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Patty DeForrest Receives Missouri Park and Recreation Fellow Award

Publish Date:03/08/2019 4:57 PM

Jefferson City, MO – Patty DeForrest, Director, Clayton Parks and Recreation Department, was honored with the Missouri Park and Recreation Association’s highest honor, Fellow Award, at their annual conference on February 28, 2019 in Branson, MO.

What do you do after becoming one of the most decorated female swimmers in Mizzou history with 14 national titles? Go into Parks and Recreation, of course! It was Patty's love for aquatics started her into the Parks and Recreation field. Patty's Parks and Recreation career begin in 1999 as the Aquatics Supervisor for the City of Clayton Parks and Recreation Department. As the Aquatics Supervisor, she oversaw aquatics operations for both the indoor and outdoor facility, developed extensive programming for the Clayton community and managed over 100 aquatic employees.

In 2003, Patty was promoted to Clayton's Director of Parks and Recreation and currently holds this position. As director, Patty manages 11 parks, a 136,000 square foot community center, outdoor aquatics center, ice rink and tennis center as well as an historic house museum while supervising 25 full­time and over 300 part-time employees. In addition to running the daily operations of the department, Patty has managed millions of dollars in capital projects that have included renovation of the outdoor aquatic center, new inclusion playgrounds in three Clayton Parks, and new trails throughout Clayton's parks. Patty is currently providing the leadership for the new Shaw Park Ice Rink facility and a $8.6 million-dollar major renovation of Clayton's community center. Most amazing of all Patty was able to expand park land in a land locked city with a just purchased park on the edge of downtown Clayton, additional acreage at Hanley Park and her much loved Anderson Park Dog Park.

Under her leadership, the Clayton Parks and Recreation Department has received over 20 agency awards or recognitions including, Missouri Arbor of Excellence Award by the Missouri Department of Conservation, St. Louis District Facility of the Year by the USTA and Best Overall Commitment to Aquatics by Aquatics International. In addition, Clayton Parks and Recreation has been awarded over $2.2 million dollars in Municipal Grant Funds during Patty's tenure.

Patty played a pivotal role in the creation of the Clayton Century Foundation, an independent 501(c){3) that provides a civic mechanism for raising funds for desired cultural, heritage, wellness and recreational capital improvements in the Clayton community that are consistent with the City's Mission and Master Plan. To date, CCF has contributed over $10 million dollars to help fund projects such as: Chapman Plaza at Shaw Park, Hanley House Pavilion, Enterprise Holdings Pavilion, and various art pieces throughout Clayton's parks.

Patty's dedication to Parks and Recreation does not end with the City of Clayton. She serves on the City of Maplewood Parks and Recreation Committee, and formerly served on the Town & Country Parks and Trails Commission. Patty is actively involved with MRPA. Patty was Board President from 2012-2013 and she was the Chair of the Charitable Giving committee from 2014-2017. Patty has served on the MPRA Awards and Citation Committee as the Chair, in addition to presenting several sessions at MPRA conferences throughout her career. She was instrumental in helping with the Trails Project, the last major overhaul of MPRA's governing documents and the Education Fund campaign. She supports and encourages her staff to not only be involved in MPRA but to achieve their CPRP certification - as she herself was in the national inaugural class of 2012 and first in Missouri to earn the CPRE certification. As the ZZTop song goes "I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide", that is Patty.

About the Missouri Park and Recreation Fellow Award:
The Missouri Park and Recreation Fellow Award is given to one member of the association each year. The recipient must have at least 10 years of experience as a leader, instructor, supervisor, director, administrator, or a combination of same in the field of recreation and/or parks and must be certified by a certifying board recognized in the field of parks, recreation and leisure services. They must also contribute to the association and display distinctive and innovative leadership. For more details, the MPRA Awards code can be found at

About the Missouri Park and Recreation Association:
The Missouri Park and Recreation Association, whose members work to provide opportunities for all the state’s citizens to enjoy quality leisure activities, is dedicated to promoting public support for parks and recreation and public awareness of the contribution of recreation to a balanced life. The association works to ensure the growth and improve the quality and accessibility of urban and rural parks, open spaces and recreation lands, facilities and programs for all Missourians. It promotes research and information dissemination on parks, conservation, recreation, and leisure issues.
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