GRAND FALLS-WINDSOR, N.L. — Keith Antle is in the business of inspiring others.
The director of Parks and Recreation for the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor has worked in several roles during his 27 years with the department, including maintenance, construction, programs development and administration.
Antle recently received the Cy Hoskins Memorial Award of Merit from Recreation NL for his dedication and commitment to the growth and development of recreation.
Enthusiasm is the key ingredient to Antle’s award winning approach to his work.
“You have to have a passion for recreation to be involved in it,” Antle said. “Anybody goes to work, they normally work Monday – Friday 9-5, but for us, most of our activities operate when people are off work, which is evenings, weekends, and holidays.
“Our work is all day, but it’s also the other times as well. We do it because we get pleasure providing those activities to our community and give residents the opportunity to live healthier lifestyles and become involved with some fun activities.”
Antle takes a non-traditional approach to recreational programming.
“We branched out in last number of years and do a lot more social type things,” Antle explained. “Traditionally when people think of recreation, they think of hockey and baseball and sports, but we’ve been doing a lot of creative type things that keep people involved but are not necessarily sports related.”
Antle’s department programs unique activities such as cooking courses, art and painting classes, pottery classes, dancing classes and trivia nights. They also offer uncommon sports programs, like axe throwing, ballroom dancing, pickle ball and bocci.
“We’re branching out in different areas,” Antle said, “giving everybody equal opportunity to participate, but of course we have our arenas and our baseball and soccer fields too.”
To receive an award for his contribution to the community was an honor for Antle, but his passion for building a stronger and more vibrant community is what drives him to continue innovating new and exciting programming and events for the town.
“I’m certainly not into recreation looking to get awards,” Antle said. “It is certainly very gratifying that they would give such an award to me, but I’m in it for the community. This is what I spend my days, nights and weekends at. I’m very lucky that I’m able to do this and I’m very lucky that I can be part of it.”
Antle’s barometer of success in his work is measured on an individual level.
“I get out of it the satisfaction that a young child has in a drama program,” Antle said. “A child in a Special Olympics program playing bocci and they have their provincial championships here and the satisfaction they get out of it. Or a seniors club going on a bussing outing to another community, or supporting a senior’s movie at the theatre.
“We have a wide range of activities for everybody. At the end of the day, when you put off these programs, you sit back and say, I’m glad they enjoyed it and you’re making the community a healthier and happier place.”
Inspiring others to create their own programs and activities is a core mandate in Antle’s approach. He actively encourages other volunteer groups, businesses and individuals to get involved in the community.
Antle stressed the team he works with have a stake in his award.
“This award goes to all the staff here at the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor,” Antle stated. “We have a tremendous staff here with lots of vision and ideas. They have come up with programs that the community has grasped a hold of and loved every minute of. This is not an award for me, this is an award for the staff of our parks and recreation department who do tremendous, tremendous work.”
As for his future, this award winner plans to stay deeply involved in recreation into his golden years.
“Recreation is my life,” he said. “I’ve been involved for 27 years and will be for a lot longer. Even when I’m gone and retired, I will certainly still be involved as a volunteer.”