Kent Perkins | Enhancing Life through Recreation
From childhood, Kent Perkins enjoyed creating and coordinating events. He recalls that while living in Wyoming as a boy, he organized plays, hockey games, football games, and Friday night slideshows. He even created his own lending library.
Later, after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting, Kent found he could not get a job because he lacked sufficient experience. He felt he had spent his college years studying the wrong subject. “I realized that I had spent most of my younger days planning activities, programs, and parties,“ Kent said.
In 1982 he was hired by the City of St. George to work in the Leisure Services Department.
In the corner of his sparsely decorated office sitting on a plain, cream armchair, Kent explained why he enjoys working with the people of St. George.
“We are a very service-oriented, very volunteer-oriented community,” he said. “We believe in ourselves. I’m not saying that is different from every other community, but it would be hard to find one that is so committed to saying, ‘If it’s got to get done, we’re going to do it.’”
Kent said for years St. George was a bit isolated, which created a do-it-yourself atmosphere. “We may be small, but we don’t think small. We are capable of doing big things,” he said.
Kent pointed to many events that demonstrate this quality, including the St. George Marathon and the Art Festival. Each year, volunteers not only staff these events, but also help lay sod in parks, plant trees around the city, and approach the Parks and Recreation Department with new ideas.
“A lot of things we do happen because the public has great ideas,” Kent explained.
For example, one family approached him with the idea of honoring a deceased ancestor. They donated over 30 acres of land in Little Valley for the purpose.
Soon, Kent and his staff were working on plans for Seegmiller Historical Farm, a working farm open to the community. Plans were drawn up for the original homestead to be recreated, complete with outbuildings, fields, and a large barn.
“The purpose of this facility is to tell the history of agriculture in Washington County,” Kent said.
Other parks and trails have been inspired by the ideas and suggestions of community members. Kent said he enjoys when the community participates in creating new facilities.
“The whole purpose of our department is to enhance the quality of life,” he said. “We want to preserve what’s good in this community and we want to enhance it.”
That purpose has permeated Kent’s life. His love of St. George motivates him to continue coordinating events and planning facilities.