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Missie Kohlbeck returns to work at Rambling River Center

Missie Kohlbeck settles back into her old job as senior activities coordinator at the Rambling River Center. She replaces Nicole Gorman who took a job in Edina. (RiverTown Multimedia photo by Deanna Weniger)1 / 2
Nicole Gorman2 / 2

Nicole Gorman, senior activities coordinator for the Rambling River Center for almost three years, has taken a job at the Edina Senior Center as a recreation supervisor.

"While at the Rambling River Center I had the opportunity to expand my knowledge base in the field of parks and recreation which lead me to my new opportunity with the city of Edina. Without the experiences I've learned while at the RRC this move wouldn't have been possible. For that I am very grateful," she said.

Randy Distad, director of Farmington Parks and Recreation, said Gorman left on good terms.

"She did a great job over there. She started several new programs that the members really latched onto," he said.

Gorman's name had come up in a few city council meetings in 2015 when the seniors opposed the city's decision to cut her part-time helper, even stalling the budget in order to work out a compromise. The 20-hour-a-week employee, Shelley Beard, now spends 16 hours at the center, and the rest of her time at another job at city hall.

"I will sincerely miss working with my co-workers, Randy Distad and RRC members," Gorman said. "I hope not to be a stranger and to still drop in every now and then."

The seniors won't have much adjusting to do to for Gorman's replacement.

Missie Kohlbeck, who'd had the job before Gorman, has come back to her old job after working as the recreation specialist for the Parks and Rec department.

Kohlbeck said in 2014 she felt she'd needed a change. She'd been doing the same job for 18 years. But after being away from the senior center, she began to miss the people.

"I'm excited to be back," she said. "I enjoy the senior population very much."

As a recreation specialist, her clients came and went. She missed the deeper connection that comes after spending a lot of time with the same people.

Recently she was invited to attend the funeral of a friend she'd gotten to know at the center. As she looked at the photo collage put together by family members, many of the pictures were of her friend enjoying programs she'd organized at the center.

"I thought, wow, I impacted somebody's life. And she impacted me too," Kohlbeck said.

She had taken her new job before Rambling River Center had opened in its current location on Oak Street. So, while she said returning to her old job felt like coming home, the home has changed, and she has some catching up to do.

She's ready to get started and already has some ideas for an Elvis party in January.

Blanche Reichert, a member of the center's advisory board, said they were very happy with Gorman and thrilled to get Kohlbeck back.

"It's a win-win situation for all," she said.