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New Assistant Supervisors
City Hires Three Assistant Supervisors
by Kim West
for Decatur Parks and Recreation
A trio of full-time assistant supervisor positions were recently filled by the city’s parks and recreation department after a citywide hiring freeze was lifted and a five-month search attracted more than 80 applicants.
Their official start date was Feb. 20, but two of the hires – Ashley Lake of Decatur and Kerrie Lane of Victoria, Australia - were already employed with the department, while Fred Pelle of Florence is a newcomer to the staff.
Pelle, who graduated from Troy University with a B.S. in sports management and fitness and Northwest-Shoals Community College with an associate degree in criminal justice, has been assigned to Wilson Morgan Park, the site of several softball tournaments, including the Charger Chillout and Arctic Blast college invitational tourneys held earlier this month.
He previously worked as a baseball manager at Northwest-Shoals for David Langston and earned a managerial scholarship with the Troy baseball program under coach Bobby Pierce. Pelle, who enjoys attending college and professional sporting events, spent a year as a graduate assistant for the University of South Alabama athletic department, completed an internship with Southeastern Louisiana University and worked 1 ½ years with Muscle Shoals Parks and Recreation.
“I originally had an interest in college athletics (administration), but then I worked for the Muscle Shoals Recreation Department,” said Pelle, who met his wife Tiffany, a Buckhorn history teacher, while working in Muscle Shoals. “Working there got me interested in the parks and recreation field. I was thrilled to hear the news about this position, and to have the opportunity to work in a position that I am so passionate about, and I look forward to maintaining a high level of excellence for the City of Decatur and the Parks and Recreation Department.”
Lake, a Decatur High graduate who attended Calhoun Community College and Wallace State-Hanceville, is currently the acting aquatics supervisor, and she is in charge of the pools at Carrie Matthews and the Aquadome. She started her aquatics career as a Point Mallard lifeguard in 2003, was promoted to head lifeguard and lifeguard supervisor and then became the acting aquatics supervisor.
“I felt beyond relieved (about becoming a full-time employee),” said Lake, who plans to stay with the department until retirement. “I enjoy my job and being around the water. I love training people to save a life, and it’s something people can always use whether they’re in or out of the water.”
Lake, a married mother of two young children, including a 4-year-old daughter and a 7-month-old son, is certified as a three-star lifeguard instructor with the capability to train other instructors and also has certifications as a lifeguard, swim instructor trainer and an aquatics facility operator (AFO). She is in charge of hiring, training, scheduling and supervising approximately 80-100 lifeguards to staff Point Mallard Park from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend and approximately 15-25 lifeguards to staff the city’s pools throughout the year.
The Aquadome pool schedule includes private and group swim lessons, water aerobics, water walking, healthy lifestyles lap swim, Special Olympics training, River City Aquatic Club swim team practices and a brand-new pool activity geared towards students ages 5 to 18. The Water Fun & Fitness class runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 3:15 p.m. to 4 p.m. and costs $2 per day.
“Water Fun & Fitness is an after-school program for school-age children that we just started,” said Lake, who enjoys spending time with her family, being outdoors, water tubing and kayaking. “It teaches kids about water safety, and we teach them traditional pool games like Marco Polo as well as non-traditional games. This program isn’t a swim class, but it does include skill development and we do help them learn the basics while they’re in the water.”
Lane, who graduated from university in Australia with a B.S. in physical recreation with a concentration in outdoor adventure, will continue as a certified archery instructor at the T.C. Almon Recreation Center and a certified lifeguard instructor, swim instructor, AFO and lifeguard for the city’s aquatics programs.
She has worked for the department for nearly 2 ½ years and previously worked as an aquatics supervisor in Florida and as a program director for a camp in Somerville. Lane, who last went home a year ago and receives annual visits from her parents, first came to the U.S. via an exchange program called Camp America and worked at a family adventure camp in California.
“I am a permanent resident and look forward to many years with the department,” said Lane, who estimates a flight from Huntsville to Melbourne, Australia, takes about 27 hours after layovers. “I absolutely love it here, and my job and friends are here.”
Lane, whose Aussie accent is often mistaken for a British accent, is one of two archery instructors within the department and currently has full classes for home-school students and the general public. The general public classes are offered Monday evenings at T.C. Almon.
“The general public classes are a lot of fun because it’s a lot of parents with their kids there, too,” Lane said. “With a lot of sports, you can’t do that. Right now the classes are full, but we’re taking registration for the next class.”
For more information about Water Fun & Fitness or any other aquatics programs, call (256) 341-4952.
Did you know?
Fred Pelle, assistant supervisor at Wilson Morgan Park, is an avid runner who logs at least three miles per day. Ashley Lake, acting aquatics supervisor, is an outdoor enthusiast who recently started mixed martial arts training with Kerrie Lane, an assistant supervisor at the Aquadome pool. Lane takes full advantage of deer hunting season and outdoor activities around north Alabama, including wakeboarding, kayaking and hiking.