Meet the BT Stitchers

BT Stitchers
The BT Stitchers, from l-r, include Hattie Downs, Ruth Morrow and Elsie Trowell. 

By Walter Munday
Outreach Manager
E-mail Walter

Hattie Downs, Ruth Morrow and Elsie Trowell are avid sewers and knitters.

They participate in a program at the Watson Powell Senior Center (an affiliate of the Berrytown Recreation Center) known as BT Stitchers, which is a sewing group that teaches anyone from children to seniors how to sew. The program began approximately ten years ago by Downs who, at the time, had recently retired from UPS. She wanted to recast her career as a volunteer.

BT Stitchers has made curtains for homes built by Hand in Hand Ministries in Belize, pillows and blankets for neighborhood children, as well as mend uniforms donated to nearby Middletown Elementary School. The group has also made gloves and hats to go with coats that were given away as part of the Santa Train, which gives presents to children in Appalachia.

In 2013, Downs was a WLKY Bell Award winner as well as a Metro Volunteer Service Award. Currently, there are about 17 participants in the program. Average daily attendance is about 7-8. Several of the participants in Metro Parks & Recreation’s Adapted and Inclusive Recreation (AIR) program participants have recently started to participate. Downs, along with Morrow and Trowell are usually at the Watson Powell Building daily sewing and knitting.

If you’re interested in learning more about this program, and/or other programs at the Berrytown Recreation Center, contact Brent Priddy at 456-8148, or log onto: https://louisvilleky.gov/government/parks/berrytown-recreation-centerhome-air-program.

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Dedicated volunteers celebrated at Riverside, the Farnsley-Moreman Landing

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By Walter Munday

Outreach Manager
E-mail Walter

Riverside, the Farnsley-Moremen Landing hosted their annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner on Tuesday, February 28, 2017, to honor their dedicated 2016 Volunteers.

Approximately 60 people attended the event including State Representative Charlie Miller and Louisville Metro Councilwoman Cindi Fowler.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Trisha Smith-Kolb was unanimously awarded the Riverside, the Farnsley-Moremen Landing 2016 Volunteer of the Year.
  • Volunteers range from age 9 to 90.
  • Riverside hosted several community events in 2016. Those include: Riverside Plant & Herb Sale, Mayor’s Derby Brunch On the River, Family Farm & Forage Day, Ice Cream Social, Halloween Trick or Treat and Old-Fashioned Family Holiday Festival.

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    Councilwoman Cindi Fowler, left, joined volunteers at this year’s celebration at Riverside. 
  • Riverside welcomed 56,834 people to the property in the last calendar year.
  • Riverside had at least 198 individuals volunteer here over the course of the year. They included all of the regular volunteers as well as large groups from GE and Humana for special project days.
  • Total volunteer hours worked are estimated to be at least 2,745 for 2016!  Volunteers help with mailings, tours of the historic house, school field trips, summer cultural pass days, special events, office work and gardening.

Riverside and Historic Locust Grove are the two historic properties operates by Louisville Metro Parks and Recreation.

Studio 2000 Deadline Extended to March 24!

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By Ehren Reed
Outreach Program Manager, Louisville Visual Art
E-mail Ehren

Studio 2000 is a partnership between Louisville Metro Parks and Louisville Visual Art that allows high school students who are interested in pursuing visual art as a career to have the opportunity to work with professional artists in one of four focus areas— clay, fiber, mixed media or the first-ever mural art track! Students are not only provided with high-quality instruction throughout the course, but they also receive a $500 stipend at the end of the eight-week program. Studio 2000 will be offered this summer from June 12 through August 3, 2017 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3:00 pm until 6:00 pm at Shawnee Arts & Cultural Center, 607 South 37th Street.

In 2001, the City of Louisville’s Office of Youth Development created Studio 2000 to connect teens with a passion for art with professional artists. The initiative was modeled after a similar program in Chicago. At its peak Studio 2000 had over 100 students participating each summer, but in 2008 due to budget cuts during the recession the program went dormant, but we are thrilled that it has been revitalized through a new partnership with Louisville Visual Art.

Since its resurrection in 2015, Studio 2000 has seen 40 talented young artists ignite their passions, develop their skills and bring their artwork into the public eye. Working under the guidance of dynamic teaching artists, Studio 2000 apprentice artists create functional and marketable artwork from tableware to jewelry to clothing. The teaching artists work with the students to explore new and unusual techniques, while placing a strong emphasis on craftsmanship, resulting in unique, high-quality artwork.

“Thanks to the Studio 2000 program hundreds of young artists have received exposure and seen their talents nurtured,” Mayor Greg Fischer said. “We appreciate the efforts of these students, teachers, and LVA. I’m looking forward to seeing their work at the sale and show this summer. It’s exciting to see a new generation of professional artists being cultivated.”

Past participants in the program have experienced tremendous growth in their skills and confidence throughout the course of the summer. With field trips to galleries and museums, visits by local guest artists and supportive critiques, this unique program invites students to experience life as a working studio artist while spending the summer with other passionate and creative young people.

Studio 2000 participant Ella Gorstein said “I have learned so much from Studio 2000! Being in this program has been a truly amazing opportunity, something I never would have dreamed I could be a part of. I’ve met other amazing artists, received very helpful critiques, made pieces I’m proud of, and had the most fun summer I’ve ever had. I can’t wait to apply my new skills to school and careers in the future. I’m so glad to have been a part of this great class, and am very grateful to the instructors who made it happen!”

We are so thrilled to welcome another group of exceptional students to the Studio 2000 program this summer! Our teaching artists have innovative projects planned that will stretch and expand our students’ skills and creativity in a way that a traditional classroom rarely does.  The program will come together for a public exhibition and sale at the end of the summer that brings proceeds back to Studio 2000 to support future programming.

Students who are interested in participating in Studio 2000 may apply on LVA’s website– the application deadline has been extended until March 24. Students who progress to the next round will be invited for a portfolio review and interview in late March and accepted students will be notified in early April.

Metro Parks and Recreation: looking for (more than) a few good lifeguards

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By Keith Smith
Aquatics Supervisor
e-mail Keith

The lifeguard position ensures the safety of pool patrons and assists with aquatic programs and pool operation. Did you know that from 2005-2016, there were an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the United States — about ten deaths per day.

The average age of a lifeguard is between 16 and 18 years of age.  The young lifeguard has a lot of responsibilities, each time that a lifeguard goes into the lifeguard chair he has the life of each swimmer in that pool in his hands, he or she at any given second could be face with the reality that they might have to save a life.

I am an aquatic professional with 22 years’ experience training lifeguards, I have trained YMCA lifeguards and American Red Cross lifeguards and the training is challenging, the student learns the importance of maintaining lifeguarding knowledge and skills. The American Red Cross lifeguard program is 28 to 30 hours and teaches:

  • Surveillance skills to help you recognize and prevent injuries
  • Rescue skills – in the water and on land
  • First aid training and professional rescuer CPR – to help prepare you for any emergency
  • Professional lifeguard responsibilities like interacting with the public and addressing uncooperative patrons

To become a lifeguard you must first pass the prerequisite skills test which includes a 300 yard swim (100 freestyle, 100 breaststrokes, and 100 choice of freestyle or breaststroke) and you must swim 20 yards and surface dive 10 feet retrieving a 10 pound brick. Once the swimmer has retrieved the brick then the swimmer must swim 20 yards on their back while holding the brick to the original starting point. The swimmer must exit the water without using a ladder or steps. This prerequisite must be completed in 1 min and 40 seconds. The student must be able to tread water for two minutes without using hands.

Once the students complete the lifeguard class they must obtain a lifeguard permit from the Louisville Metro Board of Health to work in Louisville Metro which consist of passing a Board of Health guard course (water skills) and passing a written test.

Louisville Metro Parks Aquatics will be hosting American Red Cross Lifeguard classes at the Mary T. Meagher Aquatic Center at 201 Reservoir Ave. now through the end of May. The cost of the classes is $200. Anyone who is interested in being a lifeguard for Louisville Metro Parks may take the class for free!

Please contact Keith Smith at the Mary T Meagher Aquatic Center at (502)895-6499 or by e-mailing me.

Project Update: Beargrass Creek Trail Shared Use Path

By Lisa Hite
Senior Planner
e-mail Lisa

Metro Parks and Recreation and the Army Corps of Engineers recently hosted its second public meeting on the “Beargrass Creek Trail Conceptual Shared Use Path and Ecological Restoration Plan” that will link the Cherokee Park area with the Ohio River via a shared-use path. The plan has drawn a lot of attention from the cycling community and citizens throughout Louisville.

The latest meeting, at the Clifton Center, included a bit of background from the last meeting held in August including comments, suggestions, concerns we received then.

A detailed discussion of several alternatives throughout the stream corridor from Lexington/Grinstead to the confluence with the Ohio, including a little bit of the South Fork of the creek, also followed.

Some alternatives have some pretty big and cool ideas such as following the old route of the Big Four rail line as it came south of the river into the city and using a spiraling bridge structure similar to what Waterfront Park has at the Big Four Bridge. They are calling it “The Little Big Four Bridge. ” It would be the most costly, but is about the only way to have a route that follows the creek, stays off the street, and is able to navigate the big obstacles such as existing railroad, interstate highway and a bridge over the creek that has no possibility of a path going under it. It would be an amazing, iconic landmark if it were to go forward.

There are other more circuitous, partially on-street routes which are less costly as well.

There was a good Q & A after the presentation. Mostly the questions were about how would this be funded, possible timeline, “what does it take for the project to go forward”-kind of questions. There was interest in a nearby impound lot and doing something more productive and environmentally friendly with that. There was a lot of interest in the stream restoration ideas.

At the next meeting, possibly in early December, will present final recommendations about the routes and stream restoration after comments from this meeting have been considered.

If you’d like to check out the presentation from the Oct. 17 meeting, please click here.
Warning, it’s a sizable file, but it’s worth opening and checking out!

Iroquois Amphitheater 75th Anniversary Celebration

The Iroquois Amphitheater ended its 75th Anniversary season with a BANG! Wonderful performances by the University of Louisville Big Band Jazz Ensemble and Justin Paul Lewis.  Attendees  celebrated with a cocktail hour, tour of the facility and dancing onstage. In a special moment to commemorate this anniversary; past and present performers, musicians, crew members, ushers, and patrons were invited to join us for a photograph on stage.

75th group
Click to enlarge/save image.

If you were unable to attend the 75th Anniversary event, we also unveiled a short film (25 min.) depicting the history of the Amphitheater and its impact on the community. Check it out!

Exploring the World through Metro Parks & Recreation’s Summer Camps

By WALTER MUNDAY
Community Outreach Supervisor
E-mail Walter

A few weeks ago, I overheard a conversation between my brother-in-law and son regarding the importance of reading.   One of the things I heard him tell my son was “that reading allows anyone, regardless of cultural, economic, and/or social barriers, the opportunity to explore the world through their imagination.  It allows anyone to explore places that they’ll never visit, meet people that they’ll never see in person, and consume knowledge and understanding about cultures and history which they’ll otherwise never know.”

The same could beblog1 said about the summer camps that took place at our 12 community centers this summer.    The theme this year was “A Fantastic Voyage”, and each center had the flexibility in guiding its campers through local and/or world educational voyage.

For instance, Beechmont Community Center’s voyage traveled to South America where campers learned about the language, culture, history, political structure and more of countries like Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, and more.  At the conclusion of the camp, campers performed in “A Fantastic Voyage High School Musical,” a performance for friends which highlighted what they’d learned throughout their voyage.

On the other hand, Baxter Community Center’s Voyage was a little closer to home.   Their voyage traveled to islands of Hawaii, and provided campers intimate details about the culture, history and natural elements of the land.   Campers wrote essays about the different islands, learned about native dances as well as leaned about volcanos.  Campers also created maracas as part of their art classes.

Southwick Community Center’s Voyage took advantage of our local history and cultural amenities like for example a trip to the Kentucky Derby Museum.   This voyage, led by Ronnie Dreistadt, the Education Curator at the museum, took campers on a historical voyage back to Europe and West Africa focusing on the beginning of Thoroughbred Horse racing.   It focused on President’s Washington and Jackson’s role in horse racing as well as the contributions of African Americans to sport oblog2f horse racing.

These voyages, in addition to the other programs offered like fitness, arts, and environmental education, highlighted each of our summer campers’ experience.  It provided many of them, who unfortunately haven’t even traveled much further than their own neighborhoods, an opportunity to learn what exists outside of their immediate area; outside of our country.  It challenges their imagination, and encourages them to dream.

Some of the additional featured activities included: Belle of Louisville Cruise, Youth Health Initiative Program, Reds Rookie Success League, Bike Sense program, trips and so much more.