Rec Stories

Student Staff Spotlight on Sara Foley

By Emily Comos, Miami University Rec Center Marketing Assistant

Sara Foley is one of the Group Fitness Student Managers this year at the Rec. Being a Student Manager means some days she teaches fitness classes and other days she works on grassroots marketing through the Group Fitness social media accounts. Preparing to teach a class includes creating the music playlist and planning the different exercises. Her work in the marketing aspect of the job includes promoting the various special events that Group Fitness puts on for Miami students and the community throughout the year.

Sara was a member of the Fitness Instructor Training Program as a freshman and was certified within her first semester. She spent the second-semester shadowing other group fitness instructors and began teaching classes of her own. Sara wants to work in the Sports Marketing industry after she graduates and wants to carry her passion for teaching classes and marketing for the Group Fitness department into her professional career.

It takes someone especially outgoing and willing to look silly to make a good fitness instructor and student manager, and Sara works tirelessly to interact with patrons and make them feel special. She encourages those who attend her classes to always give the class 110% and to show them that exercise can be fun! She plans to continue to teach classes after graduation and will always strive to maintain a healthy balanced lifestyle.

Assistant Director of Fitness, Shannon Speed described Sara as someone who stood out from the very beginning. “Her bubbly personality and optimistic nature make her an inspirational leader as a Student Manager for Group Fitness. Sara has been a stand out from the beginning. Displayed through her willingness to be involved in countless special events, learn additional group fitness class formats, and create connections on campus, Sara provides a great about of support to the Group FIT program,” said Speed. “I cannot say enough good things about Sara and what she has brought to the Recreational Sports Center.”

Sara loves working as a Student Manager at the Rec because she has the ability to motivate individuals to see fitness as a positive contribution to their days. “Sometimes people put group fitness classes on their schedules with a sigh of regret, but I like to work to change that attitude and stereotype that working out has to be a dreaded part of people’s days,” Sara said. She also stated that she finds herself the happiest when she gets to interact with individuals before and after class and getting to know people she wouldn’t have without group fitness.

Connecting with co-workers and developing relationships at work was a piece of advice Sara gave regarding how to make the most of your experience as a Student Manager. Sara states that attending as many special events as you can and consistently showing interest in the fitness community makes a huge difference.

Sara was diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic as a child and is extremely passionate about using fitness and health to make a difference within that field. She has raised close to $30,000 for Type 1 diabetes research and wants to show the world that this disease doesn’t have to hold you back in life or keep you from doing the things you love, including teaching group fitness.

Student Staff Spotlight on Chloe Wright 

By Dania Puente,  Miami University Rec Center Marketing Assistant

Chloe is a motivated and enthusiastic student manager, who was promoted to her current position just three months after she started working. Her Rec journey started her freshman year and since then, she has made her mark in all areas with her hard-working and positive personality. Sadly though, she will be graduating this upcoming spring, and her enthusiasm will now be making its way into a high school classroom.

“Chloe has such incredible energy that radiates to the rest of the staff and our patrons,” said Jessie Bayer, Chloe’s supervisor.

Beyond her daily tasks, Chloe checks-in with the other staff and makes sure that they have everything needed for the day. She acts as the buffer between full-time staff and students staff.

“A normal day for me includes completing projects that my supervisor needs me to”  

Chloe states that she enjoys applying her academic skills to the tasks she’s working on. She quizzes for student staff to make sure they are up to date on all the things that have changed, as there are a lot of changes here at the Rec.

When asked what she liked the most about her job Chloe answered, “I really love the people that I work with, it’s also really flexible, I get to share my ideas and see some of them take effect”

She has also become the voice of the students who sometimes don’t get to be in meetings. She makes sure to share their ideas with the staff and provides notes back to those students.

Giggling Chloe said it is very likely that her colleagues describe her as loud, she hopes, however, that they think she’s funny and kind.

A piece of advice she would give to students seeking her position is  “if you’re motivated to be a student manager do the little things”. She explained that the little things are noticed.

She explained that during the hiring process they always look at reliability, consistency, and attendance, these are what she calls the “little things” that are highly considered.

Chloe’s goal after graduation is to be a high school English teacher. She believes her job here at the Rec is indeed preparing for her future. By managing her peers she’s learning the skills needed to earn people’s respect and trust but still having a form of authority, something she will need as a high school teacher.

Chloe works directly with Jessie Bayer (Customer and Facility Services Intern) and helps her with staffing, scheduling, and really helps to keep Jessie organized.

“She is also usually the voice of reason among our team during discussions, and is always striving to find compromises that benefit everyone,” said Jessie.

Chloe goes above and beyond on her job and her staff truly appreciates her just the way she appreciates them.

“She is continuously finding ways to help our staff improve and to support them, even inviting them to her house for breakfast to show her appreciation,” said Jessie.

Ron Siliko our Senior Director of Customer Services & Facility Management expressed his gratitude for having Chloe in the Rec staff team.

“Chloe is a kind-hearted, vocal leader who has a great ability to communicate and build relationships with all types of the customers that use the Rec Center,” Said Ron.

Pat Fagin our Customer Services Coordinator said: “Chloe is always upbeat and has endless energy which is quite contagious”.


Student Staff Spotlight on Owen Bressler 

By Dania Puente,  Miami University Rec Center Marketing Assistant

Senior Owen Bressler is one of our Rec student managers majoring in Small Business Commerce and is part of the Miami University ROTC program. Owen has been working at the Rec since the summer of 2015 where he started as customer service staff.

Now as a student manager his job consists of cross-training between all student positions (informal, pro-shop, and reception) and he is often in charge of a variety of projects within all areas. Additionally, he assists our Customer & Facility Services Assistant Director Beth Keith with the SilverSneakers® program. Over the summer Owen takes on different projects such as helping with our Golden Community and assisting with memberships.

Jessie Bayer is the Customer and Facility Services Intern and Owen’s supervisor

“Owen is an incredibly hard worker and really goes above and beyond for our patrons” shared Jessie.“He takes extra time to really get to know them and tries to learn at least one fact about every single one of our patrons, and really forms a sense of community here” she added.

Beth Keith and Owen work together in various projects “His attention to detail and determination to deliver exceptional customer service to our members is unparalleled by his peers. I don’t know what I would do without him!” said Beth.

When asked about his favorite part of the job, Owen said that it is interacting with and meeting new customers. “I really like knowing the patrons so I created a list with their names on and one thing about them,” he said. He keeps that list in his wallet so he can go through it when needed.

“The coolest thing about my job is getting to know the patrons, knowing their name and that they know yours”  he expressed.

This past summer Owen underwent field training to become a Second Lieutenant in the air force after graduation next Spring. He believes that the leadership and mentoring experience that he received at the rec will help him in his future position, where he will be leading between 60-120 people.

Owen stated “getting to know people individually is very important for the job that I’ll be doing in the future” which he has certainly experienced here at the Rec.

A piece of advise that Owen would like to give to future student managers is “treat it more than a job, treat it more than just swiping cards or being at pro shop or just working for money”.

He expressed that students should get as much experience out of this job as much as they can, that “it is the best job on campus”.

“The things you do today will influence what you’ll be remembered for tomorrow,” said Owen and he wants to be remembered for giving 100 percent every single day.

Beginning a New Chapter: A Closing Interview with Gabby Kinnamon

By Emily Comos, Miami University Rec Center Marketing Assistant 

Gabby Kinnamon has been the Assistant Director of Club Sports here at Miami University Recreation for three years. While at the Rec, she oversaw 55 teams and 1,500 athletes, ranging from their daily operations to facility bookings. Additionally, she was in charge of the Youth Gymnastics Program which consists of recreational classes and training for ages 2-14 and directed the competitive cheer and gymnastics team.

When we asked Kinnamon who has influenced her the most while working at the Rec, she quickly answered without hesitation, Mike Arnos, Senior Director of Programs and Academic Partnerships. Kinnamon and Arnos shared a desk for nearly a year, and she explained how those circumstances allowed them to get to know each other on both a personal and professional level. “He’s done so much for me, whether it be opportunities, or simply answering questions, he would always drop whatever he was doing to give me an explanation and help me understand areas I was struggling with,” said Kinnamon.

One thing that surprised Kinnamon about working at Miami University in general is the amount of support and appreciation club sports and all organizations receive from the University President and his wife. She explained how they somehow attend nearly every event on campus and always the kindest and most genuine people. Kinnamon felt like she had immense support from the entire university when working with club sports and that was a very encouraging and motivating feeling.

Working at the Rec wasn’t always easy, and Kinnamon discussed thoroughly how those trials taught her about herself helped her grow professionally. She planned and helped Miami host the ORSA (Ohio Recreation Sports Association) state conference this past year, which spanned the course of an entire weekend and held hundreds of individuals, all while attending graduate school and working full-time. Although these tasks were extremely difficult, she expressed how she could not have done any of it without the amazing support from her fellow staff members. “The people you work with truly make your job, and I although I loved my job, I could’ve absolutely hated the actually work I was doing, but still would have stayed here solely for the people,” said Kinnamon. She never felt like she was actually working simply because she was able to come in everyday and surround herself with true friends and supportive individuals.

Kinnamon wants to express to anyone who may work at the Rec in the future that if you give the job and people a chance, good things will come your way. “Don’t fear getting to know people, don’t sit in your car and eat your lunch. You have to put yourself out there, everyone is so great. Get so involved and try new things because you get to learn and work with so many different people,” she said.

In concluding the interview, we asked Kinnamon her favorite moment while working at the Rec, in which she responded by telling us that it didn’t actually take place during any of her schedule shifts. She told us about her wedding and how many of her co-workers traveled two hours away from the office, to help support and celebrate her special day. She stated that she was convinced that she had the best group of friends and coworkers around.

One of the most difficult things about leaving she says is that she will miss all her friends and will miss seeing the growth of the young and ambitious club sports teams and individuals she has hired and worked with over the years.

Zach Moore, Marketing Account Manager for Campus Services stated how great of a coworker and friend Kinnamon was. “Gabby’s contribution to the Miami Rec Center and Miami itself is seen by the countless stories that her students, colleagues, and friends tell about how she inspired them, motivated them to be their best and to make a difference in not just our lives but those around us,” he said. “She made everybody smile and made every day that much better.”

Thank you, Gabby, for your infinite contributions to Club Sports, Youth Gymnastics and Miami University Recreation as a whole. Your passion, personality, and dedication has and will continue to inspire many for years to come. We wish you the absolute best at your new position as a Program Assistant for Ohio State University and will miss you greatly.

Student Spotlight on Cody Kenyon 

Cody Kenyon is a Miami University freshman from Toledo, Ohio. He is majoring in Sports Leadership Management and has become a loyal Rec Center patron. Cody strives to show that a disability doesn’t create limitations. His passion, motivation, and desire to help others are admirable and that’s why the Rec marketing staff wanted to learn more about him.


When did your fitness/sports passion begin? 

Around junior high. That’s when I started to get exposed to other kids and I started to want to fit in. Basketball became my passion, I fell in love with the sport and I wanted to play as much basketball as I could.

What motivates you to work out every day?

I know that whenever I step on the court,  people will obviously give me a different look because of my leg. I tend to use that as motivation because people are going to look at me as if I’m different no matter where I go. I feel that it’s my job, I represent everybody with a disability out there. I view this as promoting awareness and letting people know that we don’t want to be treated differently and that we can play ball just like anybody else.

Has the Rec helped your health in any way?

Yes, it’s definitely nice having an indoor court and having a facility to lift and workout, it has certainly been useful. Otherwise, I would be sitting in my dorm doing push-ups.

What do you like the most about the Rec?

I would say the indoor courts, it’s nice to be able to play with everybody. Obviously, there are times where it’s nice to have the gym for myself and I know what are some good times to come for that. Yet I know that I can also come and play with a bunch of people and get that experience of playing with a team.

How would your friends describe you?

If they were describing me, nothing would ever come up about my leg, because people that I associate myself with don’t see me as being different. For example, a lot of people when they see me playing basketball say “oh you’re pretty good for a guy with one leg”, my friends would just say I’m pretty good in general.

What are you most passionate about?

I’d have to say, the people that I care about. When I was growing up, I always tended to put other people before myself. I’m passionate about caring for the people that care about me: my family, my girlfriend, and everybody back home. I like to make sure that they’re well and that everything is good with them.


Interview by Dania Puente

Student Staff Spotlight on Aaron Watkins 

Major: Finance, Class of 2019                                                                                    Hometown: Cleveland, OH

Aaron Watkins is one of Miami Rec Sports Center’s student managers. He is well known around the Rec for his optimism and for always being “living the dream”.  Aaron goes above and beyond and always does his job with a smile. He often collaborates with the Rec’s marketing team and other departments besides customer service.


When did you become a part of the Rec staff?

My freshman year, fall of 2015.

In this position what do you do?

I work at the front desk, the Pro Shop, and informal worker. I walk around with the backpack, help with injuries, restock our Pro Shop, and help patrons out in general. As a student manager, I actually help out with some of the finances here and just try to serve as a role model for our student employees.

What do you like the most about your job?

My coworkers, easy, easy money.  They are great people,  some of my best friends on campus.

How would your colleagues describe you?

Outgoing, goofy, and driven.

As a student manager, what is a piece of advice that you would give to students seeking your position?

You have to give respect, to get respect. If you want people to respect you, you have to be able to do that too, get down the trenches with them, work with them and not just tell them what to do.

Do you think this job is preparing you for your future and career?

Absolutely, when I was interviewing for my internship they asked me: When was one time that you improved a system that was currently in place? I used the example from the Rec Center when I improved our Fellow Merit Point System, which was pretty cool. During the interview, I talked about that for a while, but that’s for the technical aspect. I have also been able to grow my management techniques and to be able to work with people, in addition to customer service.

What are your plans after graduation?

Hopefully, go into corporate finance. I’ll be working with Procter & Gamble this summer down in Cincinnati in the department of finance and accounting. After graduation I’d like to work with them if it presents, if not I’d like to explore other corporate finance options.

When are you happiest?

When I’m at work! I love working here.

What are you most passionate about?

Helping others, no doubt. I love whenever I’m put in the position where I can help others, whether is helping them professionally or personally.


Interview by Dania Puente

Member Spotlight on Susan Chabot 

Susan Chabot

Susan Chabot is one of our loyal Rec members and with no doubt the most competitive SilverSneaker®. She came in second place, (first place female) for the Fall into Fitness Challenge last December.  She and her husband are residents of The Knolls of Oxford and are Miami University retired faculty and staff. Her energy and determination have made an impact on the Rec Center Community and that’s why we wanted to get to know her better.

When did you become a rec member?

We moved to Oxford in 1984 and I became a member when the Rec was built in 1994. In 2004 we retired to North Carolina and lived there twelve years. Three years ago we returned to Oxford and I became a SilverSneaker® member.

What activities do you normally do here at the Rec?

I swim in the deep water power class, I do stationary bike, pickleball and I take some of the fitness classes.

Has the Rec helped your health in any way?

It absolutely reinvented my whole life. I am so grateful that they had the  Fall Into Fitness Challenge from October 8th to December 8th. I was just going through a period where I had no use of my legs for three months and I couldn’t exercise.  I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and  I could no longer play tennis, a game that I played for so many years.  Someone suggested that I take a deep water aerobics class. I said, “I hate the pool, there’s no way!” I’ve never been a swimmer, I’ve never liked the water, but I tried it, and I came every day because it made my body feel a lot better.  I got started with that and later I picked up biking because the doctor said that was a good thing for me to do. Then on October 8th, this challenge came up -I’m very competitive- I came every single day, 7 days a week and I would come at about 8:30 in the morning and I’d go home at noon, and I would get as many points as I could. My points were: 5 for the pool, 5 for class, 5 for pickle, and 10 for the bike because I biked 10 miles, and that’s what I did for 2 months. It was so good because it got me in the habit of doing those things, which I never would. If that challenge wasn’t here I can’t believe I would’ve done all of those things. It was fabulous, and now I’m addicted.

What is the thing you like the most about the Rec?

I really do love the way the water makes me feel. When I wake up in the morning it generally takes maybe an hour or so to get my legs moving. I head over to the pool for the morning class and get out an hour later feeling good. I am back playing pickleball and enjoy spending time with players.

What are some memorable experiences during your time here?

I love the fact that Miami students are beginning to find pickle a fun sport and that we have a really fun group that regularly join the otherwise older players. We enjoy playing with and getting to know Miami students.


By interview by Dania Puente

Staff Spotlight on Gabby Kinnamon 

Gabby Kinnamon

Gabby has been working here at the Rec Center for almost 4 years and is currently the Assistant Director of Club Sports and Youth Gymnastics. Parents compliment Gabby on her coaching abilities and her gymnastic kids all talk about how amazing of a coach she is. She is always willing to go the extra mile and help others in need. Additionally, she is the Rec staff socialite and likes to help organize staff gatherings at and outside of work.

When and how did you become a part of the REC staff?

I started in 2014 as the Club Sports and Youth Gymnastics Intern and then in 2015 I became the Assistant Director of Club Sports, so I’ve been here 4 years.

In this position what do you do?

Oversee all the club sports which we have 54 teams and  I also run our youth gymnastics program which has 200 participants in it.

What do you like the most about your job?

Oh, there are so many things. One of the biggest things I like is the people I work with, all the people here at the Rec are really great and we make work fun. Also working with the club sports, developing their leadership and helping them through problems. Seeing our teams succeed and knowing that you had a small part in that and just being able to help the students, and help them for their future. And then the gymnastics program, I get to see little tiny kids progress all the way through. I usually work with the older girls and just seeing them get the skills that they’ve been working on forever it’s really rewarding.

What’s your best memory at the REC?

H.Dean Smith

It’s hard because we have so many great ones. I would probably say, I think it was two winters ago, a big group of us walked to Goggin and went ice-skating during lunch, and Dean was ice-skating and that was great. That’s probably one of the best ones.

How would your colleagues describe you?

I don’t know, probably silly. I would hope they’d say I’m hardworking but I think they’d probably say something towards silly. Fun? I don’t know I handle most of the social things that happen so something around that.

What’s your favorite recreational activity?

Not cardio… Swimming probably, I’ve been a swimmer my whole life and tumbling even though I’m not very coordinated anymore but it would probably be one of those two.

What are you most passionate about?

Helping people succeed. I was ready to fail out of college, I was about to drop out, I hated school.  My mentor totally turned everything around for me, so I’m hoping to be that person, even if it’s just a small thing, being able to help someone. To just have the ability to impact people everyday.

When are you happiest?

When I’m sleeping… probably when I’m home with my husband and my pets hanging out. Or at an alpaca farm!

Do you have a personal philosophy that you live by? 

No, I mean I guess one thing I live by is “find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”, because that’s how I feel here.


Interview by Dania Puente

Student Staff Spotlight on Ian Berg

Ian Berg Class of 2019

Ian Berg is known around the Rec Center as the “Pro-Shop Guru”, he knows the Pro-Shop as well as the back of his hand if not better. He has memorized all product prices as well as all the details. “Wonderful Student Manager, wealth of knowledge. Great problem solver, our go to fix anything”–Jessie Bayer. With five years in the business, Ian tells us a little bit more about how he got here and what he does.

When and how did you become a part of the REC staff?

I began at the start of my junior year of high school, so this is my fifth year here. I started back when reception and fitness were combined, I was in reception and CSS for the first two years and then I trained up to Pro-Shop for another two years and starting this year I am Lead Staff.

What’s a normal workday for you at the Rec?

I guess it really depends on what I’m doing, since I can be Pro-Shop informal or just on Lead Staff shift, every day is a little different.

Do you think this job is preparing you for your future and career?

Yeah, I think so, I think it’s helped me be a little bit more outgoing. It’s made it easier for me to talk to people.

As a student manager here at the Rec, what’s a piece of advice you’d give students seeking your position?

Be ready to help out in any way you’re asked and be flexible with what you’re asked to do.


Interview by Dania Puente

Staff Spotlight on Beth Keith

Beth Keith

Beth Keith is Miami Recreational Center’s new Assistant Director of Customer and Facility Services. She is the person one must see on a Monday morning; her positiveness and enthusiasm brighten everyone’s day and that’s why the marketing team decided to get to know her a little bit better.

When and how did you become a part of the REC staff?

August 21st was my first day, I’ve only been here a few weeks now. I interviewed over the summer and was hired as the Assistant Director of Customer and Facility Services.

What was it about this job that made you chose it?

So many things, the university is amazing. I attended some classes as a student way back in high school and I knew I loved the university, loved the area. I grew up in Ross Ohio, so coming back to this area and to Oxford was definitely appealing to me. And customer service is what I’m good at, is what I thrive in so I love this type of position where I get to use my strengths, especially for recreation, that thrives me too, I love to be active and I love helping to be active and to be involved. So I think there were so many things that made me want to come back.

In this position what do you do?

I’m learning that right now, but currently processing all of the membership; activation, cancellation, enrollment, those type of things. As well as customer service, working with the pro-shop, I think I will be working along with marketing initiatives, SilverSneakers®, I am still wrapping my head around all of those things.

What’s the thing you like the most about the REC?

I think right now because it’s what I’ve had the most exposure and interactions with is the staff, I think we have some awesome staff members, some full-time employees, and students. I think everyone is so wonderful and just add so much to it, it’s not just a gym, by any means it’s so much more than that and within a month or two I already feel super connected and home here.

What’s your best memory at the REC?

Actually, this goes way back. I did an internship here in 2009 and my supervisor at that time took me to the equestrian center and we got to ride horses and I still vividly remember and I absolutely loved it. I think that’s just what we try to encompass here, we’re not just a gym where you lift weights,  we have so many opportunities outside of here, the Outdoor Pursuit Center, the Equestrian Center, Intramurals.

What’s your favorite recreational activity?

I love flag football, I like all the other normal running and walking, love to be outside in general, but I have played flag football as a professional staff for years and I absolutely love flag football.

What are you most passionate about?

I would say… I think trying to make people feel good about themselves in any way, I think I try to embody positivity myself, and I think I try to always bring that out on other people too and to help them feel good. Help with customer service that just goes into making sure everybody is happy, that’s one of my top 5 things with Strengthsquest, is harmony and I want to be an includer.

What’s your life’s biggest dream?

I’ve had so many dreams come true I have two beautiful babies and I moved back home. I think it’s just, personally I want to be a great mom and I want to have my family be happy and successful. Within the professional one, I want to see the facility be successful.

When are you happiest?

Is that a question for me? I’m always happy…when am I happiest? When I’ve just eaten chocolate? It’s a hard question for me. When I’m doing a good job and when I feel needed and successful when I’m working hard.

Do you have a personal philosophy that you live by?

One thing that my husband and I always say is that we’ll make it through, we always do, no matter what challenge comes our way in general, we’ll get through it. It’s always that thing that we try to live by, where we are bigger than any challenge, that ’s something I always try to remember when things get hard.

Interview by Dania Puente

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