Meet the 2021 Board Candidates

Board members will be voted on at the Annual Meeting on March 18th, 2021

President

Jen DeRice, CPRP
Director, Standish Parks & Recreation

Tell us why you want to serve on the Board of Directors
I want to continue to serve on the Board of Directors because I value the work being done at the State level to help further our message and promote the benefits of parks and recreation. It’s a great way to stay connected with professional colleagues while having a voice to help affect growth in our own individual communities. I hope my contribution to the association is valuable and that I can continue to serve in a leadership role while also helping to continue our message on to the future leaders of our association.

Tell us what your priorities would be if elected
As the current VP of MRPA, a past member at-large and SMART representative, I found my place in the organization through helping to promote professional networking, training and educational opportunities. As President, I will continue to promote the existing initiatives of the board and plan for the future. I am excited to strengthen our position within the State of Maine by promoting the mission of MRPA and to help elevate the profession. I will continue to connect with similar organizations to collaborate and promote various causes of our association while providing necessary oversite. Additionally, I am excited to recruit other professionals who want to jump on board with us to help sustain the organization’s leadership in the long term.

Summarize your previous service to MRPA
MRPA Board of Directors Vice President (2018-19, 2020-21), At-Large & SMART Rep (intermittently between 2003-current), Awards Committee Chair, Entertainment Showcase Committee Chair, Fall Workshop Committee, Spring Conference Committee, Conference Presenter.


Vice President

Nicole Welch, CPRP
Director, Buxton Recreation Department

Tell us why you want to serve on the Board of Directors
Serving on the MRPA Board of Directors continues to be a rewarding experience, both personally and professionally. I have seen first-hand what a strong state association can do for the local parks and recreation industry. All parks and recreation departments have the same overhead goals; connect community, support physical and mental wellness, provide safe social outlets, and promote public facilities. MRPA is an umbrella where departments from around the state can support each other in those initiatives, which makes all of us stronger. I am very passionate about MRPA’s mission statement, and would love to continue to promote those values to the association.

Tell us what your priorities would be if elected
As the Vice President, I will continue to support the membership in a variety of ways, including helping to organize networking events, assisting with social media connectivity, and promote initiatives which support our mission statement. On the broader spectrum, I would like to help lead this organization with the same professionalism and passion for the field as those before me. I have had the pleasure of working with, and learning from, many driven and focused leaders since joining my first MRPA committee in 2014. At the time, I did not realize the professional potential that joining a state-led parks and recreation committee could provide.
By encouraging and promoting leadership opportunities for professionals who want to become more involved in MRPA, the Board of Directors can ensure that our tradition of building up our colleagues around the state remains strong. It is an exciting time to be in this industry, and it would be my pleasure to help the President guide the board into the future.

Summarize your previous service to MRPA
Fall Workshop: 2014 to 2019, Chair 2017-2018
Annual Spring Conference Committee: Speaker Chair from 2015 to 2019, Conference Chair 2020-Current
MRPA Board Member: At Large, 2018 to Current


Treasurer

Karyn MacNeill, CPRP
Director, Yarmouth Parks, Recreation, and Community Services

Tell us why you want to serve on the Board of Directors
Each year, it has been a pleasure to continue to serve our field through the Board of Director’s leadership. I was able to learn the history about our organization, participate in its transitions, and help plan for the future. My passion and commitment to the Recreation and Parks field is strong and I want to continue to give back through my experience and dedication.

Tell us what your priorities would be if elected
I will continue to promote educational opportunities, engagement by all segments of our profession, and push the organization to self-promote our “brand.”

Summarize your previous service to MRPA
Over the last few years, I served MRPA as At-Large Board member, Vice President, and President. I also served as chair and co-chair of the Annual Conference for 7 years, participated in various legislative advocacy meetings, and member of many sub-committees.


Secretary

Sabrina Best, CPRP
Director, Auburn Recreation

Tell us why you want to serve on the Board of Directors
For the past 3 years I have been able to serve as Secretary on the MRPA Board. I have enjoyed connecting with my fellow collogues from around the State and be part of the State board leading the way for our profession. I would love to continue with the work and relationships I’ve been able to make over the years and moving MRPA forward.

Tell us what your priorities would be if elected
My priority is focused on continued efforts towards surviving and recovering from the Pandemic. Navigating the impacts on Youth Sports and recovery efforts towards getting back to ‘normal’.

Summarize your previous service to MRPA
Secretary on the MRPA Board – 2018 to present
MRPA State Hot Shot Coordinator – 2008 to 2013


SMART Rep

Lisa Thompson, CPRP
Director, Wescustogo Hall & North Yarmouth Community Center

Tell us why you want to serve on the Board of Directors
I would work on building relationships with professionals in the state and throughout Southern Maine, helping to build a strong network of support, especially during these unprecedented times.

Tell us what your priorities would be if elected
Building strong support network in Southern Maine * Contribute to the sustainability of the Association * Help to bring new members into the Association

Summarize your previous service to MRPA
Active member of Maine Recreation and Parks Association, 1999-present:
Conference Committee Member for the MRPA Annual Conference, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2020 •
Conference Committee Chair for the MRPA Annual Conference, 2004-2007, 2009 •
MRPA Ticket Program Chair, 2005- 2011
MRPA Board Member at Large 2009, 2010, 2011, 2018-21
Certified Park and Recreation Professional, (CPRP) 2005- present.
Maine Representative to the Northern New England Conference Committee , 2009- present.
NNE Conference Co-Chair, 2014, 2017, 2020
MRPA Conference Speaker, 2015, 2019


EMPRA Rep

Mitch Stone
Deputy Director of Community Development and Director of Parks and Recreation

Tell us why you want to serve on the Board of Directors
Serving as the EMPRA Representative to the Board will allow me to continue Debbie’s great work bringing our region together to educate, share and collaborate with one another while representing the region on the Board and tackling the ever changing environment in which our membership operates.

Tell us what your priorities would be if elected
Be a creative resource for the EMPRA Region and the Board of Directors. Find ways to further our relationships with our State Government and promote the value of MRPA and our profession as an important part of the State’s economic recovery.

Summarize your previous service to MRPA
Although, I have not held formal position or been on a MRPA committee, I have spent my five years as an active member building relationships within the region and State to allow us to better work together to solve problems and find ways to create more sustainable models for the future.


NMCRA Rep

Hillary Hallett
Director, Easton Recreation

Tell us why you want to serve on the Board of Directors
Serving on the board has granted me the opportunity to learn more about our state & our profession! I hope to give members from around the entire state a voice for our individual Departments, as well as our home state as whole!

Tell us what your priorities would be if elected
Continuing to serve as a voice for northern Maine; my wish is for the board to continue to support youth programs based activities & encourage MRPA member involvement.

Summarize your previous service to MRPA
NMCRA Representative 2016-2020.
Currently serving as Northern Maine Hot Shot coordinator.
State Hot Shot Coordinator 2017-2019.
Treasurer of Northern Maine Recreation Association -2015 – current
Secretary of Northern Maine Recreation Association 2010-2014


At Large (3 Members)

Erika Dube
Deputy Director, Saco Parks and Recreation Department

Tell us why you want to serve on the Board of Directors
This year, I am looking to serve MRPA in a new capacity as an At-Large Board Member. I have been fortunate to be involved with MRPA for the past two years as the SMART Regional Representative, and in that time, my appreciation of what MRPA is, how the organization benefits its members statewide, and ways I can contribute to the organization has grown considerably. I have immensely enjoyed the subcommittee work I have participated in, supporting advocacy efforts, LWCF initiatives, and conference planning. Moving forward with MRPA, I am looking to support the association by expanding that work further.

Tell us what your priorities would be if elected
My priorities for MRPA in 2021 will be focused on supporting MRPA members as we consider re-opening plans and examine Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion (DEI) in our industry. I also plan to continue supporting MRPA advocacy initiatives.
For many of us, this past year has been a year of adapting and modification. Impacts to parks and recreation departments from COVID-19 ranged statewide, from reduced programs to virtual programs to aiding community resource efforts to staffing impacts and closures, and more. As we move into the next phase of planning in the pandemic, I feel it is important to support parks and recreation departments through training and continued discussions about re-opening plans and best practices to resume programs.
Looking at Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion (DEI), it is important that we examine how parks and recreation contributes to the inclusion of all community members. We offer essential services and programs in our cities and towns, and play an integral role in the overall health of Maine communities; it is vital that we ensure these opportunities are accessible to everyone. It is my goal to create a dialogue with MRPA members around DEI-impact areas, such as programs, registration format, policy, team development, etc.
Regarding advocacy, I am passionate about ensuring the voice of parks and recreation professionals is heard. Municipal parks and recreation departments in Maine are diverse and multi-faceted; my goal is to contribute to MRPA advocacy efforts, creating clarity around our work, and connecting our message with those that can lend support.

Summarize your previous service to MRPA

Over the past few years, I have been involved with MRPA in a variety of functions:
• MRPA Board: SMART Rep 2019-2021
• Annual Spring Conference Committee: For 2020 and 2021, served on committee focused on event marketing – ads, graphic design of the conference guide, recruiting speakers, etc. Presented two sessions at the 2019 conference.
• MRPA Board Sub-Committees: Social Media Development and Advocacy Committee
• LWCF support: 2020-2021
• Fall Workshop: presenter in 2018 and Fall Workshop Chair for 2019
• Pine Tree State Track Meet: event helper 2019

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Tyler Stewart, CYSA
Recreation Programmer, Old Orchard Beach Recreation

Tell us why you want to serve on the Board of Director
MRPA provided me opportunities to be part of committees and events that have grown me personally and professionally. The lessons learned, support, feedback, and connections will continue to be valuable to me and my community. I feel it is important to that I do my best to give back to the association, the local departments, and all the members who serve the communities in Maine.

Tell us what your priorities would be if elected
As chair of the Youth Sports Committee and member of the Advocacy Committee, both newly formed committees, I would work hard to keep both committees on track and relevant to our message. I would be an active board member during discussions of our budget and how to best promote the MRPA organization into what is clearly a new era of the world.

Summarize your previous service to MRPA
– Exective Board Member 2018 – Current
– MLB Pitch, Hit, Run Chair 2014 – 2019
– Fall Workshop Committee 2019 – Current
– Advocacy Committee 2020 – Current
– Bill Bonnyman Golf Tournament Chair 2020 – Current
– Youth Sports Committee Chair 2020 – Current
– Spring Conference Vendor Chair 2021

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Gary Colello, CPRP, CSCS
Director, Bridgton Recreation

Tell us why you want to serve on the Board of Directors
I want to advocate for Recreation. I want to support this profession, I want to help people and help this organization by sharing thoughts, and programs with each other. I want to help support collaboration of recreation departments.

Tell us what your priorities would be if elected
As mentioned in the last question I want to be an advocate for Recreation. I want to support, youth athletics, outdoor programs, senior programming, and family events.

Summarize your previous service to MRPA
I have served on the Fall Workshop committee as was Chair of the committee in 2020 (cancelled due to COVID) and plan to be on the same committee for 2021. I have taken part in MRPA programming such as the ticket program, Hot Shot and Pitch Hit Run, as well as attended all MRPA conferences and workshops the last several years. I have also attended several MRPA Board meetings to learn more about the Boards charges. I feel as though I would be a great addition to the group and represent Parks and Rec as best as I can!


Parliamentarian

Doug Beck, CPRP
Outdoor Recreation Supervisor, Maine Bureau of Parks & Lands

Tell us why you want to serve on the Board of Directors
In addition to responsibilities regarding federal and state grant programs, I serve as a resource for Maine cities and towns in matters related to community recreation. As parliamentarian I can maintain a direct connection with MRPA and therefore issues and concerns related to community recreation service delivery in Maine. With decades of work in municipal parks and recreation and service to MRPA in various roles, I feel strongly about providing ongoing support to help the association and its members excel.

Tell us what your priorities would be if elected
My priorities are to provide context and content to topics of concern to the association, enabling the board to make informed decisions without being an impediment to progress.

Summarize your previous service to MRPA
I have served at the committee level, and board level, and as vice president, president and executive director of the association.


Citizen Board Rep

Alan Grady
Regional Sales Representative, Musco Lighting

Tell us why you want to serve on the Board of Directors
As a prior parks and recreation director I have a lot of interest in the field and want to stay informed of all MERPA activities. I feel my experience and now current position can help bring new ideas to the table.

Tell us what your priorities would be if elected
Assist with the state conference, help push summer ticket sales, sponsor events when applicable

Summarize your previous service to MRPA
Sports Coordinator at Gorham Parks and Recreation
Director of Parks and Recreation at Sanford
Smart Rep for MERPA