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New rec leaders are outdoors experts

Posted: Monday, Feb 6th, 2012




Brookings’ new superintendent of parks and recreation, Chase Ellis, has a training history even Smoky Bear would envy.

He’s nationally certified as a parks and recreation professional, and he holds additional certifications as a lifeguard, lifeguard instructor, water safety instructor, wilderness first aid instructor, pool operator, ski instructor (alpine, telemarking and adaptive) and snowboard instructor.

And he’s a demon on a motocross bike.

Ellis comes to Brookings from Vincennes, Ind., where he’s served as Knox County parks and recreation director since 2009. He says that was a more “outdoor oriented” post – working with campgrounds and cabins and the like. But at Utah State University in Logan, he acquired a different skill set as manager of the university’s outdoor recreation center. His clients there ranged from students to senior citizens, and activities ran the gamut, from snowshoeing to cross-country skiing to whitewater rafting.

Ellis earned a bachelor’s degree in recreation and park management at Utah State, then went on to complete a master’s in recreation and sport management at Indiana State University in Terre Haute.

Over the past six years as a professional he’s spent summers as an aquatics director at Boy Scout camps, led caving expeditions, taught first-aid classes, and coached ski teams at Powder Mountain. In Knox County, he spent time behind a desk as well, overseeing grants and contract work and organizing and planning recreational programs and events.

Ellis and his wife, Kori, have two children, Genevieve, 3, and Camden, 1.

Coming back to his hometown and easing into the role of recreation program coordinator has been a smooth transition for Darren Hoff. On the job for the past few months, Hoff was doing the same kind of work in Yankton, where for the past two years he managed the adult sports leagues, skating and aquatics programs for the Yankton Parks and Recreation Department.

A Brookings High grad, Hoff went on to major in public recreation at SDSU, later completing his professional training with a master of arts in kinesiology and sports administration from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.

Like Ellis, Hoff has had a variety of experiences in the recreation field, much of it acquired right here in Brookings. He worked for six years during and after his SDSU studies as the head lifeguard and pool manager for the city, and from 2006-09 returned to the parks and rec program as a specialist supervising aquatics activities. He’s also run open gym programs here and worked with youth football, basketball and after-school programs.

Although he has family in Brookings (his parents), Hoff is single.










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