Base Kodiak MWR: Gold Medal in Excellence

(Left to right) Mike Abbate, Gold Medal Awards head judge and Director of Portland Parks and Recreation, Rachael Dyer, Community Support Branch 1 Chief, Base Kodiak, Rick Carma, Base Kodiak MWR director, Linda Pena, Base Kodiak Business Branch Chief and Mike Shindler, Musco Lighting, the sponsor of the National Gold Medal Awards.

(Left to right) Mike Abbate, Gold Medal Awards head judge and Director of Portland Parks and Recreation, Rachael Dyer, Community Support Branch 1 Chief, Base Kodiak, Rick Carma, Base Kodiak MWR director, Linda Pena, Base Kodiak Business Branch Chief and Mike Shindler, Musco Lighting, the sponsor of the National Gold Medal Awards.

Coast Guard Base Kodiak’s Morale, Well-Being and Recreation Division is the recipient of the 2016 National Gold Medal Award for excellence in the field of Park and Recreation Management by the National Recreation and Park Association and became the first Coast Guard unit to ever be selected as the grand award winner.

During their annual gathering in St. Louis, Missouri, NRPA recognized the best of the best in Armed Forces recreation program management over a five-year period. Competing with larger installations from the other services, Base Kodiak was recognized as the leader from a field of competitors that included Ft. Carson, Ft. Riley, and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Maine.

“This award was not only for the current MWR staff and volunteers,” said Rick Carman, Base Kodiak MWR director. “This award encompasses programming from 2011 through 2015. So it’s a tremendous effort.”

Throughout the judging process, Base Kodiak emphasized their unique challenges facing service members on a remote island in the Gulf of Alaska and the innovative ways their MWR staff met those challenges.

The National Gold Medal Award for excellence in the field of Park and Recreation  Management.

The National Gold Medal Award for excellence in the field of Park and Recreation Management.

The Base Kodiak MWR staff were also heavily involved in partnerships with national and local organizations that included the USO, Armed Forces Entertainment, Wounded Warriors, Project Healing Waters, Special Olympics; support groups that included the Chief Petty Officers Association and Spouses Association of Kodiak; local governmental agencies that included the Kodiak Island Borough School District, along with support from Department of Defense partners in Alaska through programs like operations Dire Wolf and Arctic Care.

The award also outlined the MWR’s specialized programming adapted for operation in Kodiak, which includes deployable Morale Supply Kits, annual Winter Wonderland and Eco Challenge events, award-winning youth activities program supported through a partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of America, and Kodiak MWR’s investment in upgrades to the Bear Valley Golf Course, new computerized scoring consoles for the bowling center and a 3D capable, digital projection system for the base theater.

“Selection for this award recognizes the hard work of the MWR staff and the many volunteers that serve our members and families in Kodiak,” said Capt. Jeffrey Westling, Base Kodiak commanding officer. “Our MWR team provides a truly superior level of ‘Rock Solid’ support.”

“To be nationally recognized outside of the Coast Guard is phenomenal,” said Carman. “And we’re getting a lot of great feedback from leadership; emails coming in congratulating us. We feel very honored.”

The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration is a non-profit organization founded to advance knowledge related to the administration of recreation and parks; to encourage scholarly efforts by both practitioners and educators that would enhance the practice of park and recreation administration; to promote broader public understanding of the importance of parks and recreation to the public good; and, to conduct research, publish scholarly papers and sponsor seminars related to the advancement of park and recreation administration. For more information, visit www.aapra.org.

The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. Through its network of 30,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy lifestyles, recreation initiatives, and conservation of natural and cultural resources. For more information, visit www.NRPA.org.

For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.

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