After almost 30 years employed as the town of Manlius recreation director, Steve Miles has retired.
He'll miss it all, he said about his longtime career, from supervising special events, sports camps and staff to working with all aspects of the budget. The best part of the job, though, was the ability to be creative and see firsthand the fruits of their labor.
"It's great to see the smiles on both children and adults when they are enjoying one of our programs," he said.
Under Miles' leadership, the department accomplished long-lasting, successful events such as the community center haunted house that ran from 2000 to 2007. The Learn to Swim program held at Green Lakes State Park offers opportunities for area youth to learn swimming skills in a beach front setting.
The annual summer musical is a consistent hit, too.
"There is some amazing talent in this town," said Miles, whose last day was Dec. 28. "And I don't know of another municipality that offers this type of theater event. It's something we're very proud of." In the 1980's, the department expanded one small summer playground that served about 40 children at Fremont Elementary School, to three sites throughout town. Now, more than 500 children each year enjoy these spots.
Peggy Kenyon, recreation supervisor who succeeds Miles as director, worked with him for 17 years.
"His main goal [has] always [been] to serve the public and provide them with quality programs that helped improve their enjoyment of life," Kenyon said. "He [knows] the value of recreation in a person's life no matter what their age."
Miles is a also true professional, she added.
He served on both the Central New York Recreation and Park Society and the New York State Recreation and Park Society, and co-chaired two of the NYSRPS conferences.