A U.S. health organization recognizes a valuable asset when it sees one, that’s why a Montrose native was nominated last week for one of its most prestigious awards.
Erin Been (nee Rhodes) is one of 50 people from across the United States nominated for the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition (PCFSN) Community Leadership Award.
“I am honored to be recognized,” said Been in an email from Minden, Nev. “I do have a passion for community engagement in physical activity. I plan and host many activities throughout the year both at my school and in the community – and that is what this award recognizes.”
The community leadership award is given out annually to individuals who improve the lives of others in his or her community by providing or enhancing opportunities to engage in sports, physical activities, fitness, or nutrition-related programs.
Been was raised in Montrose where she excelled in athletics and eventually received a full double scholarship in softball and volleyball to Washburn University in Topeka, Kan.
“I’m impressed but I’m not really surprised that she’d achieve such an award,” said Been’s father Richard Rhodes. “It happens to her all the time.”
Indeed, this is not the first time the P.E. and health teacher has received kudos. She was recently named a National Champion for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, her school achieved the Bronze level. Been accepted the award from former President Bill Clinton in Little Rock, Ark. and earlier this year she was named the South West District’s educator of the year from the American Association for Health P.E.
Recreation and Dance.
After teaching in Las Vegas for 10 years, Been realized that the bright lights of Vegas was not for her, so seven years ago, she moved with her husband and three children to Minden, a small community outside of Carson City, Nev. The 39-year-old teaches at Carson High School where she is also the varsity volleyball coach.
“I loved growing up in a small community,” said Been. “I was just talking with my dad about the way we couldn’t wait for the snow to melt to ride our bike, and how in Montrose we all rode our bikes everywhere.
“We would round up kids at night and play tag, or 500 up at the ball field. We had a community pool in our back yard and mountains to hike and explore all around us . . . I lived in Las Vegas for 10 years and realized I did not want my kids growing up in a big city. I wanted to expose them to the lifestyle I grew up with.”
Been was nominated for the PCFSN award because of her commitment to health and, specifically, for organizing and implementing a series of hugely successful family fitness nights.
But the J. L. Crowe grad comes by her dedication to health, fitness, and family honestly.
“A big influence in my life was and is my mom and dad. They were both really good role models always participating with us and encouraging us to have fun while being active.”
Rhodes still runs girls fastball clinics with Brian Pipes at the Willi Krause Fieldhouse and helped coach the Trail Thundercats girls softball team to the World Series in Illinois in 2004.
Been also points to her sister Shannon and her J. L. Crowe high school P.E. teacher Mr. (Glen) Caputo as integral to her success.
“He was a family friend, and a teacher of mine. I always looked up to him because he participated with us, running the bridges, to the Y and challenged us in class to do better than him. For that I appreciate him, as I teach high school kids with a similar passion and style.”
The winners will be announced May 1.