity there is there and get excited about it.”

RAPRD Bus.jpg
 

We provide financial assistance so that Redmond kids who qualify can receive a scholarship to attend Camp Adventure Quest.  A $30 donation can send two kids to Camp Adventure Quest for a day.  A $60 donation could send one child for a week.  If you support this program, consider a small donation to help more kids experience the fun of Redmond parks in the summer.

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What Should Redmond's Parks Look Like in 10 Years? Make Your Voice Heard!

 Photo by  PhotoAtelier

Photo by PhotoAtelier

Redmond Area Park and Recreation District works closely with the City of Redmond to offer fun, social programs outdoors, in the many great park locations around Redmond.  The City currently maintains 20 parks, 3.8 miles of trails, and one dog park.  It is the responsibility of the City Parks Division to ensure that the system of parks, trails, and amenities Redmond offers meets the needs and expectations of our residents.  It is their job to make sure that when you and your family or friends go to a Redmond park, you can easily find out what kinds of equipment and facilities will be there before you go, and that you’ll have what you need for a great day out.

To do that difficult job, every 10 years, the Parks Division updates its citywide Parks Master Plan.  “The Master Plan gives us the bigger picture,” says Annie McVay, Parks Division Manager. “It helps us identify things getting outdated, big recreation trends, ways the community’s changing; the broader view of what parks need.”  The last time the plan was updated was in 2008, so the city is preparing for the next update.  The Master Plan update captures the accomplishments of the past 10 years, and identifies goals for parks development in the coming 10 years.  It will guide the Parks Division in the next decade as to which projects to build, how funding should be prioritized, and what should be undertaken first. 

Everything gets evaluated: which parks are being used and how people are using them, which trails are used and where new trails are needed to meet the desires of new and growing sports and recreation niche communities. 

Now, the parks update project team wants to hear from you.  What events and activities do you use Redmond city parks for?  Or, if you don’t currently use the parks, what new facilities or amenities would draw you to try them out?  “Redmond is very different than Prineville and Sisters and Bend, says McVay.  We want to reach out to the Redmond community to hear about their unique needs; what they like about our parks, parts of the park system they think could be improved.  We want to know what success in the next five years for Redmond parks means to you.”  She recalls, “Pickleball blindsided the nation a couple years ago, so if there are big recreation trends that are up and coming that aren’t aware of, let us know!”

The project team takes their job seriously and has planned a number of ways to try to get the community involved in the parks update process.  They want to make it as easy as possible to give them your feedback, so they have come up with a number of ways you can tell them what you think.  There is citywide survey sent out every year.  “Over the past couple years,” McVay reports, “we have had three large scale community surveys.  One was mailed to every resident.”  An interactive website called “My Sidewalk” issues weekly posts on different themes.  Last week’s asked residents to respond to the open-ended question, “What do you want your children to remember about playing in Redmond parks?”  In some communities, the “My Sidewalk” program has been a great tool for eliciting public feedback, but so far, Redmond has seen low participation.

Although the Master Plan project team stays up to date on the latest research and studies regarding community development and park planning, the participation of residents is key.  We can get a good idea of trends, but our planning should begin with the thoughts and the needs of the residents,” McVay explains.  “If we planned in a vacuum we’d miss a lot of things that are really important to people.”

McVay also discussed some of the challenges in uncovering Redmond’s park needs so far.  “The difficulty with the master plan is it is so big.  It is more abstract, not site-specific, so it is hard to get your head around.  A community park like Quince or Bowlby, everyone uses it and everyone knows what they want and don’t want.”  She gives some examples: “If you have kids, your biggest need might be playground equipment.  If you have school aged kids, your needs might be focused on sports fields.  But aggregating that to the big picture, and farther into the future, is more challenging” 

 Photo Credit: City of Redmond

Photo Credit: City of Redmond

There’s more art than science to eliciting the information the city needs from residents about their park needs.  “If you just list a bunch of activities and facilities, everyone loves all of them, but that doesn’t get us to priorities.  So we use open-ended questions and people will respond with what matters to them most.  Our recent survey about Quince Park did a great job of capturing impressions.”  With regard to common themes among residents’ responses to open-ended surveys about the Master Plan, McVay observes, “One thing that always comes up as a really high priority is trails and connectivity.”

In an effort to offer a variety of forums for engagement, there is also a series of public meetings and other outreach to the community to invite you to contribute ideas, outline existing challenges, and get information about what could be possible for Redmond parks in the next 5-10 years.  The City is hosting an open house to seek public input about the future of Redmond’s parks, trails, natural lands, and outdoor recreation opportunities.  The open house will be on Wednesday, April 5th, at 5:30 pm at Redmond City Hall (formerly Evergreen school), in Civic Room #206.

 Photo Credit: City of Redmond

Photo Credit: City of Redmond

There will be an opportunity at the open house for constituents of various demographics to have their voices heard.  The needs of hikers may not always match the needs of seniors, which may not always align with the needs of families with young children.  The Parks Division wants to respond to and balance these competing needs.  “There are different ways that different cultures use our parks,” McVay observes, “And a lot of our parks here are geared toward families with children, so we hear from senior citizens that we could meet their needs more.”  To gather the impressions of these user groups, the open house will feature thematic stations, like “Trails,” “Ball fields” etc. The Parks Division will also be able to present more information on what they’ve developed so far, which will hopefully make it easier for residents to comment on the Master Plan. “It can be harder in the abstract,” McVay says, “but once they see something in writing, people have a better sense of how to direct their comments.”

This will be only one of many platforms the city will provide to learn about the process and offer your guidance to the project team, but it is an important first step that will shape the Master Plan update by creating a framework and jumping off point for future engagement.  Don’t miss this chance to make your voice heard and make sure your city parks continue to meet your needs going forward as Redmond grows and evolves.