Hidden Treasure in the Rec Department
October 31, 2008
The Park City Women’s Business Network’s Woman of the Year isn’t a banker, or a broker or even a boutique owner. She’s not a businesswoman at all.
The winner is an unsung hero in the Park City Recreation Department, Karen Yocum.
"This year’s theme was ‘Hidden Treasure’ someone who’s always worked hard but never got the recognition they deserved," explained Christy Thayne, a member of the award committee. "Karen stood out for her long-term dedication to the county and city."
Yocum moved to Park City in 1988 and started working for the city that fall as a part-time employee. The next summer someone was needed to lead the youth baseball program and she started full time for the recreation department.
With a teaching degree in physical education, she said she was able to apply her teaching expertise on the fields. Otherwise, running programs was a steep learning curve, but one she enjoyed.
"I have a love of sports it’s been a fun ride," she said.
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One of her favorite parts of her job, which she also considers one of the most important, is the use of creativity in organizing programs.
One in particular she’s proud of is a lifetime-skills movement class for small children to help them learn balance and coordination. Another was the Mothers On Bikes program that got women with children out mountain biking.
Maintaining the quality of the department’s programs as they’ve grown over the years has been a challenge, she said, but it’s something she has found gratifying.
"I think Park City is a unique place," she said. "The activity level of the whole community is huge, and women take a very active role in their own activities, their kids’ activities, their family activities and this in addition to the quote, ‘work world.’"
Ken Fisher, Yocum’s supervisor, said she’s played an active role in the growth and success of the department from Jazzercise in the 1980s to Yoga and Pilates today.
"Karen has worked in every role from being a soccer referee to coaching a high school girl’s team," he said. "She’s helped grow the aquatics program and other adult fitness programs; she’s all pretty much been behind the scenes."
Shirin Spangenberg, awards committee chair, said she got the idea for a Woman of the Year award after attending a similar recognition ceremony in Salt Lake City two years ago.
"So many women in Park City right now are so powerful and are doing fantastic things," she said. "The real purpose is to show off the talent in Park City and give them a little bit of credit for work that’s been done here."
According to board member Jennifer Pentes, the award will be given at the annual fundraiser, the organization’s biggest event of the year.
What: PCWBN Woman of the Year Award
Who: Karen Yocum, Park City Recreation Department
Where: Fall Fashion Fundraiser at Ghidotti’s at Kimball Junction.
When: Nov. 5, 7 p.m.
How much: $50 (includes dinner)
Why: Raise money for the Park City High School Scholarship Fund for Women