Andrew Whitman is the city of Waupaca’s new recreation program supervisor.
The Waupaca native began his job duties on Feb. 3.
“I want to help the city progress,” Whitman said. “In the position, I can make opportunities for people to be active and healthy. I get to really just better the community and create a healthy community.”
The 32 year old was one of 28 people who applied for the position.
Eight applicants were interviewed in the first round, and Whitman was one of two finalists interviewed in the second round.
The city’s recreation program supervisor position had been vacant since last April, after Aaron Jenson was named Waupaca’s parks and recreation director.
Jenson was the department’s program supervisor for about a year and a half before moving into the director position.
He said the department worked with Whitman as part of the ACHIEVE committee.
During the past couple years, Whitman is among the community members who has been involved in ACHIEVE – Action Communities for Health, Innovation and Environmental Change.
The city’s Parks and Recreation Department received a $50,000 grant through the National Recreation and Parks Association to be part of the program.
ACHIEVE brings together concerned citizens to create healthy communities and provide local leaders with education and resources to solve specific health problems.
In addition to being involved in ACHIEVE, Whitman helped plan the fire department’s first ever 5 Alarm Dash last year and also coordinated the city’s flag football program last fall.
“He has a great passion to provide recreational opportunities for Waupaca community members and will work hard to make sure they are quality programs. It is a great time to get Andrew on board to help address community needs that have come up in our needs assessment process with the over 25 community groups we have met with,” Jenson said. “We are extremely excited about the future of Waupaca Parks and Recreation with the hard work of our current staff and the addition of Andrew to our team.”
Whitman brings a variety of experiences to the position.
He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and from Ohio University with a master’s degree in coaching education.
When asked why he decided to seek a master’s degree in that area, he said, “I liked working with kids in youth sports. I could see how much of an influence you can be on their lives by coaching.”
After graduate school, Whitman moved to Pennsylvania, where he was an instructor at Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania.
He taught health, wellness and activity courses to the students who were physical education majors.
“I did that for three years. Then, it was time to come back,” Whitman said of his decision to return to Waupaca. “It’s just a great place to live. My family is here. It’s a good place to raise a family.”
When he moved back to Waupaca in 2007, he began working at Health and Fitness Headquarters as a personal trainer. In 2008, he joined the Waupaca Fire Department.
His involvement in ACHIEVE and coordination of the 5 Alarm Dash and city’s flag football program resulted in his interest in the city’s recreation program supervisor position.
“All those things helped me recognize this would be a good position for me. I get to do those same things,” Whitman said.
Among the ideas he has this year are to create a family movie night in the park system this summer and to start a coed adult kickball league.
He said family movie nights are popular at Green Bay’s Bay Beach and also in Oshkosh.
“I want to bring it here,” Whitman said.
Whitman and his wife, Andrea, have one son, 17-month old Liam.
Among Whitman’s favorite outdoor activites are camping in the summer and hunting and fishing in the fall.
Programs that help youngsters explore the outdoors and learn how to hunt and fish are also among the future ideas he has for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.