SPRA Award winners

Two Swift Current residents were recognized at a City council meeting on Feb. 10 for receiving provincial awards. From left to right, Ed Lyster (City Parks and Recreation Board chair), Dean Robson, Mayor Denis Perrault, and Anne Weisgerber.

Two Swift Current residents have received provincial awards to recognize their contributions to the recreation sector.

A presentation was made at a regular City council meeting on Feb. 10 to highlight the achievements of Dean Robson and Anne Weisgerber.

The presentation to the meeting was made by Ed Lyster, the chair of the City of Swift Current Recreation and Parks Board.

The awards to Robson and Weisgerber were originally presented at the 2019 Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association (SPRA) awards banquet in North Battleford, Oct. 18. Robson was the recipient of the 2019 SPRA Award of Merit and Weisgerber received the SPRA President’s Award of Distinction.

Swift Current Mayor Denis Perrault thanked the two award recipients, who were present at the council meeting, for their service to the community.

“My dad used to tell me often that we're all called to serve and we're all called to serve in very different ways, and I know both of you chose service and you chose to serve your community,” Perrault said.

Swift Current hosted several high-profile sport events in 2019, including the Western Canada Summer Games, and he felt the hosting of such events are important.

“I really believe that sport tourism is a big part of the reason why Swift Current continues to be successful,” he said.

He added that the benefit of sport events can vary from a Broncos or Swift Current 57s game to something as simple as bringing an Atom tournament to the city.

“When we bring a small tournament like that, we see a number of families choosing to come to Swift and invest in hotels and restaurants and fuel,” Perrault said. “This past year, in 2019, we saw more than what we normally do and it's a testament to both of you for being leaders and choosing leadership and choosing servitude.”

He also referred to the importance of volunteers to ensure the success of these events in the community.

“We cannot function truly without volunteers here in the southwest,” he said. “We saw it this past year when over a couple of thousand people chose to volunteer for these big events we brought here.”

The SPRA awards program aims to recognize excellence in the parks and recreation field through several award categories.

The President’s Award of Distinction, which was received by Weisgerber, is one of the most prestigious awards presented by SPRA for contributions to the recreation sector at the provincial, district and/or local level.

“It is presented to an individual for their lasting achievement that has enhanced the public image and improved the services of parks and recreation provincially, in the district, and locally,” Lyster told the meeting. “The award recipient has engaged new partners and stakeholders, strengthening the parks and recreation network. Their efforts have resulted in the continuation of quality and improved service, increased shared advocacy and promoted a strong belief in the benefits of parks and recreation in our province.”

Weisgerber has worked for the South West District for Culture, Recreation and Sport for the past 10 years, and she previously worked for the South West Regional Recreation Association for many years. She has assisted communities and non-profit organizations with many aspects related to recreation in the region, including organizational development, sport development, clinics for officials, and grant writing.

She has been involved in every Saskatchewan Games since 1984, and she has coordinated Team Southwest for the past several games. She was a member of Team Saskatchewan's mission staff at the 2011 Canada Games in Halifax and the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games in Fort McMurray. She was also a member of the local planning committee for the 2019 Western Canada Summer Games in Swift Current.

“She is a recreation veteran and a tireless advocate for the recreation sector in the province of Saskatchewan,” Lyster said.

The SPRA Award of Merit, which was received by Robson, is presented to an individual, group or SPRA member organization for distinguished and significant contribution at the local, district and/or provincial levels.

“The award recipient has demonstrated creativity to the development of parkland, the promotion of active lifestyles and the revitalization of existing or creation of new programs and services,” Lyster said about the award criteria.

Robson has been actively involved in the field of recreation for the past 25 years. He graduated in 1993 from the University of Saskatchewan with a bachelor of physical education, and in the same year accepted the position of recreation director for the Town of Kipling. In 1998 he became the facility manager for the City of Swift Current. He was appointed as the City’s director of recreation and parks in 2006 and in 2013 he became the general manager of community services. He retired in December 2018.

He has also been an active volunteer in recreation and sport. He volunteered with senior hockey, taught recreational hockey and tennis, and organized various baseball tournaments. He helped to develop girl’s hockey in Swift Current and coached from initiation to bantam. He was a parent volunteer for volleyball and he also coached girl’s fastball.

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