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Karen Schrieber Earns Highest Award from PRPS

by Muhlenberg Parks & Recreation Department

Mar 27, 2024

Ken Lehr, PRPS President, and Karen Schreiber, Director of Parks & Recreation for Muhlenberg Township.

The Outstanding Achievement Award is the highest award presented by the PA Recreation & Park Society (PRPS) and is named in Honor of Fred Coombs, one of the founders of the PRPS, and recognizes the efforts of a professional to increase the awareness and importance of the parks and recreation profession.

This year’s recipient is a local to Berks County, Karen Schrieber of the Muhlenberg Township Parks & Recreation Department. Karen earned her degree from Slippery Rock University and began her professional career working for Cameron County Parks and Recreation in 1984, and then became the director of the Steelton-Highspire Recreation Commission in 1985. In the 1990s, she worked as director of parks & recreation for Exeter Township and executive director for the Downingtown Area Recreation Consortium. In 2001, she began her 20+ year career at Muhlenberg Township, first as recreation program supervisor and, ultimately, as director of parks & recreation since 2022.

During Karen’s 40-year career, she was very dedicated to the communities she served. She has left an indelible mark on parks and recreation in Muhlenberg Township, showing her dedication to the profession and residents through her tireless efforts to improve the parks and the program offerings. Through her efforts, Karen has strengthened partnerships with local service groups and private entities that support and volunteer at these recreational facilities and programs.

Over the last 10 years, there has been a shift from traditional community programming to offering larger-scale events as Muhlenberg has become a major contributor to tourism and economic benefit in Berks County. In 2016, Karen was on the committee that was instrumental in bringing The Moving Wall to Muhlenberg, a ½-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. This event was open 24 hours a day for five days straight and became the most memorable and meaningful event that she had ever been a part of. Karen is the driving force behind major special events such as RiverFest, Spring Fiesta, and the Haunted Hollow Hay Ride and Barn, which have become regional attractions and annually draws thousands of participants to the Muhlenberg Park system. In 2007, Karen was on the committee for the Master Site plan for Jim Dietrich Park, the township’s 120-acre flagship park where most of these large events occur.

Karen has had a tremendous legacy within PRPS since becoming a member in 1984, serving on six different conference committees and twice performing as the co-chair of the program committee. She has held various leadership positions within the community branch and was a member of the Recognition and Awards Committee for 25 years. She has received numerous Excellence in Programming Awards on behalf of her department over the course of her career and was the recipient of the Society’s Distinguished Member Award in 2009.

In her nomination, a colleague stated, Karen is a shining example to her friends and colleagues, showing her dedication to the profession and township residents through her tireless efforts to improve and enhance the parks and recreation opportunities in her community.What better words to describe the recipient of the PA Recreation and Parks Society’s highest honor?

Another local park and recreation professional also won an award at the PRPS conference held at Seven Springs from March 12-15. That person is Cathy Wegener, Director of Berks County Parks & Recreation Department. Cathy won the Distinguished Member Award in Honor of Robert Griffith. Cathy has been with the Berks County Department for 43 years.

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