Dave Ellis started working as the Cherokee Recreation Director in August 2008, and he describes his first five months on the job as "very challenging."
Ellis, who was previously employed as the Youth Director at Memorial Presbyterian Church, says his new position is "a lot more work than I thought it would be," and he has found his biggest challenge to be making sure all of the advertising for Parks and Recreation events gets done.
The Cherokee Parks and Recreation Department oversees many events in Cherokee, including Spring and Fall youth soccer, youth and adult basketball, adult volleyball, an indoor soccer league for all ages, badminton, disc golf, the Hershey Track Meet for youth, the "Live Healthy Iowa" program, and the Bacon Aquatic Center.
Ellis said Parks and Recreation had a "really good" youth soccer season last fall, and credits a group of cooperative coaches and volunteers for that success, saying they were very willing to work with him and his unfamiliarity with the job.
As far as activities go, Ellis said 5th and 6th graders have just finished their basketball season and 3rd and 4th graders begin their season in February. Women's and Co-Ed volleyball are going on now, along with a new indoor soccer league for all ages, and Adult basketball. The "Live Healthy Iowa 100 Day Challenge" started this week.
In February, Parks and Recreation is hoping to start a badminton league, if there is enough interest, and there will soon be a Disc Golf "Ice Bowl" event at Koser/Spring Lake Park - a fundraiser for CAASA.
Spring will bring the Spring soccer season and the Hershey Track Meet for kids, and, of course, the Bacon Aquatic Center will be one of his primary focuses this summer.
One of Ellis' goals in this position is to have community members make more use of "this wonderful building" (The Community Center) because a lot of money has been spent on it, and the building is for the community, after all.
Ellis cited Mike Roe for doing a wonderful job getting things cleaned up in the building - making sure chairs are put away, not out in the halls and so forth. He also says Connie Ladwig is a very organized person who, while respectful of "the way things have been done," also knows, as does Ellis, that there might be an even better way to do some things.
Ellis is always looking for new activities for community members. Along with the new indoor soccer and badminton leagues, the Parks and Recreation Department also hopes to start a Running Club for running enthusiasts and a "Strollercize" program for mothers or fathers with young children. He is also contemplating a chess competition, though he admits that this idea didn't generate much response when it was last proposed.
Ellis was very pleased that the Sanford Museum is working with him to provide some new photos for display in the Community Center. Though the current photos displayed are nice photos, they are believed to be 30-40 years old, and Ellis would like some more recent photos. Michele Deiber Kumm was in charge of the Museum's recent "Beauty of Northwest Iowa" photo contest, and Ellis and his wife Cheryl selected eight of the photographs they would like to display at the Community Center. He is currently in the process of contacting the photographers to seek their permission to display their art.
Some community residents have also inquired about a Senior Program in Cherokee, and with that in mind, an informational meeting was set up for this week, inviting community members to share their thoughts about a program geared toward "Seasoned citizens."
Ellis' thoughts at this time centered around having seniors use the lower level of the Community Center at designated times for playing cards or any activities they chose.