Stout wants to offer more programs, sites

Dorchester Banner/Dave Ryan Director of Recreation and Parks Frank Stout is ready to bring the department’s programs to more areas of the county.

Dorchester Banner/Dave Ryan
Director of Recreation and Parks Frank Stout is ready to bring the department’s programs to more areas of the county.

CAMBRIDGE – Frank Stout took over as Director of Dorchester County Recreation and Parks in September. He brings his extensive public service experience and local knowledge to the job, as he plans to expand the department’s offerings and locations.

A native of Ohio, Mr. Stout came to the area to teach. “I had the privilege of working in Dorchester County public schools” for about 13 years, he said. Part of that time was in the classroom, and then Mr. Stout moved into administration, including a stint as assistant principal at Sandy Hill Elementary School.

That would probably be enough to keep most people busy – but Mr. Stout wanted another challenge. He won a seat on the Cambridge City Council, where he spent a four-year term.

It was an instructive period for him, as he learned about the various departments of city government. “It enabled me to see how our community operates,” he said.
He decided not to run for office again, preferring to get back to his roots in the classroom, so he went to North Dorchester High School for two years.

“I had the good fortune to get to know people throughout the county,” he said. And that’s one piece of his job history that has an influence on his current post.
“I want to do my best to provide for the far reaches of our county,” he said.

The agency’s website explains its mission, saying, “Our programs and activities provide Dorchester County residents the opportunity to enjoy their hobbies and favorite sports activities with others who share similar interests. They teach the importance of teamwork, self-control, and respect, among other good character-building qualities. Area youth can learn the basic concepts of an activity such as a particular sport, theater, dance or swimming, and continue to improve their ability level as they grow.”

Mr. Stout’s staff is composed of Admin/Program Coordinator Debbie Marshall, Program Coordinator Wendy Jackson, Maintenance Supervisor Chad Smith and Maintenance Technician Bran Marshall.

“Sometimes it goes unnoticed, but our grounds and athletic fields are always meticulously kept,” he said. “I can’t thank our staff responsible for this maintenance enough for their attention to detail and consistent desire to make the best presentation possible of our county’s athletic fields.”

As hard as they work, though, there is more going on than four people can handle. “Our volunteers are phenomenal,” Mr. Stout said. “Our department depends so heavily on their selflessness.”

As an example, he mentioned Pam Usilton, who organized a pick-up girls’ volleyball league this fall. The project was popular, attracting many young athletes to the games at North Dorchester Middle School.

“Pam did a phenomenal job,” he said.

Not only does Rec and Parks need the efforts of dedicated volunteers, the department also works closely with other agencies, including the YMCA of the Chesapeake and the Dorchester County Technology Center. “It’s about trying to engage the citizens,” Mr. Stout said.

Recreation and Parks’ office is at 446 Willis St. in Cambridge. To learn more, call 410-228-5578, or visit www.dorchesterrecreation.org.

Dave Ryan is editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at dryan@newszap.com.

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