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About Us




The Manistee Recreation Association (MRA) is a 501 (c) (3) non profit organization that was established in 1942, founded by a group of high school youth seeking a place for social gathering. They formed The Recreation Union of Manistee High School and through a petition of over 110 signatures demonstrated that there was a need and demand. The Youth Union was a factor along with the contribution of other individuals and groups that brought the plan of a recreation center to progress. Business men of the town approached City Council to attain part of the Ramsdell Theatre complex in an effort to provide the youth of the community with a location to gather. The Council agreed, and the MRA was born. Equipped with a soda bar and music box, dances became popular on Friday nights after football and basketball games. This provided a safe place for students to socialize outside of school. Over time, the MRA has evolved to offer many recreational activities, focusing on various sports programs. As a result of donations from local municipalities, we continue to thrive.

The MRA is funded by Manistee County, the City of Manistee, local townships (Brown, Filer, Manistee, Bear Lake and Onekama), area business sponsors, and program registration fees. We have participated in many community events and partnered with other local agencies to provide a variety of programs for individuals of all ages. With the support of the City of Manistee and local schools we are able to utilize various facilities in the area for our programs. 

The MRA continues to provide the community youth with a variety of sports and recreation opportunities. Family involvement and learning experiences are crucial components in making MRA programming successful.


Get Involved

For nearly 75 years programs have been delivered to the residents of Manistee County with the help of volunteers. Without their generosity, our staff could not provide as many opportunities to our community.
If you are interested in getting involved with the MRA, there are many ways to do so. We welcome you to contact our office to find out how you can help us continue to thrive.

All of the MRA volunteers agree to a criminal screening prior to their service in our programs.

For more information about how you can volunteer with the MRA, please contact us.

Click the icon on the left to view the 2023 Strategic Plan

Eric Thuemmel, Executive Director
Jody Shoemaker, Program Manager

Kenny Kott: President, Filer Township

Cindy Lundberg: Treasurer, City of Manistee
Eric Ware: Secretary, Bear Lake

Matt Kieffer: Member, Onekama
Deisch: Member, City of Manistee
 Gustad: Member, Manistee Township

Board Meetings
The Board of Directors meets on the third Monday of each month, 5:30PM at the MRA office (with the exception of July). 
Annual Meeting is held in January.  All meetings are subject to the Open Meetings Act and the public is welcome.

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