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Tag Archive | "North Kent Community Enrichment"

Recreation program hires new director


by Judy Reed

The North Kent Community Enrichment Board of Trustees (formerly Cedar Springs Parks and Recreation) voted unanimously Tuesday evening, July 30, to hire Jaime Gunderson as their part-time new director.

Jaime Gunderson is the new director for North Kent Community Enrichment.

Gunderson, of Solon Township, will replace long-time director Amanda Gerhardt, who recently resigned due to a career change. According to a statement from the board, Gunderson was selected from a strong pool of talented applicants.

“I am very excited about this opportunity,” she remarked.

Gunderson holds a Bachelor’s degree in Recreation and a Master’s degree in Sports administration and events. She worked in Parks and Recreation for 1-1/2 years with the City of Walker and spent 10 years as Sports Director for Special Olympics. She is also an instructor at Grand Rapids Community College in the Exercise Science Department. She teaches recreation classes, camping and canoeing, CPR/First aid, swimming, and has also taught basketball and soccer.
Some students will recognize her as a teacher of early middle college at Cedar Springs High School. She teaches the class “Intro to college” during both first and second hour to sophomores.
The Post asked her why she wanted to get involved as the Director of NKCE. “The biggest reason was hearing that they were in financial trouble and the possibility that they might shut down,” she explained. “It’s my community and the last thing I’d want to see is the program shut down. With my background, I thought maybe I could step in with some fresh ideas. I have the time, resources, and knowledge to do it.”
Gunderson will work up to 25 hours at an hourly rate of $25 per hour. She said that she would start in the position mid-August.

Bachelor’s Degree in Recreation, and a Masters in Sports administration and events. She worked in Parks and Recreation for 1-1/2 years with the City of Walker, and spent 10 years as Sports Director for Special Olympics. She is also an instructor in at Grand Rapids Community College in the Exercise Science Department. She teaches recreation classes, camping and canoeing, CPR/First aid, swimming, and has also taught basketball and soccer.

Some students will recognize her as a teacher of early middle college at Cedar Springs High School. She teaches the class “Intro to college” during first and second hours to sophomores.

The Post asked her why she wanted to get involved as the Director of NKCE. “The biggest reason was hearing that they were in financial trouble and the possibility that they might shut down,” she explained. “It’s my community and the last thing I’d want to see is the program shut down. With my background, I thought maybe I could step in with some fresh ideas. I have the time, the resources, and the knowledge.”

Gunderson will work up to 25 hours at an hourly rate of $25 per hour. She said that she would start in the position mid-August.

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Parks and Rec to hire interim director


Late summer and fall programs to continue

By Judy Reed

North Kent Community Enrichment, formerly Cedar Springs Area Parks and Recreation, voted at its board meeting on Monday, July 8, to hire an interim director to replace current director Amanda Gerhardt, who is leaving the position after 13 years. They also plan to continue late summer programming, and have the new interim director begin planning fall programs.

“I’ve really loved what I’ve done,” Gerhardt told the board. “I’ve loved meeting new people and watching it grow.”

Amanda Gerhardt is leaving the Director’s position after 13 years. Facebook photo.

The board released a statement Wednesday about their decision and officially thanked Gerhardt for her tenure. “Her passionate commitment to providing affordable recreational activities for members of our community has made a real difference. The Board of Directors of NKCE is grateful for Amanda’s vision and leadership, recognizing that the program is what it is today because of her efforts,” they wrote.

Gerhardt’s last day is July 22. She will be pursuing a career in real estate, but will be available to help train the interim director on a consultant basis.

Members of the community have expressed concerns about the NKCE dissolving after the board met last month to start discussions on the fate of the cash-strapped program. 

Hundreds of kids and adults take part in the various enrichment activities offered each year through NKCE. While the number and variety of programs has increased exponentially, the funding level has not. The program is funded through the member municipalities and the fees charged for programs. While the 2018 audit shows that revenues from the programs have also increased, the organization continues to have more expenses than income, especially in the areas of payroll, insurance, and technology. This is causing their net position to decrease to the point where they may not be able to cover program costs in the coming year. 

The board formed a subcommittee last month to explore what the future of the organization might look like. Matt McConnon, the new board president, and Supervisor in Courtland Township, made it clear at Monday’s meeting that they don’t want the organization to dissolve. “Is it going to look the same or is it going to look different? We don’t know yet what it will look like but we are committed to supporting the existing programs through the end of August,” he said.

Since they do have a contract and budget for the year, the board agreed that a new interim director could begin to plan fall programs. They hope to have the person in place within a month.

“NKCE plans to hire an interim director by mid-August,” they wrote in the press release. “The Board acknowledges the need for time to clarify the future plans to collaboratively provide recreational programming for residents of the partnering townships of Algoma, Courtland, Nelson, and Solon and the City of Cedar Springs. The interim director will provide stability to continue to run existing programs while the Board of Directors determines the best plan of action for the future provision of affordable recreational activities for residents in our community.”  

If you or anyone you know is interested in the position of interim director, please see the full list of qualifications and details at csaparksandrec.com.. 

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