November 4, 2021 - The Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department was honored with two 2020 IPRA Awards of Excellence during an Indiana Park and Recreation Association event on November 4.

The Indiana Park & Recreation Association Awards of Excellence recognize those throughout Indiana that embody vision, dedication and excellence in parks and recreation. These awards highlight the efforts that transcend everyday standards to make a difference and improve the quality of life in our Indiana communities. IPRA award winners include park and recreation professionals, organizations, agencies and volunteers. Projects must have been completed between August 1, 2019 and December 31, 2020 to be eligible.

The department’s Confluence Kitchen program received the Inclusive Program Award and Community Center Manager Patti Davis was recognized as the IPRA Outstanding Professional of the Year.

The Confluence Kitchen program was developed by the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation riverfront programming team to bring the community together to celebrate the many cultures within our city. In January 2020, Confluence Kitchen featured the culture of Japan and included sushi made by local Japanese chefs, origami making demonstrations by local artists, and language instruction by native speakers. Each table had copies of traditional Japanese recipes so that attendees could learn to cook them at home. The Fall 2020 event featured the culture of Germany and included pretzel twisting, German beers, polka music, and German folk dancing.

Confluence Kitchen received the Inclusion Program of Excellence Award, which praises an organization or agency for their achievements pertaining to a program or project that increases awareness and benefits of parks and recreation. This award highlights and acknowledges the organization’s effort and determination to provide inclusive opportunities and programming to their community.

Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Director Steve McDaniel said, “One of our most important goals is to create inclusive opportunities for everyone in Fort Wayne to enjoy our parks and our programs as a community. Events like Confluence Kitchen really draw people together to have fun, but also to learn more about each other and the diversity of Fort Wayne.”

Patti Davis received the IPRA Outstanding Professional Award for 2020, which is presented to an individual for their exceptional impact on the field of parks and recreation. Winners of this award maintain a record of noteworthy and special contributions to the parks profession, demonstrate leadership and advocacy, display remarkable service to their agency, and are a source of professional guidance and inspiration. Patti was recognized for her work at the Community Center to provide a variety of affordable and engaging programs and activities, along with her dedication to furthering the mission of parks and recreation departments both in Fort Wayne and throughout the state.

“Patti is always someone who is ready to lend a hand when our department needs to get something done,” added McDaniel. “She is one of our most committed employees and someone our community has come to know and love for her passion for recreation and education.”