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11/15/2012 2:23:00 PM
Meet Camp Verde's new recreation coordinator
VVN/Steve Ayers
Camp Verde's new recreation director Rick Long is a former detention officer and probation officer who switched his college major from criminal justice to parks and recreation after realizing its value in preventing kids from heading down the wrong path.
VVN/Steve Ayers
Camp Verde's new recreation director Rick Long is a former detention officer and probation officer who switched his college major from criminal justice to parks and recreation after realizing its value in preventing kids from heading down the wrong path.

Steve Ayers
Staff Reporter

CAMP VERDE - Rickey Long wasn't planning to study parks and recreation management when he decided to go back to school.

Administration of justice was his thing.

But after working with at-risk kids in a parks and recreation program in Kingman he decided his time might be better spent if he had time to get them focused before they headed down the wrong path. So he switched majors.

He won't graduate with his degree in parks and recreation management until next May. He has one class to finish. Nevertheless, Long was chosen last month as the new recreation coordinator for the Town of Camp Verde.

"I like dealing with adults and kids. But if an adult gets bored they move away. But when kids get bored, they get in trouble. I think a good parks and recreation program can go a long way toward keeping the adults happy and kids occupied," Long said this week when asked why he applied for the job.

An Illinois native, Long has lived in Arizona for 25 years. He worked as a detention officer at the state prison in Florence before becoming a probation and surveillance officer for Mohave County.

While living in Kingman he became involved with at-risk juveniles and began to see the value in keeping them occupied. He eventually became an intern for the City of Kingman in their parks and recreation program.

"As an intern with Kingman, I had a pretty diverse clientele, between the kids programs and working for the senior center. I found I enjoyed both groups," he says.

Long, who started Nov. 5, says he applied for the Camp Verde job because he saw the opportunity as a way to build a program from the ground up.

"My little department, I call it. With a new park to be built, ball fields, an equestrian facility, groundwork already done on trails, and soccer, Little League, football and softball already started, it's already got a lot of possibilities," he says.

But he says he would also like to grow the department and its offerings, for all ages.

"I'd like to take it to new heights. I'd like to increase the yoga programs, perhaps add some martial arts, something I have been into for years, and begin hosting some regional events.

"But I'm also looking for suggestions. I know the community as a visitor, not as a resident. So I will be actively seeking the public's input," he says.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, November 17, 2012
Article comment by: Heather Mauch

Please tell me that we are going to finally get ball fields for our kids. Not an equestrian center but fields, ramadas, and bathrooms. Welcome aboard, I welcome your enthusiasm.

Posted: Friday, November 16, 2012
Article comment by: Johnny Montezuma

Welcome aboard! CV definitely needs to be a "lead" player in the resurrection, design and staging of the Verde River's March 23rd "canoe challenge." Hope you can attend the Nov. 29th meeting here in your office when (hopefully) a new name will be picked for the exciting event.

Posted: Thursday, November 15, 2012
Article comment by: ted wilson

What camp verde needs are things for seniors to do to keep there mind and body fit. Camp verde has over 40% seniors. It would make sense to provide for them.,as cottonwood and other towns provide for there seniors.

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