Tag Archives: Happy

Power of Parks: Rachel Stauffer

Welcome to Power of Parks, a podcast produced by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, where we share inspiring stories from people who have benefited from nature, parks and recreation.

Episode 10 features Rachel Stauffer, she’s a mom of three kids, a 7th generation Floridian and a children’s pastor who frequented parks as a child and with her kids. She reached out to PBC Parks for more information about opportunities for recreation to share with her community.

West Boynton Recreation Staff Helps Students Gain Employment Experience

A group of Park Vista High School student volunteers gain valuable work experience at WBRC

Since 2018, staff at West Boynton Recreation Center have been welcoming students from Park Vista High School to the facility to provide valuable job training experience. It began in August 2018 with an off-campus job training program, and has since transitioned to include ESE students from the school. The students range from ages 18 to 22 years old. The program currently has up to three students per day, everyday.

“The purpose of the program is for our students to have another ‘boss’ outside of the classroom… they get to experience employer expectations, interact with the community, and learn skills that cannot be taught on a high school campus,” said Melia Videtta, Park Vista High School ESE teacher. The goal is to not only help students get a feel for what it’s like to go to work, but also to raise their self-esteem and create a sense of excitement for the tasks.

“The students are excited to go to work,” said Ogden Powell, Job Trainer for the Palm Beach County School District. He recalled, “some students have mastered some tasks and are able to work without supervision.” The tasks include window cleaning, sweeping, mopping, and setting up rooms with tables and chairs.

West Boynton Recreation Center Maintenance Worker Carlos Jerez headed up the initiative. He trained the students, supervised, and assigned tasks when the program was at it’s initial stages at the recreation center. Powell recalled, “Mr. Carlos is great with the students.”

Overall, the experience has been welcoming and productive for all the participants. “Everyone is so nice, helpful, and patient with our students… the people at the Rec center are flexible and open-minded,” said Videtto. Travis McPheeters, manager of WBRC, expressed his gratitude for working with the students and faculty at Park Vista High School. “We are thrilled with this partnership we have forged with PVHS,” he said.

Photographers get Unique Opportunity to Photograph Birds of Prey

  • Owl
  • Hawk
  • Owl
  • Hawk
  • Kestrel
  • crowd

Raptor Day for Photographers was held at Okeeheelee Nature Center (ONC) on January 18, 2020. Sponsored by Friends of Okeeheelee Nature Center, this annual event provided 50 photographers with an opportunity to take close-up portraits of birds of prey. This year, ONC partnered with the Treasure Coast Wildlife Center (TCWC) to ensure a diversity of species for the participants to photograph. The birds displayed included two species of hawk, three species of owl, a kestrel, and a crested caracara. The birds are placed on outdoor perches so the photographers can capture images of the animals in natural light and in front of wooded backgrounds.

All of the raptors live at educational facilities under human care because they have an injury that prevents them from returning to the wild. Although many of the birds have visible imperfections, the talented photographers were able to bring out their best features and highlight their natural beauty.

ONC staff and volunteers were present throughout the event to provide information about the birds and answer questions. Participants were also given a brochure that included facts about the raptors and explained a little about each bird’s history.

Feedback from the participants was tremendously positive. Irwin Goldzweig wrote to share some of his beautiful photos and say, “Thanks to you, Heather, and your staff and volunteers. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed Raptor Day. It was professionally organized and implemented which made it totally enjoyable for us as visitors. The staff and volunteers were wonderful, informative, and very helpful. We look forward to the next one.”

Friends of Okeeheelee Nature Center sold out the event within two weeks, raising over $1,200. All proceeds benefit the programs, exhibits and animals at Okeeheelee Nature Center.

VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT: Okeeheelee Golf Course

Rick Ward, Arcade Duguay, and Tom Furmer are long-time, dedicated volunteers at Okeeheelee Golf Course. Ward has been a volunteer for three years, Furmer, for three and a half, and Duguay, for nine years.

The men serve as player assistants and assistant starters for the golf course, meaning they monitor the flow of the game, fill sand bottles, assist with water and trash, and provide customer service to visitors.

The “Allstars,” as noted by Assistant Manager Juan Calderon, are “willing to go above and beyond for the facility and its visitors.” The three volunteers each have different answers when it comes to their favorite part of volunteering, though they all appreciate the ability to assist their fellow golfers; for Ward, it’s being with and helping people, for Duguay, it’s meeting people and making friends, and for Furmer, it’s helping everyone and meeting people.

Power of Parks: Charles Gilbert

Welcome to Power of Parks, a podcast produced by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, where we share inspiring stories from people who have benefited from nature, parks and recreation.

Episode 9 features guest Charles Gilbert, the founder of the Coalition of Men of Palm Beach County, an organization that ensures boys in Belle Glade, South Bay, Pahokee and surrounding areas are able to read at or above grade level by or before the third grade. He’s also an avid supporter of parks and recognizes the benefits of recreational facilities and activities.

Historic Marker Unveiled at DuBois Pioneer Home

PBC Parks, together with other County officials and the Florida State Society Daughters of the American Colonists, unveiled a Historic Marker at the DuBois Pioneer Home on Thursday, November 21, 2019 at 9:00 A.M.

The Historic Marker, which includes a brief description of the home’s history, was donated by the Florida State Society Daughters of the American Colonists, a hereditary organization that among other goals, works to research, record and publish deeds of American colonists. Promoting stewardship of natural, archaeological and cultural sites is a core service of PBC Parks.

After the unveiling presentation, visitors traveled back in time by participating in free docent-led tours of the DuBois Pioneer Home, one of the oldest surviving historic homes in Palm Beach County. Docent-led tours are typically available Tuesdays, Wednesdays (through December 2019) and Thursdays from 10:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. at the home.

Volunteer spotlight: Carole Rapport

Carole Rapport has been a volunteer at Daggerwing Nature Center for over seven years. She serves as the volunteer gift shop manager and is also the treasurer for Friends of Daggerwing Nature Center. Her involvement with the site ranges from the gift shop to volunteer management as well as working with the animals.

Carole started in 2012 working in the butterfly garden and evolved to share her talents in various ways, especially with the Friends of Daggerwing Nature Center. “Carole is a brilliant person with great skills that are valuable to any organization – she is organized, professional, and one of the best friends I know,” said Sean Mallee, Daggerwing Nature Center Manager.

According to Carole, her favorite thing about volunteering at Daggerwing Nature Center, “is all the friendships I’ve made here… all the volunteers come from such diverse backgrounds and experiences but we are friends because our our common goals.”

Free Fridays at Rick macci Tennis aCademy brings tennis to kids

Palm Beach County residents can enjoy a new amenity inside Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park – the Rick Macci Tennis Academy features newly-renovated tennis and racquetball courts, as well as plans to build indoor tennis courts! The facility now offers a “Free Fridays” program, where kids under the age of five can receive tennis instruction for free. Watch this video to find out more!