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Pollard is New 50 Plus Manager for Johnson County Park and Recreation District
POSTED: 01/30/2008
Rhonda Pollard of Lenexa has been named the next 50 Plus Manager for the Johnson County Park and Recreation District.

Pollard has worked as the District’s Overland Park 50 Plus Director since February 2005 and has also overseen operations of the Olathe and Roeland Park 50 Plus programs during that time.

"I have a broad background in programming as well as management," she said. "I enjoy working with the 50 plus population and this role will allow me to enhance and expand our services to them."

Pollard said she believes the biggest challenge facing her department will be scheduling programs which will attract and meet the needs of participants in the 50 to 60 age group.

"It’s just something that we’re continually working on," she said. "We’re trying to get facilities which will allow us to program in the evenings as well as on the weekends because many in that age group are still working and that’s when they want to get involved. We are also pushing more toward center special events because this age group tends to like to come in and do a one-day event. They’re busy like the rest of us and they don’t have time to commit to a 10-week class three nights a week."

One specific program she is especially excited about is the District’s recent selection to participate in a walking program through the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP) and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). Pollard has been working on this since September and was instrumental in the agency’s selection for this national program, which is expected to kick off locally on May 28 with the department’s annual In Step and In Shape Event. Pollard said she hopes 100 to 150 will participate in the program in its first year.

"It’s a nationwide drive for fitness in the older adult," Pollard said. "I felt very fortunate that we were picked because everybody wanted to be picked. This will give us a new dimension to our (In Step and In Shape) walk this year."

Before coming to the Johnson County Park and Recreation District, Pollard worked for 12 years as a general manager at Sports and Fitness Management in Overland Park. In this position, she was also responsible for running major regional golf, racquetball, and basketball tournaments.

Along the way, she also served as State Racquetball Director, worked with her local PTA athletic association on fundraising efforts, and coordinated racquetball for the Kansas City Corporate Challenge for more than 12 years.

A native of Russell, Kan., she holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from the University of Kansas.

"I got my degree in environmental science when it was a brand new offering at KU," she explained. "So when I came out into the world, there were not a lot of positions open in that field. I went to work for an oil company in Wichita and I assisted a geologist. I did that for a couple of years. Then when I had children, I stayed home. But I wanted to work out and I just started out in a gym and they asked me to teach and then I became their aerobics director. One thing led to another and I eventually became a regional manager for them, managing several fitness and tennis centers. I worked a lot with the 50 plus population even in the fitness industry because I taught the early bird classes."

Pollard began as 50 Plus Manager on Jan. 22. She succeeds Carlene Todd, who left the District in early January.

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