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Borough Parks and Rec Director receives national certification

Published: May. 31, 2022 at 4:44 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The director of Fairbanks North Star Borough Parks and Recreation recently received recognition for his hard work.

With over 20 years of experience under his belt, director Donnie Hayes has worked for the borough Parks and Recreation department since 2017.

According to Hayes, he knew what he wanted to do with his life long ago. “I’ve always been a recreation guy, grew up going to recreational programs,” he said.

As Parks and Recreation Director, he oversees popular sites all over the borough, including Tanana and Chena Lakes, Pioneer Park and the Big Dipper.

Recently Hayes became a Certified Park and Recreation Executive, the only one in Alaska. “The certification comes from the National Recreation and Parks Association,” he said, “so of course [it’s] a national organization that focuses, really, on equity and wellness and health in our communities.”

Before even taking the test, someone has to “have been in the field of Parks and Recreation for a certain number of years, had to be in a position of leadership for a certain number of years, had to have an educational background in Parks and Recreation,” according to Hayes.

Then it’s time to study. “It’s an 800 page manual that talks about the standards throughout the U.S.,” Hayes said, adding, “It took a year of study. I took a couple of different education courses to prepare for the exam.”

To be certified, someone has to show proficiency in human resources, finance, operations, communication, and planning and policy. “It also talks about social equity,” he added, “and how we can provide health and wellness to all the community members in our local geographic area.”

As summer kicks into gear, the department is busy preparing for seasonal events and programming around the borough. Hayes said, “Our programming staff are really working hard to make sure there’s activities throughout all the parks, Chena Lake, Tanana Lakes, that there’s always something gong on.”

Planned events include a free concert on June 18.

More information and updates from the Fairbanks Parks and Recreation department can be found by joining a program called “Fairbanks Loves Its Parks”.

The Fairbanks Parks and Recreation website can be found here.

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