Ryan Dennison celebrates one year as Director of Craig Parks and Recreation
The new director had a wild first year at Parks and Rec
Nearly all of Craig Parks and Recreation Director Ryan Dennison’s tenure with the department has been under the shadow of the pandemic.
That hasn’t stopped him from enjoying what he does, however. Dennison, who celebrates his one-year anniversary today, worked as the recreation director for five years before taking over the top position.
Dennison fell in love with parks and rec while he was a sophomore at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction.
“It was awesome, just to be able to serve the community, to go do things for other people, you know, make it better. Ours is providing recreational opportunities for the communities you know, that was fantastic man,” Dennison said. “There is not a better career, to serve, whether it’s in programming, or improving the parks with amenities or trails, that started it all.”
After his time in Grand Junction, he worked there helping out with the parks and rec department, learning about pruning trees among many other skills. Which helped cultivate his love for the profession.
“I just kind of got the opportunity to do many roles there from the park system to horticulture to their forestry department, all over the span of parks and rec. That’s what made me fall in love, you get to prune trees for the community…. ”
Dennison always knew he wanted to live in a small town like Craig working at the parks department. His wife is from Craig, and after they met in college the move to her hometown was an easy choice.
“My wife is originally from Craig. The recreation manager job opened up, we wanted to go to a smaller community, and then the position opened up in Craig,” Dennison said. “I was fortunate enough to apply and get here and just I thoroughly enjoy it, getting back to a smaller community.”
Dennison’s favorite word to describe 2020 is adaptable. He is very happy with the way that his team was able to meet the ever-changing circumstances that the COVID-19 pandemic threw at them.
“We came together and forged ahead in the face of adversity,” he said. “We all worked through this together as a team and we are stronger for it.”
One of the big projects that Craig Parks and Recreation Department was able to do over the summer of 2020 was resurfacing the pool, which allowed them to reopen it with variances. This year, Dennison said he and his team are most excited to get back to recreational sports in the community, including baseball.
“That’s what I’m most excited about, to have a baseball season that we go back to normal to offer to our community and to look forward to these capital projects, upgrading our parks systems,” Dennison said.
Dennison sums up his first year and the challenges that have come his way as just being adaptable and facing every challenge that comes his way.
“It is just really forming those strong, working relationships — coming out for the greater good, trying to be adaptable and being optimistic,” Dennison said. “So, it was a challenge for sure, we are growing as a team, and trying to get the community programs out and being adaptable.”
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It takes a kind and caring person to make a connection with a child or adult with special needs. And, Tiffany Ripkoski-Taylor certainly fits into that skill set.