Coordinating combo |

Coordinating combo

Jeff CaspersenGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kelley Cox

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. Matt Kraemer and Shannon Derby make a pretty good team.Charged with running countless recreational programs for the Glenwood Springs Parks and Recreation Department, they really have no choice but to be on the same page. “It’s fun to have an assistant that has as much interest in what you’re doing as you do,” Kraemer, athletics coordinator, said of Derby, assistant athletics coordinator. Adult softball, adult volleyball, futsol, youth basketball, youth tennis, peewee wrestling, adult basketball, fitness classes, senior trips, hockey: all sports programs managed by Kraemer and Derby, and that’s nowhere near the extent of their responsibility list. “There’s always something going on,” said Derby, a Glenwood Springs lifer. “We have 37 softball teams right now.”And their job duties reach beyond the sporting world.

“Year-round, we have special events,” Kraemer said. “We have Easter events, Halloween events. On top of all that, we do all the marketing, advertising for our programs.” You might even find Derby or Kraemer grooming the community center’s ice rink.”We both know how to drive the Zamboni,” Derby warned. “Watch out.”Again, it’s a good thing that Kraemer and Derby get along. And the personality quirks of each keep things lively. “You never know what you’re going to get with Shannon, and she never knows what she’s going to get with me,” Kraemer joked.The two took vastly different paths to their current positions.

While Derby, 34, has made Glenwood her home since childhood, the 27-year-old Kraemer took the scenic route to town. He started out in Green Bay, Wisc., before attending college and playing football at the University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse. He then packed up and headed east for Massachusetts, where he got his graduate degree at Springfield College. Kraemer’s next stop was New Britain, Conn., where he served as a recreation programmer for four years.After visiting his twin brother, a Pitkin County land use planner, a time or two, he set his sights on finding employment in the Glenwood Springs area. “I thought it’d be a great place to work,” Kraemer said.Seven months into the job, Kraemer’s found that his forecast was accurate.

“I have yet to meet a mean person since I’ve been here,” he said. “The people are genuine, caring. That’s refreshing. It’s a good change, and the mountains are cool.” Derby, who also harbors a deep-rooted love for athletics, is a logical fit for her position.”I’ve always been around athletes,” said Derby, whose husband Bryan is Glenwood Springs High School’s girls basketball coach. “We have a family of athletes.” Though their journeys to the present may have varied, Derby and Kraemer share a common goal, and that’s to satiate the general public’s athletic appetite and have fun doing it.”The special thing about rec people is that they’re paying for it,” Kraemer explained. “They want it to be quality. It’s not like people are forced into what we’re offering.” Running a smooth-sailing ship is challenging, but it’s all worthwhile, said Derby.”Everything’s rewarding in this job,” she said. “That’s what I’ve been here as long as I’ve been (three years). The programs are all rewarding, and the co-workers. You don’t find any other job where you like all the people you work with.”

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