When the position for a new recreation director in DeWitt came open, Greg Ludwig didn’t even give it second thought.
The 25-year-old Iowa City native jumped at the chance to apply, and never looked back.
After all, it’s the kind of job he’s been looking for since graduating from the University of Iowa.
Not to mention, the job is in a great community, he said.
Ludwig familiarized himself with the area, thanks to his fiancé, Meg King, who is an English/language arts teacher at Central DeWitt Middle School.
“(We’ve been to) high school plays, coffee shops, homecoming parades, parks, etc.,” he related. “Everywhere I went, everyone was so friendly, and I could see DeWitt is a very close-knit community.”
As an undergraduate, Ludwig majored in elementary education. He then attended grad school (also at the University of Iowa) for sports recreation and management.
The end goal, he said, eventually is to become a parks director.
For now, he said it has been strange to start a new job in this time of COVID. But, Ludwig knows he isn’t the only one trying to navigate the unknown.
“Right now, I am doing my best to keep parents updated on our youth programs and making sure we can hit the ground running if and when Gov. Reynolds allows recreation leagues to continue,” he said. “I am also trying to find new ways for everyone at home to stay active through crafts and games.”
Ludwig created a Social Distance Bingo game that families can learn more about on the DeWitt Parks and Recreation Facebook page. Essentially, a new activity is posted every Wednesday, and once people complete it, they can cross it off their Bingo cards.
Parents can use it to keep their children busy, or to simply have a fun time as a family.
The department also has Instagram and Twitter pages that Ludwig updates.
And, some days, you’ll even find him working at the front desk at the DeWitt Fitness Center.
Other programs, which will be socially-distanced (for which information can be found on Facebook or the DeWitt Parks and Recreation website: parks.cityofdewittiowa.org), that Ludwig is excited about include a “Chopped Junior Christmas Cooking Class” Dec. 19, and “Babysitting for Success” Jan. 23. Spots for both still are available.
Ludwig said he knows DeWitt already offers great programs. His goal is to continue providing quality programs, in addition to offering new options to keep things interesting. Health and safety are his main priorities, so providing programs and leagues that parents can feel comfortable about — and still be fun — is a bit of a challenge.
But since he started his new job just before Thanksgiving on Nov. 20, Ludwig said he feels fortunate to be working so closely with DeWitt Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Lake.
“I get to see how he leads those around him, and I am already learning a lot,” Ludwig shared. “Even since the first day, I’ve been learning from him.”
He also feels lucky to be a part of such a welcoming community.
Ludwig said it is not lost on him how privileged he is to work in a town where everyone is so accepting of one another.
“A couple of years ago, when Meg joined the Central DeWitt School District, I saw her accepted with open arms,” he related. “I kept thinking, ‘That is a special community.’ Now, officially being a part of the community, I see it is exactly as I thought. DeWitt is certainly a place with high expectations, but I think that is the best kind of place to be.
“I think the (parks and recreation) department is surrounded by passionate people; people anyone would be thankful to work with and for. Being on the inside, I see how much time and energy people from the top on down put into the making the department the best it can be, and it really shows.”