Remembering Our Past, Celebrating Our Future

The Palm Beach County Parks Department was created in 1951 as a department under the direction of the County Engineers Office. By 1965, the department was managing twelve parks and included a work force of sixty-nine employees. Reorganization in 1972 led to the separation of Parks and Engineering and so the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department was born. The department steadily expanded during the late 1960s and 1970s. During the 1980s and 1990s, responding to Palm Beach County’s exploding population growth and its equally exploding demand for leisure services, aggressive expansion efforts were accomplished. Today, The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department is recognized nationally for excellence in park and recreation management, operates more than 110 parks and recreational facilities, spanning more than 8,500 acres, and provides organized recreational programs and services for people of all ages and abilities.

Join us in celebrating our 50th Anniversary milestone as the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department. Connect with us on social media and be on the lookout for upcoming publications and events highlighting the history of your county park system.

Looking Back:

Unique Docent Opportunity Available at the DuBois Pioneer Home

Volunteer docents at the Pioneer Home offer a look into Jupiter’s past and serve to broaden the public’s understanding of the unique cultural and historical landmark that sits in DuBois Park. Built atop a Native American shell rock mound by the DuBois family, the home is an excellent example of life in a self-sufficient pioneer homestead. Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department operates the Home and takes visitors on a journey back in time through guided tours to better understand and develop an appreciation for the land and its past inhabitants.

Lynn Desy, a volunteer docent at the DuBois Pioneer Home shared, “Most of all, I love volunteering for PBC’s DuBois Pioneer Home because I love meeting a wide variety of people and sometimes learning of their connections with the home. However, I love researching historical facts and learning more continuously as questions and thoughts arise all the time. My biggest reward is becoming particularly good friends with the descendants of this pioneer family and interacting with, and enjoying them, in their current life.”

The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department recognizes volunteer efforts as a valuable resource in working towards its mission in providing opportunities for healthy, happy living through award-winning parks, inclusive experiences and environmental stewardship. Volunteering is a rewarding way to give back and connect with the community and the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department is looking for volunteer docents who enjoy interacting with people and who have a passion for art, history and culture.

Join our team by volunteering and become the heart of PBC Parks! Apply to become a volunteer at www.pbcparks.com

Palm Beach County & Orange Bowl Break Ground on Phase II of Orange Bowl Field in Belle Glade

Local and county officials joined the Orange Bowl Committee in breaking ground on Phase II of Orange Bowl Field in Glades Pioneer Park in Belle Glade on Tuesday, December 14, 2021.

(L to R)

Steve Wilson, Belle Glade Mayor; Regina Bohlen, City of Pahokee Vice Mayor; C’Jon Armstead, Quantum; Foundation Program Director; Eric Poms, Orange Bowl Committee Chief Executive Officer; John P. “Jack” Seiler, Orange Bowl Committee President & Chair; Melissa McKinlay, Palm Beach County Commissioner; Verdenia C. Baker, Palm Beach County Administrator; Sean Pittman, Orange Bowl Committee Past President; Eric Call, Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Director; Dorritt M. Miller, Palm Beach County Assistant Administrator; Robert L. Rease, Belle Glade City Manger.

The Orange Bowl Committee and Palm Beach County broke ground yesterday, December 14, on Phase II of Orange Bowl Field at Glades Pioneer Park in Belle Glade. 

Phase I was completed in December 2019 and included a synthetic turf field and maintenance, an electronic scoreboard, an entry monument, fencing, walkways and signage. Phase II includes construction of a neighborhood center and restroom that will host a variety of educational, wellness and civic uses. 

The park serves as the playing site for several teams from the Glades Youth Football League, which is a current member of the Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance (OBYFA). In addition, many current and former NFL players from the area have used the field to conduct youth football camps. 

“The continued renovation of Glades Pioneer Park furthers the county’s commitment to youth enrichment and sports and athletic programming and facilities,” said Commissioner Melissa McKinlay. 

The Orange Bowl Committee selected Glades Pioneer Park as a recipient of a $1.5 million matching Legacy Grant for the design, permitting and construction of the Orange Bowl Field and other related amenities. The amount was matched by the Board of County Commissioners providing a total of $3 million toward the renovation project. An additional $400,000 in grant funding was received from the Quantum Foundation and the NFL Foundation to assist with the second phase of the project. “The Orange Bowl Committee is extremely proud to begin Phase II of Orange Bowl Field at Glades Pioneer Park, as part of our 5th Legacy Park Project across South Florida and 1st in Palm Beach County,” said Orange Bowl Committee President & Chair Jack Seiler. “We are happy to complete our 1st Palm Beach County park and further our legacy of building and serving community in South Florida with a fantastic new facility for all ages to enjoy. The mission of the Orange Bowl Committee since its inception in 1935 is to inspire youth, engage our community, and enhance South Florida. This building will accomplish that and much more for years to come.” 

Phase II improvements will cost approximately $1.9 million and is expected to be completed in June 2022. Future plans include a new destination playground, picnic pavilion, grand entry plaza and a vehicle drop off area near the neighborhood center. 

South Florida PGA honors Osprey Point Golf Course Manager and Teaching Professional

Bo Preston, PGA General Manager at Osprey Point Golf Course and Bridget Ackley, onsite PGA Teaching Professional with Don Law Golf Academy (DLGA), were recognized by the South Florida Professional Golfers’ Association (SFPGA) during an awards presentation held at the golf course on Thursday, December 2.

Bo Preston was honored with the Patriot Award and is only the third recipient to have received it. The Patriot Award recognizes a PGA member who personifies patriotism through the game of golf and demonstrates unwavering commitment and dedication to all who have served the United States.

“I am humbled and honored to be the recipient of the award,” said Preston. “Giving back to our veterans is my way of saying ‘Thank you’ for all they have done for me. They all deserve my best and that is what I hope I give them.”

For the past 12 years, Preston’s facilities have participated in the annual Patriot Golf Days in addition to hosting Folds of Honor tournaments. A certified instructor of Adaptive Golf and the PGA HOPE program, Preston has been personally changed by these programs and will continue to provide events like these for years to come.

“This certification has had a major impact on me,” said Preston. “It changes you. I have a whole new insight, respect and appreciation for our veterans.”

When Preston arrived at Osprey Point, there were no programs running for veterans. He immediately put PGA HOPE on their calendar and, over these past few years, has worked to grow the program to what it is today. Their first program of the year brought in 16 veterans and generated a segment on local media PGA HOPE. Preston’s programs have already impacted more than 150 veterans and Preston and his team are committed to providing an exceptional experience for these veterans starting at the first moment they step on to the course.
 
Bridget Ackley has been named the South Florida PGA Youth Development Award winner. The award recognizes the PGA Professional who uses her leadership skills to promote and develop junior golf at both the club and community levels. “When I received the phone call that I won the Section’s Youth Player Development Award, I was truly overcome with emotion,” said Ackley. “Winning this award has been a career achievement goal of mine and it means so much that my efforts to grow the game at the junior level have not gone unnoticed by my peers. There are long and sometimes challenging days that I persevere through in order to provide the juniors with the best experience that I possibly can.”

Throughout Ackley’s time working in junior golf she has been able to develop leadership skills that have helped better translate into positive feedback from her students. Being able to create a comfortable environment for juniors has allowed for better communication and understanding of the game. As a Youth Player Development programmer, Ackley has been successful in spreading passion and enthusiasm for the game of golf to the younger generations.

“The main passion of my career has been to advance positive youth development by using golf skills that transition into various life skills to create successful young adults. Juniors deserve the opportunity to simply enjoy being kids, in a creative golfing environment, to promote lasting positive outcomes.”

While working predominantly with ages 2-12, Ackley also coaches high school golf at Saint John Paul II Academy in Boca Raton, where she has the opportunity to help young men and women not only grow in the game of golf but as individuals as well.

“I want to thank my family for fully supporting my dreams to foster youth development, DLGA for providing a space for me to develop my art of junior programming, and my fellow Professionals for acknowledging the work that I offer to the juniors in the community. I am honored to receive this award.”

“Our Department is very fortunate to have two outstanding people working for us who care deeply about growing the game of golf and creating opportunities for everyone to participate,” said Eric Call, Director of Parks and Recreation. “Congratulations to both Bo and Bridget for this significant recognition from the SFPGA.”