The Indiana Park and Recreation Association had the amazing opportunity to hear about the Portage Township Department of Park and Recreation from its Superintendent, Lisa Leach. Please read below to learn more about Lisa and Portage Township Parks!
What is your favorite memory at your park agency?
My favorite memory is from last January when we held a snowshoeing lesson in the park with our local state park and even though the turnout was smaller than hoped for, it still was the best thing seeing everyone outside and trying something new!
How does your agency contribute to the community?
We are the first park out of the surrounding five counties to be a Volunteer Station for a retired senior-citizen program. We also provide educational programs, events, and festivals at no cost to the community by securing sponsorships and assistance from local organizations, businesses, and foundations we can provide education, fun, conservation, and stewardship. We are small parks surrounded by big parks; challenges us to be creative with what we are offering. We do not want to offer a program that a surrounding park is providing.
What special events is your park agency known for?
We are known for our many festivals and events; the Haven Hollow Harvest Fest is our biggest festival of the year. With attendance in upwards of 700, community members embark every year for our horse-drawn wagon rides around the park, games, candy, food, and family fun! We annually host a Youth Fishing Day; our local outdoor supply store donates fishing rod and reel combos with tackle boxes, and kids are taught how to string their fishing poles, secure a hook and weight, bobber, and learn to cast. The instructors then take the kids down to the water to put their new skills to the test and try to catch fish!
What do you see for the future of your park agency? What are your goals?
To expand our relationships with organizations, clubs, and non-profits to offer additional educational programs, events, and festivals. The goal is to become intergenerational, drawing all ages to the parks to explore healthy outside options and less time on electronic devices.
Why do you choose to be a member of the Indiana Park and Recreation Association? How long have you been a member?
The educational opportunities and the connection to other professionals in the field. We need to make sure we are doing everything possible for our community. I became a member when I accepted the Superintendent position about two years ago.
How has your experience with IPRA benefited your park agency? What are some of the most rewarding aspects of your membership?
We have benefited from Grants and Scholarships offered through IPRA. The annual conference, virtual education, and IPRA Connect are great ways to network and share passions in our field.
Learn more about Portage Township here.