About Us

In the spring of 2012, the idea of a Bethlehem Parks and Recreation "friends group" grew out of the work of the Town of Bethlehem's citizen budget advisory team. The goal was to form a group to work with the Parks and Recreation Department to improve Bethlehem parks, recreational programming and their usership — by raising funds, organizing volunteers and increasing awareness. A steering committee came together, and in early 2013, Friends of Bethlehem Parks and Recreation, Inc. was organized under the New York State Not-for-profit Corporation Law with an eight-member board of directors. Later that year, the Internal Revenue Service determined that the group is a public charity, tax-exempt pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code. The Friends group is also registered with the Charities Bureau of the Office of the Attorney General of the State of New York.

The Friends board meets in the evening on the second Tuesday of each month at the Elm Avenue Park Administrative Office Building. The meetings are open to the public. Meeting times vary due to room availability and will be posted on the calendar page of this website.


Our Board of Directors

Joan Gavrilik, President
William Reinhardt, Vice President
Alan Lobel, Secretary
Pete deVries, Treasurer
Nan Lanahan, Administrator, Bethlehem Parks and Recreation Department
Mary Lyn Koval
Kim Phelan
Justin Ramson


Our Mission

Friends of Bethlehem Parks and Recreation is a collaborative partner with the Town of Bethlehem Parks and Recreation Department, working to protect, enhance and expand its recreation activities and parks to improve the quality of life for all residents.


We Believe

We believe that vibrant parks and outstanding recreation activities are essential to the high quality of life in our community. We believe that quality parks and recreation activities improve the health and cultural well-being of our residents and increase the Town’s value as a community and its economic competitiveness.


Our Guiding Principles

The Friends of Bethlehem Parks and Recreation…

  • is an enabler for bringing new resources – funding, volunteers and stewards – to the Town of Bethlehem Parks and Recreation Department, as well as help to market and promote its activities.
  • is a conduit for ideas and feedback from residents, park patrons and program participants. We will solicit public input and will identify best practices and ideas from other governmental and non-governmental entities.
  • is a champion of making parks and recreation resources available to all residents, regardless of age, income or other factors. We will ensure that the activities we support represent all segments of our community.
  • is a convener for bringing diverse groups together to explore shared resources, cost savings and other efficiencies.

If you wish to contribute to the work of this organization, we welcome your participation. Please contact us.