Student Staff Spotlight on Owen Bressler

By Dania Puente,  Miami University Rec Center Marketing Assistant

Senior Owen Bressler is one of our Rec student managers majoring in Small Business Commerce and is part of the Miami University ROTC program. Owen has been working at the Rec since the summer of 2015 where he started as customer service staff.

Now as a student manager his job consists of cross-training between all student positions (informal, pro-shop, and reception) and he is often in charge of a variety of projects within all areas. Additionally, he assists our Customer & Facility Services Assistant Director Beth Keith with the SilverSneakers® program. Over the summer Owen takes on different projects such as helping with our Golden Community and assisting with memberships.

Jessie Bayer is the Customer and Facility Services Intern and Owen’s supervisor

“Owen is an incredibly hard worker and really goes above and beyond for our patrons” shared Jessie.“He takes extra time to really get to know them and tries to learn at least one fact about every single one of our patrons, and really forms a sense of community here” she added.

Beth Keith and Owen work together in various projects “His attention to detail and determination to deliver exceptional customer service to our members is unparalleled by his peers. I don’t know what I would do without him!” said Beth.

When asked about his favorite part of the job, Owen said that it is interacting with and meeting new customers. “I really like knowing the patrons so I created a list with their names on and one thing about them,” he said. He keeps that list in his wallet so he can go through it when needed.

“The coolest thing about my job is getting to know the patrons, knowing their name and that they know yours”  he expressed.

This past summer Owen underwent field training to become a Second Lieutenant in the air force after graduation next Spring. He believes that the leadership and mentoring experience that he received at the rec will help him in his future position, where he will be leading between 60-120 people.

Owen stated “getting to know people individually is very important for the job that I’ll be doing in the future” which he has certainly experienced here at the Rec.

A piece of advise that Owen would like to give to future student managers is “treat it more than a job, treat it more than just swiping cards or being at pro shop or just working for money”.

He expressed that students should get as much experience out of this job as much as they can, that “it is the best job on campus”.

“The things you do today will influence what you’ll be remembered for tomorrow,” said Owen and he wants to be remembered for giving 100 percent every single day.

Pickleball For Fun!  A Highlight of our Pickleball Workshop and Tournament

By Beth Keith, Customer & Facility Services Assistant Director

Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States and Miami University is trying to keep up with the trends.  Miami Recreation and Employee Wellness teamed up this summer to offer a Pickleball Workshop on Monday’s and Friday’s for our faculty, staff, and retirees.  We had an outstanding turnout and we are so thankful for Celine Walton with Employee Wellness for setting it up.  We also couldn’t have been successful without our tremendous instructors, Tony S., Kathy S., Joanne W., Jim B., and David K.

On September 12th we also had the pleasure to host the Oxford 2018 Masters Pickleball Tournament.  We had over 20 participants come out to compete in the tournament for fun and a big congratulations to the winners, Chris A., Tom K., Joyce H., and Joanne W.  This was a great collaboration with our community and we enjoy hosting a portion of their Masters Games each year. 

We reached out to Tony Shepherd, one of our pickleball instructors, dedicated members, and the author of the weekly pickleball newsletter.  He has been playing pickleball on a regular basis since 2014 in Richmond, Indiana.  Prior to his retirement, Tony secured a $100,000 grant from the State of Indiana Division on Aging in 2011.  He used the grant to build pickleball courts in five communities in east central Indiana to promote health and fitness in an innovative way among older adults.

Tony retired in 2016 with over 40 years of experience in executive administration and the last 28 years were spent at Indiana University.  He found the Miami Recreation website had indoor pickleball listed and was played most mornings.  He immediately secured a membership and started participating regularly.  Tony found that although there were few players at that time, they were friendly and welcoming.  A list of interested individuals was developed from Oxford, east-central Indiana and surrounding communities and he began to send his weekly pickleball newsletter.  He also created the Facebook page “Pickleball for fun and fitness” so everyone could stay connected and engage further interest.  “With the wonderful assistance of the Rec Center management, we also began to offer clinics for new Players.  These joint efforts have resulted in an ‘explosion’ in the number of players,” says Tony.

What has pickleball meant to you or changed your life? 

“Pickleball has significantly improved my overall physical fitness health and social wellbeing. Specifically, my doctor visits show a reduced Blood Pressure rate, lower resting heart rate, weight loss with improved strength, balance and endurance. The individuals who play pickleball at the
Rec. Center are great to be around and all very helpful and supportive to new players. Pickleball is a multi-generational sport and it is a bonus when some MU students, children and grandchildren join us for play.”

What would you recommend to someone who is interested in picking up the sport of pickleball?

“If you are interested in playing pickleball at the Rec Center you can usually come on any morning Monday through Friday from 9:30 to 11:30 and/or attend a pickleball clinic.  Paddles and balls are furnished so all you need are “gym shoes” and an interest in fun and fitness.  We also have weekly information on our Facebook page.”

Do you have anything else you would like to mention about pickleball or your experience here at Miami Rec sports?

“The Miami Recreation Sports Center is ‘state of the art’ for fitness and the best venue in this region for playing pickleball year round, however, the best of all is the welcoming atmosphere exhibited by the
friendly staff, administration, and pickleball players:  You do meet the nicest people playing pickleball!”

We want to sincerely thank all of the help of our instructors, Celine Walton, and the Employee and Wellness Staff and everyone who came out to the Pickleball Workshops this summer and a big congratulations to all of the competitors in the Oxford 2018 Masters Games.

Beginning a New Chapter: A Closing Interview with Gabby Kinnamon

By Emily Comos, Miami University Rec Center Marketing Assistant 

Gabby Kinnamon has been the Assistant Director of Club Sports here at Miami University Recreation for three years. While at the Rec, she oversaw 55 teams and 1,500 athletes, ranging from their daily operations to facility bookings. Additionally, she was in charge of the Youth Gymnastics Program which consists of recreational classes and training for ages 2-14 and directed the competitive cheer and gymnastics team.

When we asked Kinnamon who has influenced her the most while working at the Rec, she quickly answered without hesitation, Mike Arnos, Senior Director of Programs and Academic Partnerships. Kinnamon and Arnos shared a desk for nearly a year, and she explained how those circumstances allowed them to get to know each other on both a personal and professional level. “He’s done so much for me, whether it be opportunities, or simply answering questions, he would always drop whatever he was doing to give me an explanation and help me understand areas I was struggling with,” said Kinnamon.

One thing that surprised Kinnamon about working at Miami University in general is the amount of support and appreciation club sports and all organizations receive from the University President and his wife. She explained how they somehow attend nearly every event on campus and always the kindest and most genuine people. Kinnamon felt like she had immense support from the entire university when working with club sports and that was a very encouraging and motivating feeling.

Working at the Rec wasn’t always easy, and Kinnamon discussed thoroughly how those trials taught her about herself helped her grow professionally. She planned and helped Miami host the ORSA (Ohio Recreation Sports Association) state conference this past year, which spanned the course of an entire weekend and held hundreds of individuals, all while attending graduate school and working full-time. Although these tasks were extremely difficult, she expressed how she could not have done any of it without the amazing support from her fellow staff members. “The people you work with truly make your job, and I although I loved my job, I could’ve absolutely hated the actually work I was doing, but still would have stayed here solely for the people,” said Kinnamon. She never felt like she was actually working simply because she was able to come in everyday and surround herself with true friends and supportive individuals.

Kinnamon wants to express to anyone who may work at the Rec in the future that if you give the job and people a chance, good things will come your way. “Don’t fear getting to know people, don’t sit in your car and eat your lunch. You have to put yourself out there, everyone is so great. Get so involved and try new things because you get to learn and work with so many different people,” she said.

In concluding the interview, we asked Kinnamon her favorite moment while working at the Rec, in which she responded by telling us that it didn’t actually take place during any of her schedule shifts. She told us about her wedding and how many of her co-workers traveled two hours away from the office, to help support and celebrate her special day. She stated that she was convinced that she had the best group of friends and coworkers around.

One of the most difficult things about leaving she says is that she will miss all her friends and will miss seeing the growth of the young and ambitious club sports teams and individuals she has hired and worked with over the years.

Zach Moore, Marketing Account Manager for Campus Services stated how great of a coworker and friend Kinnamon was. “Gabby’s contribution to the Miami Rec Center and Miami itself is seen by the countless stories that her students, colleagues and friends tell about how she inspired them, motivated them to be their best, and to make a difference in not just our lives but those around us,” he said. “She made everybody smile and made everyday that much better.”

Thank you, Gabby, for your infinite contributions to Club Sports, Youth Gymnastics and Miami University Recreation as a whole. Your passion, personality and dedication has and will continue to inspire many for years to come. We wish you the absolute best at your new position as a Program Assistant for Ohio State University and will miss you greatly.

5 Ways To Stay Active Over The Summer in Oxford

By Emily Comos, Miami University Rec Center Marketing Assistant

Summer is a unique time on Miami University’s campus, as very few students and faculty members are still here. But if you are one of the ones that has chosen to either take classes or work while living in Oxford, then you know how tough it may be to stay active and healthy. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite ways to get outside and exercise here in Oxford while still enjoying the freedom of summer. From right on campus, to the outskirts of town, there are plenty of ways to stay active and have fun doing it!

1. Visit Hueston Woods State Park

Hueston Woods State Park is located just over 10 minutes from Miami University’s campus. This slightly hidden destination serves as a getaway for students to enjoy recreational activities especially in the summer. Whether you’re looking to book a tee time for a day on their beautiful golf course or rent one of their boats including pontoons, canoes and paddle boats, Hueston Woods is the perfect way to enjoy the summer sunshine and get away from the bustle of campus. The Miami University Outdoor Pursuit Center also offers various boat rentals that can be used at the state park. Follow the links below for more information on boat rentals, hiking, disc golf and other recreational activities.

https://miamioh.edu/campus-services/miami-recreation/program-areas/outdoor-pursuit-center/index.html

https://www.huestonwoodslodge.com/recreation 

2. Disc Golf

If you’re not looking to travel off campus for recreational activity but are still looking for a way to enjoy the outdoors this summer, look no further than Western Campus for Miami University Recreation’s very own 18-basket Disc Golf Course. Walking the 1500 foot course full of hills and wooded scenery will simply take your breath away. You can also enjoy some outdoor art installations found on the course near the Miami University Art Museum. The course is completely free and open 24 hours a day. The link below will take you to the map and downloadable scorecard.

https://miamioh.edu/campus-services/miami-recreation/facilities/outdoor-facilities/index.html

3. Swimming

The Corwin M. Nixon Aquatic Center at Miami University’s Recreation Center consists of an eight-lane, 50-meter pool, and a separate 25-meter dive well, containing 1m, 5m, 7.5m, and 10m platforms, a leisure pool, and a spa. Here you will find students, faculty and Oxford residents exercising, relaxing and enjoying this world class facility. The summer is an especially great time to beat the heat and the regular semester crowds while getting a great workout in at the Rec Center. To learn more about special programming, classes and facility hours, follow the link below.

https://miamioh.edu/campus-services/miami-recreation/program-areas/aquatics/index.html 

4. Sand Volleyball

The Sand Volleyball courts at Miami University’s Recreation Center may be tucked behind the building and sometimes forgotten but they are regulation sized and ready for you to Bump, Set and Spike on! These courts are open for use starting at the end of March through December 1st and are a fun way to get your friends or family together for some competition. They are also used for Intramural Sand Volleyball during the school year.

https://miamioh.edu/campus-services/miami-recreation/facilities/outdoor-facilities/index.html 

5. Group Fitness Classes

Although many students head home for summer break, many of our group fitness instructors are still here preparing for your return. There are also a handful of classes still offered during summer term including Total Body Tone, Spinning and Yoga. Staying active during the summer can be especially tough, so don’t try to tackle it alone and join us here at the Rec Center for some great group workouts. Visit the link below to read more about class descriptions, class schedules and pricing of group fitness membership packages. 

http://miamioh.edu/campus-services/miami-recreation/program-areas/personal-group-fitness/group-fitness-schedule

Student Staff Spotlight on Meg Rux

Hometown: Chicago, IL

 Majors: International Studies and Strategic Communication

Minors: Spanish and International Business

Meg Rux, a senior graduating in a few weeks, is one of our most loved group fitness instructors at the Rec. This year, she had the honor of being voted Group Fitness Instructor of the Year by her peers. She is extremely passionate about her job and truly cares about her students’ wellness, that’s why we wanted to learn more about her before her bittersweet departure.

When did you become a group fitness instructor?         

I finished my training after sophomore year, so I started teaching Kickboxing my junior year.

What’s your favorite class to teach?

This semester I’m teaching Kettlebell, Kickboxing, and Hard Core Abs, so out of those, my favorite is definitely Kettlebell. However, of all the classes I’ve taught, I think my favorite is Cardio Blast.

What’s something valuable that you’ve learned during your time here at the Rec?

One thing for sure would be adaptability because a lot of things change, either when you’re in class, right before class or on day-by-day schedule. I have a good team working with me, in addition to Shannon who is a great mentor, and both have helped me learn to take things as they come. I have also learned that when it comes to class, getting that endorphin high can change anyone’s mood. I really think getting your endorphin high has a great impact on me and on the patrons I teach.

What’s the thing you like the most about the REC?

I like that it has a really good sense of community. Outside of teaching, I always run into people that I know from class or people that work in the Rec, or people I’ve met over the last four years. I think it’s a good central hub for everybody.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced working here?

Going back to that comment of adaptability, anything can change, anything can happen. Sometimes the microphone won’t work, sometimes I have more people than I  anticipated, so if I had a class planned out, having to change things last minute to accommodate for space and equipment.

How would your students/colleagues describe you?

Loud! Definitely loud.

What’s your dream job?          

I could do this forever, that would be great! With my Strategic Communication major I’ve earned a lot of experience coming up with content roadmaps, social media management, writing, anything along those lines if I could do that for a health and wellness company, that would be perfect.                                                               

What are you most passionate about?

I really like the idea of being unapologetically happy. How you define that is very different for a lot of people, but I am so lucky to work here at the Rec and to be with the people I work with and the patrons I teach. Seeing them want to come to so many classes and seeing how they light up, but also seeing how happy I am at the end of class is great. I love seeing that fitness does bring happiness to a lot of people.   

What’s your life’s biggest dream?

A lot of my friends joke it’s not a question if ill have a gym, it’s when I’ll have a gym? Having my own gym would be a fantastic dream. On the other hand, because of my International Studies major, I’ve studied abroad and been in a lot of countries. Therefore, currently on the top of my bucket list is hiking Machu-Picchu.  

 

Interview by Dania Puente, Miami University Rec Center Marketing Assistant

Club Sports Weekly Update 04/09-04/015

Baseball: Lost to Ohio State

Men’s Ultimate: Came in 6th place in Sectionals

Miami Skating: Finished 4th at Intercollegiate Nationals

Rowing: Home regatta at Hueston Woods. Hosted 8 teams.

Broomball: Finished 3rd at Nationals after losing in the semifinals

Quidditch: Attended Quidich National Tournament. Made it to sweet 16.

Women’s Volleyball: Won Silver Bracket in Division 1AAA of National Tournament.

Tennis: Completed in USTA Tennis on Campus Nationals. Placed 4th in the copper bracket.

Running: Went to NIRCA Track and Field Nationals, Robby Alexander claimed All-American for 4th place in the 5K.

Men’s volleyball: Completed in National Club Volleyball Tournament. Finished with a 7-1 record, placed 3rd in the country.

Club Skating
Club Quidditch

Student Staff Spotlight on Aaron Watkins

Major: Finance, Class of 2019                                                                                 Hometown: Cleveland, OH

Aaron Watkins is one of Miami Rec Sports Center’s student managers. He is well known around the Rec for his optimism and for always being “living the dream”.  Aaron goes above and beyond and always does his job with a smile. He often collaborates with the Rec’s marketing team and other departments besides customer service.

 

When did you become a part of the Rec staff?

My freshman year, fall of 2015.

In this position what do you do?

I work at the front desk, the Pro Shop, and informal worker. I walk around with the backpack, help with injuries, restock our Pro Shop, and help patrons out in general. As a student manager, I actually help out with some of the finances here and just try to serve as a role model for our student employees.

What do you like the most about your job?

My coworkers, easy, easy money.  They are great people,  some of my best friends on campus.

How would your colleagues describe you?

Outgoing, goofy, and driven.

As a student manager, what is a piece of advice that you would give to students seeking your position?

You have to give respect, to get respect. If you want people to respect you, you have to be able to do that too, get down the trenches with them, work with them and not just tell them what to do.

Do you think this job is preparing you for your future and career?

Absolutely, when I was interviewing for my internship they asked me: When was one time that you improved a system that was currently in place? I used the example from the Rec Center when I improved our Fellow Merit Point System, which was pretty cool. During the interview, I talked about that for a while, but that’s for the technical aspect. I have also been able to grow my management techniques and to be able to work with people, in addition to customer service.

What are your plans after graduation?

Hopefully, go into corporate finance. I’ll be working with Procter & Gamble this summer down in Cincinnati in the department of finance and accounting. After graduation I’d like to work with them if it presents, if not I’d like to explore other corporate finance options.

When are you happiest?

When I’m at work! I love working here.

What are you most passionate about?

Helping others, no doubt. I love whenever I’m put in the position where I can help others, whether is helping them professionally or personally.

By Dania Puente, Miami University Rec Center Marketing Assistant 

Leah Veltri- Shorter Waits, Better Weights

It’s already hard enough to motivate yourself to go to the gym, but when you arrive just to find that it’s too crowded to work out comfortably, you question why you came at all. That’s why Miami University student Leah Veltri created Shorter Waits, Better Weights.

The goal of the Shorter Waits, Better Weights gamification marketing campaign is to move Rec traffic from peak hours to less busy times. By moving people away from 4-10pm Monday–Thursday to earlier hours and weekends, everyone can work out more comfortably. Shorter Waits, Better Weights is a point system that rewards Rec members for going to the gym at less desirable times with raffle entries. The least popular times are earliest in the day and worth the most points, and the point value incrementally decreases as the time gets later. The least busy day is Saturday, followed by Sunday, and then Friday, so extra points are earned for going on those days. Each point is equal to one raffle entry, and there is no limit on how many raffle entries can be earned. The more points you earn, the higher your chance to win. This point system rewards people for being strategic in the time that they go to the Rec, not necessarily for going frequently.

Leah is a senior majoring in Interactive Media Studies, Media and Culture, and minoring in Marketing. She created this campaign for her IMS senior thesis this past fall semester. For Interactive Media Studies students, the purpose of their thesis is to develop a digital solution to a problem through research and innovation. As an active Rec member, Leah experienced overcrowdedness at the Rec to the point where people do not have space and equipment needed to work out. When she mentioned taking on this problem for her thesis to her teacher Artie Kuhn, he informed her that many students had attempted to address this issue for their theses in past years, but found no significant solution. Nevertheless, Leah decided that she was up for the challenge.

Leah worked with Miami staff members that advised and assisted her research. She used the Rec’s data and gathered her own through surveys and meetings to better understand the issue. Her thesis reviewers are IMS faculty staff member Dr. James Coyle and Rec Center Senior Director Ron Siliko. Dr. Coyle, an expert in digital marketing, advised and guided Leah in terms of research methods and game development. Ron, who manages the Rec facility and customer service, provided Leah with data and insight into the Rec’s infrastructure. By December, Leah had designed the gamification marketing campaign, and with the help of Zach Moore, who manages the Rec’s marketing, the Rec agreed to run the campaign for her IMS capstone. This spring semester, Zach and Ron have helped in advertising the campaign, gathering prizes for the raffle, and making the project possible.

“I’m doing this project because exercising should be a positive experience for everyone. I want the Rec to serve its members in the best possible way. Hoping this campaign will help do just that!”

Shorter Waits, Better Weights

Miami students check in at the Rec Center Monday, April 2nd through Sunday, April 15th and earn points to enter a raffle! Every point gained equals one raffle entry. No limit on how many entries you can earn! Seven winners will have the choice of:

  • Rec Center/Miami gift card
  • Group fitness class bundle
  • Rec prize packs

Winners will be announced the week of April 15. See the following table for how many points are earned for visiting during Shorter Weights, Better Weights:

Points Earned for Attending the Rec Center April 2–15

 

 

 

By Leah  Veltri

Member Spotlight on Susan Chabot

Susan Chabot

Susan Chabot is one of our loyal Rec members and with no doubt the most competitive SilverSneaker®. She came in second place, (first place female) for the Fall into Fitness Challenge last December.  She and her husband are residents of The Knolls of Oxford and are Miami University retired faculty and staff. Her energy and determination have made an impact on the Rec Center Community and that’s why we wanted to get to know her better.

When did you become a rec member?

We moved to Oxford in 1984 and I became a member when the Rec was built in 1994. In 2004 we retired to North Carolina and lived there twelve years. Three years ago we returned to Oxford and I became a SilverSneaker® member.

What activities do you normally do here at the Rec?

I swim in the deep water power class, I do stationary bike, pickleball and I take some of the fitness classes.

Has the rec helped your health in any way?

It absolutely reinvented my whole life. I am so grateful that they had the  Fall Into Fitness Challenge from October 8th to December 8th. I was just going through a period where I had no use of my legs for three months and I couldn’t exercise.  I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and  I could no longer play tennis, a game that I played for so many years.  Someone suggested that I take a deep water aerobics class. I said, “I hate the pool, there’s no way!” I’ve never been a swimmer, I’ve never liked the water, but I tried it, and I came every day because it made my body feel a lot better.  I got started with that and later I picked up biking because the doctor said that was a good thing for me to do. Then on October 8th, this challenge came up -I’m very competitive- I came every single day, 7 days a week and I would come at about 8:30 in the morning and I’d go home at noon, and I would get as many points as I could. My points were: 5 for the pool, 5 for class, 5 for pickle, and 10 for the bike because I biked 10 miles, and that’s what I did for 2 months. It was so good because it got me in the habit of doing those things, which I never would. If that challenge wasn’t here I can’t believe I would’ve done all of those things. It was fabulous, and now I’m addicted.

What is the thing you like the most about the rec?

I really do love the way the water makes me feel. When I wake up in the morning it generally takes maybe an hour or so to get my legs moving. I head over to the pool for the morning class and get out an hour later feeling good. I am back playing pickleball and enjoy spending time with players.

What are some memorable experiences during your time here?

I love the fact that Miami students are beginning to find pickle a fun sport and that we have a really fun group that regularly join the otherwise older players. We enjoy playing with and getting to know Miami students.

 

Interview by Dania Puente, Miami University Rec Center Marketing Assistant