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Mar 04

JCPRD U Kids Triathlon and aquatics staff member Bernadette Wagner receive honors

Posted on March 4, 2019 at 10:30 AM by Becky Burnside

The JCPRD U Kids Triathlon in Partnership with Charlie's House has been honored as an Outstanding New or Innovative Wellness Program, while JCPRD longtime aquatics staff member Bernadette Wagner was honored separately with a Lifetime Sportswoman Award from Win for KC. 

The Outstanding New or Innovative Wellness Program award was presented to Special Events Coordinator Katy Renner during the Kansas Recreation and Park Association’s Annual Conference, which took place Feb. 5 through 7 in Hutchinson. 

In her nomination of the event, Renner notes that the JCPRD U Kids Triathlon in Partnership with Charlie's House is a USA Triathlon sanctioned event  for youth ages 14 and under, and has the goal of getting kids involved in one of the nation's fastest growing sports while developing healthy exercise habits that will last a lifetime. For the 2018 event, an age group was added which allows athletes ages five and under to compete with an adult and experience the joy of crossing the finish line. 

The event has teamed up with Charlie's House, a nonprofit which focuses on preventing injuries to children in and around the home. By partnering for this event, Charlie's House is able to focus on water and bike safety while also continuing to spread their message to athletes, parents, and other event sponsors. 

It’s this partnership with Charlie's House that makes this event stand out. 

“Charlie's House has taken a national stance on keeping kids safe and has found a great platform with this youth triathlon,” Renner wrote. “They are able to educate parents and athletes alike on the dangers of swimming, biking, and running and educate them on ways to be safe. Charlie's House has also helped us facilitate training opportunities for the athletes to get them acclimated and give them a safe opportunity for swim training in the open water.”

The triathlon is run solely on revenue generated from participant fees and sponsorship dollars, while Charlie's House focuses on fundraising via sponsorships for the race. 

Safe Kids Johnson County, which has a mission of  keeping kids safe, is a partner of Charlie’s House and has also been part of the triathlon for the past two years.  Although most kids who attend and participate in the triathlon come with a bike helmet (USAT requirement), Safe Kids Johnson County also brings additional bike helmets to the event for the athlete's siblings and gives them away for free. 

In addition, because the triathlon is the final event in the Midwest Youth Triathlon Series, this event connects multiple triathlon host communities across the metro to champion youth wellness at other events presented by the triathlon club TRiKC, the Jewish Community Center, and the City of Ottawa. The collaboration of these partners truly impacts children’s health.

For 2019, Charlie’s House is transitioning their relationship to the HP3, a 5K, 10K and 15K event to expand their reach to children and adults by partnering with JCPRD and Let Me Run, a national boys running program.  

Head Lifeguard Bernadette Wagner, who has been a longtime JCPRD employee at the Roeland Park Aquatic Center and a Shawnee Mission high school gymnastics coach, was honored at the recent 2019 Win for KC Women’s Sports Award Celebration. She received the UMB Lifetime Sportswoman Award, which  is presented each year to a local woman age 55 or older who demonstrates outstanding leadership qualities, encourages participation of girls and women in sports, and who still engages in athletics. 

Wagner began coaching gymnastics for the Shawnee Mission School District in 1973. She retired in 2004, but returned in 2006 to serve as assistant coach for her former student, Jennie Terflinger, the head coach of gymnastics for Shawnee Mission South and Shawnee Mission East high schools. 

To view a Win for KC video about Wagner coaching pole vaulting, go to

Wagner first worked for JCPRD as a pool manager at the former Tomahawk Recreation Center Pool in Shawnee in 1978, and has been working for the district at RPAC for the past twelve years. She has had various job titles including lifeguard/manager, water safety instructor and a water exercise instructor. She will be working at the RPAC this summer after it opens for the season on Memorial Day weekend.