At the 2022 Colorado Parks and Recreation Association (CPRA) conference in Breckenridge, Colorado, Mark Mann presented Whitney Dyer with the Outstanding New Professional Award – the first time a City of Greeley employee has been recognized for this accomplishment.

This professional service award is for CPRA members only and honors individuals who exemplify leadership, inspiration, and noteworthy contributions to the profession. The award which recognizes those individuals in the state that exemplify outstanding service to the community in all those categories is given out annually at the CPRA conference honoring those in the field that go above and beyond. Nominations are reviewed by the CPRA awards committee prior to being announced at their annual conference.

Whitney Dyer’s Background

Dyer is the supervisor for Greeley Recreation’s adult sports, youth sports, and Adaptive and Inclusive Recreation (AIR). Hired by the City of Greeley in May 2021, Dyer has worked tirelessly to revamp the youth and adult sports following COVID-19 program shutdowns. In that timeframe, she managed two youth and adult sports teams and hired a new AIR Coordinator to help rebuild that program post-pandemic.

Mark Mann, Greeley recreation manager, nominated Dyer for this prestigious award because of her innovation; leadership qualities; strategic thinking and planning expertise; partnership building; and service to the community.

Innovation

During her time with Greeley Recreation, Dyer has identified a shortcoming in girls’ participation in youth sports, particularly within some of the local cultural and immigrant populations. To combat this, she created a multi-tiered initiative focused on increasing female participation in all of Greeley Recreation’s youth activities.

This initiative is called “SheCan,” and will identify and address barriers to participation, develop a collaborative approach with Greeley’s diverse communities, and employ a creative promotional campaign to encourage girls’ participation in sports. This analysis includes the areas of program structure, guest services delivery, messaging of promotional materials, facility/site design, and coaching.

Rebuilding Through Leadership

Though Dyer is a lifelong participant in sports, including playing college soccer, she did not have extensive experience in operating a sports program prior to taking on the Greeley Recreation position, nor had she overseen Adaptive and Inclusive Recreation (AIR) previously. But she was up for the challenge.

Despite her lack of direct experience, Dyer performed exceptionally in bringing back all programming in her area. With the entire sports staff having left, Dyer was tasked with hiring a new dynamic team of coordinators and part-time staff to deliver programs. She successfully trained her staff to be effective in their positions, despite being new to her role as a supervisor. As the sports and AIR program teams began to reassemble, Dyer established a strong vision along with goals for her team to focus on ensuring high-quality programs that are accessible to all.

Dyer also chaired the recreation division’s website committee within two months of being hired and guided the committee’s efforts toward establishing consistent design standards and transforming the WebTrac landing page. She completely redesigned the youth and adult sports and AIR web pages to be more accessible and developed strong marketing strategies with the assistance of the City’s Communication & Engagement team to promote her programs. She also leads the development of work-related education for many of the division’s interns.

Strategic Thinking and Planning

Dyer’s commitment when reestablishing the sports and AIR programs was to never waver on quality. To this end, she developed a wide range of fundamental policies and procedures to guide the delivery of programs and help participants better understand the purpose of youth sports leagues.

She also completely restructured the adult sports leagues to ensure a competitive balance and fun for all participants. Additionally, Dyer worked with her team to develop annual program plans and implemented early bird and priority registration periods that have resulted in participants having opportunities to register far in advance of program dates.

Service

Dyer routinely steps in to provide support with anything in her program area. This includes coaching teams that have not been able to secure a coach, assisting her team with often difficult decisions, and providing participants with the opportunity to chat with her about questions or concerns.

She is highly devoted to making Greeley a dynamic and appealing community to live in. Besides her work with Greeley Recreation, she and her husband Tommy own a local business in downtown Greeley that helps make the city a place worth staying and playing in.

Deserving Recognition

Dyer’s influence on Greeley Recreation and the Greeley community runs deep, despite her short time with the organization. She has changed expectations for what is possible to achieve and her unrelenting focus on providing the highest quality recreational opportunities to the entire community. She has raised the bar for the rest of the organization. Whenever a challenge is presented, Dyer provides the leadership to overcome it.