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Recreation coordinator excited to be on state board

The City of Mitchell Park and Recreation Department Recreation Coordinator Jamie Henkel was recently elected to be on the State Park and Recreation Board for 2014.

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Henkel was elected to the board as a state member-at-large or board member on Oct. 2. She has worked for the City of Mitchell Park and Recreation Department since 2003.

There are 21 members on the state board and Henkel was nominated over Brett Rauterkus, of Spearfish.

She spent eight years as a part-time employee and has been a full-time employee as the city’s recreation coordinator for the past two years.

In a phone interview with The Daily Republic, Henkel discussed the details of her position and duties as a state board member. Following are excerpts from the interview:

Q: What does the Park and Recreation recreation coordinator do?

A: In the summer, I oversee the swimming pool. I hire all the staff and train them and make sure everything is scheduled and goes well. In the fall and spring, I also oversee the kids’ soccer program for kids from kindergarten to fourth grade. In the winter, I assist Recreation Director Kevin DeVries with basketball.

Q: Why did you decide to run for a position on the state board?

A: Our Park and Recreation Director Dusty Rodiek’s term as a state member-at-large was up at the end of this year, so I approached him about attempting to take over his spot. They asked me if I would be interested and I said yes.

Q: What were your first thoughts when you found out you won the nomination?

A: I was humbled. It is always nice to be recognized by your peers. Some of the people you don’t know, you hope to get to know after you are elected, but overall it is a humbling experience.

Q: Are you excited about the new opportunity?

A: I am excited I get to learn different things. I get to network with other towns on how they do things. It is not just about kids playing. This will be a good learning experience for me.

Q: What does the state board do?

A: There are different branches of the board. There is the aquatics branch, which keeps us up to date with all the updates from the Red Cross or USA Swimming. There is the activities branch, which comes together for meetings four times a year and discusses different types of programs and track meets. One of the big things is the Hershey track meets.

Being on the board you get to listen and oversee all of those out of the 15 different committees that are within the park and recreation.