Already strong Lovell Rec and BOCES programs growing under Hoffmann

David Peck


Lovell Community Education merged with BOCES


Ashley Hoffmann had big shoes to fill when she assumed the duties of director of the Lovell Recreation District and Lovell Community Education, replacing the retiring Rhonda Savage just under a year ago.

Over the previous 21-plus years, Savage built and strengthened the program, providing recreation and educational opportunities to youth and adults alike. Hoffmann started in March of 2021, training with Savage for a couple of weeks and continuing on with veteran rec district secretary Betty Hill.

One of Hoffmann’s goals since assuming the reins has been to modernize, organize and streamline the programming. Last summer, with Hoffmann’s blessing, School District No. 2 merged Lovell Community Education with the Board of Cooperative Educational Services -- BOCES. The merger “just made sense,” Hoffmann said, in that both were education programs.

 BOCES operates in conjunction with Northwest College and is funded by a mill levy. It runs programs like driver’s education and swimming lessons, as well as workshops, classes and “any education themed activities,” Hoffmann said.

The BOCES board is composed of School District No. 2 Supt. Doug Hazen (non-voting), District Two board members Deb Fink, Rebecca Moncur and Danny Jolley and NWC Board of Trustees members Dusty Spomer and John Housel. Jolley is the chairman.

Hazen agreed that merging BOCES with community education made sense, noting that the move has simplified funding. He said it was complex when there were three functions but two funding sources, with BOCES and community ed essentially playing the same role. The merger simplified things.

The Lovell Recreation District organizes and promotes physical activities for both youths and adults, activities like gymnastics, basketball, softball, flag and tackle football, volleyball, pup wrestling and more.

Lovell Rec board members are Hazen, Marianne Grant, Gretchen Walker, Jason Sumaya, Doug Savage, Oliver Mitchell and Carol Miller. Mitchell is the chairman.

Hoffmann’s other major task since taking over was moving Lovell Rec and BOCES into the building just south of Lovell Elementary School that was being used by School District Two for storage. Known by some as the old LHS ag shop and by others as the junior high art room, the north end of the building has been remodeled into new offices and a meeting room for Hoffmann’s programs. She and Hill made the move into the new office just last week, moving from a small office at Lovell Middle School.

Hoffmann said the remodeling project has been in the works for years and got rolling about three years ago under the guidance of district facilities director Jason Jolley. Hazen said the move was made while he was working as a principal in Montana, but he believes the decision was a good one.

“Between Jason and Dr. (Rick) Woodford, they made the decision,” he said. “With Recreation in the middle school and two of them (staff members) together in the office, it was tight. For all of us and the vision of what we want to see for Recreation and BOCES, they needed their own space and better access for parents and those who want to sign up.”

Hazen said the remodeling has taken some time. The project was beset by electrical problems in 2020 that required a lot of “back and forth” with the State of Wyoming, he said. Once that problem got rectified, COVID-19 delays and supply chain issues with equipment and supplies slowed the project.

“We thought we would be in by July of 2021,” Hazen said. “It turned out really, really nice. Everything was delayed, but we made it.”

The new facility includes a spacious front office, long counter for registration, a break room, restroom and conference room for board meetings.


Hoffmann said the programs operated so well under Savage that only minor changes in programming have been made.

“We haven’t really taken anything away per se,” she said. “We got a new website and are filtering all registrations through the website and almost eliminating phone registrations. But if someone doesn’t have computer access, they can come in to register or call in.

“We’re trying to reduce paper, and registering online also facilitates the immediate signing of waivers, which saves me the time of chasing people down. It gives the option of paying online, too.”

Hoffmann said she and the rec board have been able to plan the entire year of programming in advance, which has been a big help.

“We didn’t add too many new programs, though we tweaked a few in 2021,” she said. “This year we plan to add some programs like an adult cornhole league starting in May, and we’re bringing back the triathlon this summer. We added a speed camp (for runners) last summer.

“We did adult gymnastics in January, and I want to have a water Easter egg hunt in April where people dive for eggs in the pool in conjunction with an outside hunt for younger kids. The details are tentative. I also want to do something related to pumpkins in October – carving or painting.”

Hoffmann said she’s open for suggestions and recommendations for programs.

“I’m open to any ideas someone comes up with,” she said. “Tell us. We’re more than willing to try anything if we have the manpower.”

As for BOCES, some of the ideas include a ladies teen (13-19) self-defense course taught by the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Dept., a program that could be expanded to other age groups and to boys or men. BOCES also plans to bring back a hunter safety course in March or April. An adult welding course will be taught by LHS ag teacher Nicholas Edelman in April.

Hoffmann wants to also try a youth adventure club this summer once a week offering “fun educational experiences” in the area.

“During the summer we get very hectic,” she said. “I hope the new website and year plan will make it smoother.”

For more information, people may go on the internet to or call the office at 548-6466. The email address is, and Hoffmann can also be reached on the rec district cell phone at 307-254-7461.

The office is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Hoffmann urges people to call first in case she or Hill are out of the office.