By Travis Gulbrandson
A local recreation supervisor has been named one of the best in his field.
Last week, Ryan Baedke was named Young Professional of the Year by the South Dakota Parks & Recreation Association (SDRPA) during a conference in Pierre.
“I was honored to win it,” Baedke said this week. “It was kind of unexpected. I knew I was nominated for it, but I really wasn’t expecting to win, given the fact that we’re not one of the larger communities that attend the banquet.”
Baedke was nominated for the award by Vermillion Parks & Recreation director Jim Goblirsch.
“It’s a neat honor,” Goblirsch said. “It’s being recognized by your peers. I think he was well-deserving of it.”
According to the nomination filed by Goblirsch, Baedke has been a member of SDPRA since 2008, and was promoted to being a full-time recreation supervisor this year.
“In his tenure in Vermillion, Ryan has been a board member for the youth baseball, soccer and softball associations,” Goblirsch wrote. “He has been a driving force for these organizations to implement stronger by-laws, increase participants, improve coaching and upgrade facilities.”
Baedke also was also named as being “instrumental” in bringing a skate park/ice rink complex to Vermillion, as well as being “a driving force” behind the creation of the DakotaDome Baseball classic, among other accomplishments.
Baedke himself describes his position as being “a little bit of everything,” from working with youths to adults.
“We have different types of programs for kids that are non sports-related,” he said. “We have an early childhood program, field trips to the zoo.”
Working with people on a personal level is what Baedke said he likes the most about his job.
“My favorite part is just working with the community,” he said. “I get to meet so many different people from so many different organizations and backgrounds. I just enjoy the chance to meet them all.”
Baedke, 35, was born in Vermillion and has lived here his entire life.
“He is vested in the community and truly bleeds Vermillion/USD red,” Goblirsch wrote in his nomination. “Ryan is establishing himself as a person who can bring things together for the betterment of all. …
“If he wins this award or not, Ryan is a true ‘Young Professional’ in my eyes, and I am proud to be associated with him.”