From docents to youth coaches, a variety of volunteers were honored during a Department of Recreation and Parks awards ceremony in the Blue Heron Center at Quiet Waters Park on January 23. Nominations were accepted year-round. Below are the local winners.
ORGANIZATIONS OF THE YEAR
Pasadena Soccer Club
Pasadena Soccer Club evolved in the fall of 2013 with the merger of Mountain Road Soccer and St. Jane Soccer. With assistance from the Department of Recreation and Parks, the Pasadena Soccer Club has offered training and development to more than 1,100 young athletes ages 4 to 18.
This year, the Pasadena Soccer Club held the 30th Mountain Road Soccer Tournament. This volunteer event attracts teams from Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Proceeds from this event are used to fund $2,000 scholarships for graduating local seniors who have participated in the club’s soccer program. To date, the club has awarded $400,000 in scholarships.
Pasadena Soccer Club public relations director Chris Brady said the award was an honor for the organization, which is run by a volunteer board of 21 members.
“We strive to teach important life lessons such as teamwork and leadership, as well as soccer, all while providing a safe and fun environment for the kids,” Brady said. “Our coaches are constantly attending clinics and earning certifications, and we also have professional soccer coaches come in and work with the coaches and teams.”
The board of directors meets monthly, usually at Mountain Road Library, and is always open to feedback and new ideas to keep the club running as an important part of Pasadena youth sports.
Friends of Kinder Farm Park
Established as a nonprofit in 1999, the Friends of Kinder Farm Park supports the Millersville site by fundraising, constructing small structures, and with special events like the Fall Harvest Festival, Jingle Bell Hayride and Meet the Kids Day.
Visitors young and old especially like meeting the goats, pigs, sheep and alpacas that are fed as part of the Friends’ livestock program. “It's a place where kids can learn about the farm history without it being overwhelming,” said Friends of Kinder Farm Park president Carrie Fielder, who has held that role for the last three years. Fiedler has also served as treasurer during her 10-plus years with the nonprofit.
Along with her fellow volunteers, Fielder was “thrilled to death” to be honored by the Department of Recreation and Parks. She also praised the historical society for helping to fund and supervise the renovation of the 1925 Depression era farmhouse on the property.
“The farmhouse was the original home of the Kinders, so the historical society refurbished and re-established it,” she said. “Before, it was a park office and it wasn’t in great condition. Now people can come to the museum and see things that would have been part of a home in the 1930s.”
Those things are not just artifacts but also farm equipment and tractors displayed as part of the ongoing historical interpretation of Anne Arundel County's rich farm heritage.
RON BLAKE OUTSTANDING VOLUNTEER AWARDS
Named in honor of a former Recreation Advisory Board member and community volunteer, these awards have been given annually since 1985 to individuals who give their time and energy to advance the Department of Recreation and Parks.
Dave Farley — Havenwood Community Girls Softball
In 2006, Dave Farley took an active role in the Havenwood Community Girls Softball program as a coach and board member. Two years later, he became president of the organization and has since seen the participation grow from 57 girls to more than 330 spring members and 250 fall members who play travel and recreational softball.
Farley said that the parents and volunteers deserved to be in the spotlight just as much as he does.
“Havenwood had almost no funds and no equipment and were on the brink. Just scrounging together a few softballs for teams was a challenge,” he said. “We restructured the organization and made specific priorities to raise funds to replenish equipment, make improvements, and turn the organization into a sustainable place for girls to learn and love to play.”
While player registration nearly tripled when Havenwood was at George Fox, the group moved in 2012 to a new facility at Rock Creek Park thanks to effort from the Department of Recreation and Parks and other area sports programs.
“It is tough to run a youth sports program, with the ever-increasing regulations and restrictions placed on these groups,” Farley said. “However, Havenwood has improvised and tried to adapt to these changes to keep the program successful. It takes great patience, planning and persistence.”
Jim and Susan Morrison — Friends of Hancock’s Resolution
“Jim and Susan Morrison have, for the last 20 years, spent their Sundays dressed in period clothing, greeting visitors and teaching them about daily life on a middling plantation dating to the 17th century,” said Barbara Polito, agricultural program administrator for the Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks.
By spending countless hours planning events and scheduling docents for months from April through October, the Morrisons have ensured that the visitor experience is authentic for guests who come to enjoy the variety of interpretive programs that span the centuries during which the land had been occupied: from the Native Americans who prospered along the shores of Bodkin Creek, to the generations of Hancock’s that lived on the site since the late 1700s.
Susan is also a past regent of the Anne Arundel chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution at the Rising Son Inn in Crownsville, and she was governor of the Maryland Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of Maryland two times from 2002 to 2008. She volunteers with the National Society of The Colonial Dames and other area organizations as well.
OTHER ANNE ARUNDEL HONOREES
Aidan Rand was named Youth of the Year for his efforts with the Youth Summer Serve program at Mayo Beach Day Camp. Pumphrey Community Center volunteers Geraldine Bates and Jacquelyn Langford-Winchester both earned Ron Blake Outstanding Volunteer awards, as did Friends of Jug Bay treasurer Jim Harle and Quiet Waters Park volunteer Gary Scaggs. Taking home the Director’s Commitment to Excellence Award, which is akin to a lifetime service award, was Albert “Al” Tucker, who for 33 years has supported the Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary.