David L. Bodenhamer Recreation Center in Gulf Shores is quiet these days. The treadmills and rowing machines are vacant, no pickup basketball games in the gym and the water aerobics group is missing from the pool. Gyms, recreation centers and pools have been closed across the country but that hasn’t stopped the programming in Gulf Shores.
Nicole Ard, Recreation Manager at the David L. Bodenhamer Recreation Center has worked in parks and recreation for over 15 years; engaging the community with programs and activities.
“It’s not only my career but a passion,” Ard said. “I couldn’t sleep for days after our programs and facilities were closed due to the crisis. Although closures were necessary, it is still the recreation department’s duty as a public service to find new and innovative ways to lift our community up during this scary time.”
Like many, Ard found herself working from home with a six-year-old to keep happy and entertained. An idea to build a fort in the living room sparked the “Family Fun Challenge” and the ideas keep coming. The challenges are posted on the Gulf Shores Recreation Center Facebook page and participants submit their photos in the comments. The photos are then posted, and public voting begins. Each contest also includes a prize ranging from a pizza dinner to gift cards.
The challenges have included:
•Build a fort
•DIY Family Themed Costumes
•Inspirational Sidewalk Chalk Art Contest
•Gulf Shores Cake Wars - Easter Edition
“We have had a ton of response and positive feedback. Our entire recreation staff have a genuine love for our community in this time of need and find it comforting to know that we are still able to reach out and be a part of their lives. In times of crisis, it’s so important to embrace the silver linings in life,” Ard said.
To see past challenges, photos, winners and upcoming challenges, visit Gulf Shores Recreation Facebook page.