Time for a change at Darke County Parks


By Roger Van Frank

Darke County Parks

We have all endured a multitude of emotions in the past few years with the loss of jobs, loss of family members, and loss of friends. Darke County Parks have been the GO-TO place to help sort out those feelings. Our parks provide us with comfort zones that allow us the privacy to do that sorting! Parks also allow families and individuals to explore with no expectations. We as a community have begun to re-immerse ourselves into society and as we once again rediscover what our favorite interests are whether it’s photography, hiking, biking the trails, canoeing and kayaking our waterways, attending our public programs, bird watching, participating as a volunteer in our Pioneer programs. I am once again pleased that the Park staff has continued to ramp up our program outreach. As I have often said, “If you miss a day in Darke County Parks you have missed a lot.”

This is an excerpt from my last “Directors Corner” of my career with Darke County Parks as I will be retiring at least for a while from public service. It has been an absolute honor to have worked for the most professional Park Boards of Commissioners, employees, three different Friends support groups, and served on numerous Darke County Community Board Organizations over the past 21 years. It is now time for a change in leadership to assume this role. I am very thankful for the thousands who continue to support the park district financially and give their time and energy. I have made lifelong friendships locally, regionally, statewide, and nationally. I have learned so much from so many different professionals who have been willing to share their expertise and time with me. I will miss the numerous volunteers and visitors that would come to my office just to sit and “chew the fat”. I will especially cherish those friendships and continue to miss the dozens of volunteers who are no longer with us and their guidance and sincere interest in this Park District. I have great stories to tell about my days with these Friends and volunteers of Darke County Parks. I challenge those who follow to “stay the course” as change is inevitable and at the end of each individual’s tenure, you must have that satisfaction and knowledge that you have helped the community you have served.

One final time I would like to close with a phrase I learned from other Park Directors,

“Remember the Benefits of Parks and Recreation are Endless!”

See you in the oceans, mountains, lakes, and trails!

Roger M. Van Frank

Director 2003-2023

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