May 16, 2020

Mountain Rec Honored as VVP’s 2019 Organization of the Year

We believe everyone deserves to be healthy and happy.

This guiding tenet has been the battle cry for the Mountain Recreation team – board and staff alike – as the organization has reimagined, redefined, and reenergized itself to better serve the community.  With an inspired mission, vision, and values, a new name, new logo, new programs, and restructured organization, Mountain Recreation has been recognized for its efforts and investment, having been named the Vail Valley Partnership’s Organization of the Year for 2019.

“We are all so incredibly humbled to receive this designation,” said Janet Bartnik, Executive Director of Mountain Rec.  “I am so impressed by the work the board members and staff have done as a team to change the way we do business in such a short period of time.  To create consistency and cohesion across the District and at the same time to focus on equity, inclusion, health, and community is something to be proud of.”

With studies showing that improvements in behavioral health are realized by deepening social connections between members of the community, Mountain Recreation knows its role in the health system. This is even more important as we help our community recover and heal from the COVID-19 Pandemic. The program and facility social distancing protocols their staff created are being utilized across the country to help other communities reopen.

“We are setting the bar for how to reopen recreation nationally and I’m proud of our staff and fellow recreation providers in Eagle County for taking on this challenge,” said Bartnik.

District programs and facilities provide opportunities to decrease social isolation, disconnect from technology and make new friends. Combined all five of Mountain Rec’s indoor and outdoor facilities see well over 250,000 visitors a year from Edwards to Gypsum, including both locals and visitors, which doubles the benefit by enhancing economic vitality in the community.

Reducing barriers that impact access to critical social and physical health centers, the Gypsum Rec Center had over 123,000 visitors and saw a 100% increase in the number of fitness classes that were offered over 2018. Recognizing the growing senior population in the community, the District added more classes during the day to meet their needs and, in return, saw a 64% increase in senior visits over 2018.

Believing every child deserves the right to play alongside their peers, regardless of their parents’ ability to pay, Mountain Rec expanded its scholarship program. They worked to find a partner and secured an additional $30,000 (a 150% increase) from Eagle Valley Behavioral Health to add to the $20,000 provided by Mountain Rec.

In 2019, Mountain Rec had over 2,700 participants in its youth sports leagues, camps and clinics, an 11% growth over 2018.

Mountain Rec’s RecRX program was launched and had its first participants in 2019. Individuals can have their doctor prescribe physical activity to improve individual health, and through the program both they and their family receive a free membership to the Edwards Field House and Gypsum Rec Center for 3 months to build positive physical activity habits.

Through a partnership with Neighborhood Navigators and MIRA bus, Mountain Rec launched adult swimming and learn to ice skate lessons taught in Spanish. The District has started communicating in Spanish and English. Starting in 2019 their Social Media Posts, Youth Program Brochure, Summer Camp printed materials and new facility signage were all bilingual. Fitness staff partnered with Red Canyon High School to offer after-school weightlifting classes to better connect students to each other and the community. An entirely new program department was founded through a partnership with SOS Outreach aimed and introducing the community to the great outdoors.

The District has followed a systematic process of listening to the community, planning improvements, and delivering programs and services in response in its efforts to understand and meet community needs.

In response to community input, the Mountain Recreation board approved a strategic plan with seven priorities. One of which is centered around converting recreation centers into community centers and expanding district facilities to meet the community’s needs. In 2019 Mountain Rec staff and board worked diligently with partners, planners, consultants and the community to create Master Plans for each of the District’s three service areas in Edwards, Eagle & Gypsum.

Proposed facility upgrades are designed to help combat this community’s mental health concerns. Mountain Rec locations will evolve from rec centers to multi-cultural and multi-generational community centers, while also housing several prosocial, health-focused nonprofits. Stay tuned and hold on to your hats!

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