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Park and Recreation

Phone: 913-438-7275

7900 Renner Road, Shawnee, KS 66219

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park and recreation

For more than 50 years, the Johnson County Park & Recreation District has provided high-quality parks, park services and recreational programs in more than 6,000 acres of parkland and open green space. Each year, the District records more than 7 million park visitors and nearly 1.5 million recreation participations in over 4,000 programs. The District's contributions to the personal lives of Johnson County's citizens have earned the District local appreciation and national acclaim.

Department News

First of two Public Hayrides offered on Sept. 29 in Shawnee Mission Park
September 4, 2019

The first of two public hayrides being offered by the Johnson County Park and Recreation District this fall at the Oak Ridge Parklands in Shawnee Mission Park will take place on Sept. 29.

In addition to fall hayrides for organized groups, each year JCPRD also offers opportunities for individuals and family members to enjoy the crisp autumn air from a tractor-drawn hayride without having to worry about reaching minimum numbers or placing a deposit. 

This hayride will take place at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 29, at Oak Ridge Parklands in Shawnee Mission Park, 7460 Ogg Road, Shawnee. The cost is $8  per person and advance registration is required. Like the group program, this hayride will last approximately 60 minutes, and will be followed by a 60-minute campfire with apple cider and marshmallows. The second public hayride of the 2019 season is scheduled for Nov. 3. 

To register by phone, call (913) 831-3359. To register online, visit the district’s website at www.jcprd.com, click on “Register for Activities”  and perform a barcode search for 23804 for the Sept. 29 ride, or 23805 for the Nov. 3 ride. 

For anyone interested in group hayrides, spaces are available for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday rides through Nov. 24 at both Shawnee Mission Park and at Heritage Park, 16050 Pflumm Road, Olathe. Organized group hayrides also cost $8 per person but require a minimum of $90.  Reservations must be made at least two weeks in advance of the date of the hayride. For scheduling and information, call (913) 831-3359.

To find these program in the My JCPRD Activities catalog and online listings, browse first under fun for all and then under nature & outdoors. In the catalog and when using the website’s advanced search,  look for the keyword “hayrides.”

Hear about a Fulbright Scholar's time in Egypt during Sept. 27 Lunch and Learn for 50 Plus
September 4, 2019

Hear the experience of a Fulbright Scholar’s time in Egypt spent teaching, exploring art and history, and traveling during the next Lunch & Learn program being presented by the 50 Department of the Johnson County Park and Recreation District.

Lunch & Learn - Experience in Egypt is the name of this program. This program will be presented by JCPRD Park Planner Rick Findley, who before coming to the district fulfilled a US Core Fulbright grant by teaching part time at Ain Shams University Department of Urban Planning & Design in Cairo, Egypt, from Sept. 2011 to June 2012, just a few months after Egypt's "Arab Spring." Through his program, which will involve a slide presentation, Findley hopes to convey "an awareness of how significant living and working in a Middle Eastern country can be, regarding both the rewards and challenges."

To find this program in the My JCPRD Activities catalog and online listings, browse first under 50 Plus and then under enrichment & special interests. In the printed catalog and when using the website’s advanced search, look for the keywords “special interest.” 

Lunch & Learn - Experience in Egypt will take place beginning at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 27, at the Meadowbrook Park Clubhouse, 9101 Nall Ave., Prairie Village. The cost for one two-hour  program, including lunch, is $18 per person for  Johnson County residents or $20 per person for nonresidents. For more information or to register by phone, call (913) 831-3359. To register online at www.jcprd.com, click on “Register for Activities,” and complete a course ID search for 23262. 

While JCPRD’s 50 Plus programs are primarily for people who are age 50 or older, interested parties who have not yet reached that magic age may still be able to attend. Persons 18 and older who are interested in a 50 Plus class are invited to call the 50 Plus Department at (913) 826-2975 for space availability.

The My JCPRD Activities catalog is available for pickup at all Johnson County Library branches. 

A Free Evening of Latino Culture sponsored at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center
September 4, 2019

The Johnson County Park and Recreation District’s Culture Division along with our community partners are pleased to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with an evening celebrating Latino culture and heritage. The event features Latino poets, artists, musicians, dancers, and heritage exhibitions on Thursday, Sept. 26 from 5:30 pm to 8 pm at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center, 8788 Metcalf Avenue, Overland Park.  The event is free to the community. 

An exciting group of Latino partners will present throughout the evening. José Faus, poet, artist, and teacher, will perform “They Changed My Name (Cambiaron Mi Nombre),” a recounting of his story immigrating from Colombia;  Xánath Caraza,  a professor at UMKC Latino Studies program and a traveler; poet, and short story writer from Mexico will give a poetry reading; Miguel Rivera, Kansas City Art Institute professor and artist from Mexico, will share his latest work; and Calpulli Iskali will share a traditional prayer and Mexican dance. Traditional music will be performed by Pedro Calderon, originally from Lima, Peru, and Ariel Bugosen, a native of Argentina, throughout the evening; and Emily Alvarez, an illustrator and designer of Dominican and Cuban descent, will be painting live during the dance and music performances.  

Schedule of Evening’s Events

5:30 – 6 pm     Reception featuring tastings from Latino-owned restaurants El Salvadoreño and Paleterias Tropicana, and live music by Pedro Calderon and Ariel Bugosen. 

6 pm                “They Changed My Name” José Faus, made possible by Humanities Kansas with support from the Andrew Mellon Foundation.

6:45 pm           Dance performance by Calpulli Iskali

7 pm                Artist presentation by Miguel Rivera

7:25 pm           Poetry reading by Xánath Caraza

In addition, two exhibitions will be on view to coincide with Hispanic Heritage Month for the months of September and October: works by Miguel Rivera, and the heritage exhibit “Latinos in the Heartland,” produced by the Johnson County Museum. Both exhibitions are presented in English and Spanish, and are on view in the Cultural Commons area of the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center, and are free to the public. Viewing is Monday-Friday, 9 am to 9 pm and Saturday, 9 am to 5 pm.  

“We are proud to celebrate the growing Latino Community in Johnson County and beyond which is quite diverse and varied by country in terms of food, custom, and culture,” said Superintendent of Culture Susan Mong. “The Johnson County Park and Recreation District values diversity and inclusion, and these events and exhibitions are a great way to help us come together as a community and learn through shared experiences.  It makes our community stronger.”

“Immigration has been an important life event for many in the community, but area connections to Latin America - especially to Mexico - go back generations,” said Museum Director Mindi Love. “We want to collect more stories, photos, and objects relating to the stories of non-white Johnson Countians. We want our exhibits and collections to reflect the diversity of the Johnson County community, and Hispanic and Latino populations are just some of the communities with which we hope to form a lasting relationship.”  

For more information about the Free Evening of Latino Culture, please visit www.jocoahc.com or call (913) 826-2787.

New Animal Storytime for ages 5 and under is Sept. 25 at Mill Creek Activity Center
September 4, 2019

Staff from the Ernie Miller Nature Center will present a new Animal Storytime program on Sept. 25 at the Johnson County Park and Recreation District’s Mill Creek Activity Center in Shawnee.

Animal Storytime is for ages five and under with a parent or guardian, and promises an animal adventure and stories for all age groups. To find this program in the My JCPRD Activities catalog and online listings, browse first under preschool and then under enrichment & special interests. In the catalog and when using the website’s advanced search, look for the keyword “storytime.”

Two Animal Storytime presentations are planned this season, including a session on Sept. 25 when the theme is "Animal Friends," and another on Oct. 23 when the theme is "Night Sounds." Admission to these 30-minute programs is free, and no preregistration is required.  Both sessions take place beginning at 10:15 a.m. on a Wednesday. 

Mill Creek Activity Center is located at 6518 Vista Dr., Shawnee. For more information about this program, contact the activity center at (913) 826-2950.

Johnson County Board of Park and Recreation Commissioners announce Stewart’s appointment
August 30, 2019

The Johnson County Board of Park and Recreation Commissioners has announced Deputy Director Jeff Stewart has been tapped to serve as the Johnson County Park and Recreation District’s next executive director. 

Following an executive session called to consider personnel matters during its regular monthly meeting on Wednesday night, the board voted unanimously to appoint Stewart to the position effective Sept. 21. This will follow the Sept. 20 departure of current Executive Director Jill Geller, who announced her resignation during the board’s July 24 meeting, and who accepted a position of Parks, Recreation, and Libraries Director for the city of Roseville, Calif.

“JCPRD has received national recognition, accolades, gold medals, and accreditations for our management of parks and recreation programs,” said Board Chair Steve Baru.  “That happens because we have talented staff. Because of the demonstrated talent we already have in house, we knew we wouldn’t need to look far to find our next leader. Jeff has proven his leadership skills as deputy director and the board saw him as a natural fit to step in  and fill the executive director position. We are lucky to have Jeff and his talents to lead the JCPRD into the future.” 

“Jeff has served our agency very well in his role as deputy director for the past 3½ years, and he’s certainly ready for this next step,” Geller said of the board’s action. “As the best park and recreation agency in the nation, JCPRD deserves the best executive director. There is no doubt that we have that in Jeff. Under his leadership, there are great times ahead for our organization. I will be watching, cheering for you, and celebrating JCPRD’s many successes from California.”

“I couldn’t be more honored and excited for the opportunity and trust to serve the Johnson County community as executive director for JCPRD,” Stewart said. “The future is very bright as we have the best team of dedicated professionals, commissioners, volunteers, and partners that are committed to building on our rich tradition of providing the best park and recreation services in the country.”  

Stewart began as JCPRD’s first-ever deputy director in April 2016.  He brought 22 years of previous professional parks and recreation experience, and had served as the director of the parks and recreation department for the city of Gardner since March of 2000.

As deputy director, Stewart has served as superintendent of JCPRD’s Administrative Services Division, providing oversight and support for all departments within the division. Additionally, he facilitated cooperative projects with area municipalities, made presentations to area groups, represented JCPRD on county committees and workgroups, and served as a JCPRD ambassador throughout the community.  He coordinated and oversaw implementation of the Legacy Plan, and worked on various special projects.  He also served as executive director in Geller’s absence.

Prior to his 16 years with the city of Gardner, Stewart worked for about two years as recreation specialist for the Independence, Kan., Recreation Commission, and about four years as assistant director of parks and recreation for the city of Junction City, Kan.

Stewart is a graduate of Kansas State University where he was a member of the Kansas State Baseball Team, and earned a bachelor of science degree in parks and recreation administration. He is a Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP), and has been recognized with the Kansas Recreation and Park Association’s (KRPA) Distinguished Professional Award. His leadership in the field includes three terms as a board member for the KRPA. He is a current member for the State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan Committee and the Kansas Recreation Park Association Professional Development Committee.

He previously served as chairperson for the Kansas City Metropolitan Area Parks and Recreation Directors Association, a member of the Midwest Regional Council Board of Directors, and as a member of KRPA’s Administration Branch Committee.  Locally, he continues to serve on the USD 231 Facilities and Planning Committee and as a volunteer coach to numerous youth athletic teams. He is also an active member of the Gardner Rotary Club.

Stewart’s wife of 24 years, Christine, is a physical therapist for Olathe Medical Center.  They are the parents of 21-year-old Taylor and 17-year-old Brock. Stewart is a sports fan, with emphasis on baseball, and in his free time enjoys fishing, hiking, biking, camping, , and playing in the Senior Baseball League at Mid-America Sports Complex.

 

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