New nonprofit aims to provide recreation opportunities for all ages

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The Tigard Recreation For Everyone Board of Directors includes (from left) Marland Henderson, Gabi Miller, Connie Ramaekers and Marc Woodard; not pictured is Board Member Jenny Drew. The group is seeking more people to serve on the board. Submitted photo
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Two former Tigard city councilors are still working to make Tigard a better community. After years of public service, Marland Henderson and Marc Woodard have established a nonprofit to offer a wide range of recreation activities for all ages. They are working with three other board members, Gabi Miller, Connie Ramaekers and Jenny Drew, and utilizing various partnerships to turn Tigard Recreation For Everyone into reality.

“In 2015, Marland, the late Neal Brown and I started discussions to put together a program that would partner with the YMCA and the City of Tigard that would expand recreation opportunities for everyone and eventually build a facility,” Woodard said. “Some things have changed post-Covid, but basically we want to provide activities for those from ages 1 to 99.”

To get teens involved, they brought in Ramaekers, who is the executive director of Tigard Turns the Tide, a community coalition committed to preventing the use and abuse of alcohol and drugs.

“Learning how to do this is a big part of it, and the YMCA is already running programs that we want to do, so it was natural to partner with them,” said Henderson, who added that they are talking with the Sherwood Family YMCA.

Woodard added, “We are stoked to be in a partnership with the YMCA and want to focus on the YMCA’s values and principles, which are aligned with ours.”

He explained that Tigard Recreation For Everyone would work to provide programs that schools don’t offer, starting in Dirksen Nature Park, and Henderson added that the programs would not be free but would be affordable. “There are a lot of grants and scholarships available, and depending on income, people would pay what they can afford to pay, even if it’s zero,” Woodard said.

Both men stressed that no taxpayer dollars will be involved in the project, and Woodard explained, “The neat thing about being a nonprofit is that it helps to bring in other nonprofits in the field of recreation, and I think we can help the City of Tigard to expand their programs. The more the merrier.”

While they are excited about offering programming, they realize that “to bring people together, you need a hub, so we will eventually need a facility,” Woodard said. “And volunteers are key to expanding our programs.”

With five members currently on the Board of Directors, they are looking for two to three more directors to round out the board and invite people to inquire.

Stay tuned for future developments, and in the meantime, visit TigardRecreationForEveryone.org.

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