Kendall recreation director to retire after 26 years

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 25 June 2015 at 12:00 am

Barb Flow will join the Kendall Town Board in August

KENDALL – Kendall Recreation Director Barb Flow may be retiring at the end of July after 26 years in the position, but she will remain active in Kendall and will serve the community in a new role.

“I’ve always wanted to keep kids busy so they stay out of trouble and get good exercise away from the TV and video games,” Flow said about her career as recreation director. “I love to see all the playing fields with all the different uniform colors.”

Although she is retiring as recreation director, Flow said she will be available to assist her successor in any way she can.

Additionally, Flow will be taking a new roll in town government as a member of the Town Board.

“It will be fine,” she said of the upcoming changes.

Many residents have expressed some concerns about what will happen when she leaves the part-time post, but Flow explains the time is right for her to step aside.

“I have loved this job,” she said. “I love people. I love to work with people. I have very mixed emotions. I will act as a mentor to whomever comes in.”

She said that change will be good as a new person will bring in new ideas to the department.

For Flow, her retirement will open up more time to spend with her five grandchildren and to serve Kendall residents on the Town Board. Flow was recently appointed to fill a vacancy on the board, effective Aug. 1, after she wraps-up her duties as recreation director at the end of July.

When she began working as the recreation director in 1989, there was no office for her at the Town Hall as there is today. She worked out of her home.

“There’s been a lot of changes over the years,” she said.

Flow started many new rec. programs in Kendall including T-ball. She says more kids were enrolled in rec. programs back then – there were 10 minor league teams and three major league teams. Today there is one minor league team, one major league team, and two midget teams.

“The biggest challenge has been enrollment,” she explained. As numbers have declined, Flow has reached out to the neighboring towns of Hamlin and Sweden/Clarkson, helping all municipalities to increase their number of participants and continue to field teams.

“We want to keep up a rapport with surrounding towns to keep everything going,” she says. “I want to be around to help.”

In 2005-2006, Flow started co-ed soccer for ages 3-6. Other rec. programs over the years have included hunter and bow safety, basketball, indoor soccer and open gym.

The town also sponsors a swimming program on Saturdays at a pool at Brockport State College for 6-8 weeks each year.

Flow said she is grateful for all the help and support over the years from the community.

“I worked closely with the school,” Flow said. “They’ve been wonderful, and so has the Town of Kendall and the Kendall and Morton Fire Departments.”

Flow has a sports background. She graduated from Brockport State with a physical education degree and worked as an assistant with the Town of Greece recreation department before she and her husband, Vince, moved to Kendall to raise their three children.

“Kendall is a great place to raise kids,” she said. “I can’t say enough about Kendall, I love the town. My parents taught me to not just live in a community, but to make it your home and be a part of it. They taught me great values.”

She explained that farms and businesses located in the town have been very generous and willing over the years to act as sponsors for the Rec. Department, even if the owners did not have children or grandchildren on various teams.

“They have taken such an interest in the youth,” she said.

Town of Kendall Supervisor Tony Cammarata said Flow has done a great job for the town.

“She is a pillar of the community,” Cammarata said. “We look forward to her taking on different levels of responsibility,” -referencing her upcoming roll as a town board member.

Flow said she has many wonderful memories of her time as rec. director including the baseball parade which was held on the opening day of the season, and the end-of-year picnics for baseball and soccer.

She’s watched over the years as small children started out in sports in her programs, went on to be successful on high school teams, “… and then got college scholarships. Sports opened doors along the way for them,” she said.

Additionally, some of her earliest participants now have their own families and coach some of the Kendall Rec. teams. “It’s pretty awesome,” Flow said.

Flow has been responsible for adult programming as well as youth programming and said another favorite memory is of 4th graders from Kendall Elementary coming to perform the annual holiday concert for senior citizens.

“They sing Christmas carols and play band instruments,” she said.

She will continue her work as a member of the Orleans County Youth Board and was honored her for her work in 2001 with the Helen R. Brinsmaid Memorial Youth Worker Award.

After a new recreation director is selected, Flow said she will do all she can to help that person become acclimated to the duties which have become second-nature to her such as paperwork and vouchers. She will also personally take the new director to meet with her various contacts inside and outside the town to ensure that long-standing rec. programs continue.