The NC Recre8'er - is the Blog for NC Recreation and Parks Professionals. We will feature posts from NCRPA members and staff about all the latest news, insights and tips in our field and around the state. Topics will include but are not limited to: Health and Wellness, Outdoor Recreation, Athletics, Advocacy, Aquatics, Therapeutic Recreation, Special Events, Marketing, Parks and Greenways, Cultural Resources and more! If you are interested in being a guest blogger please contact Matt at NCRPA Matt@ncrpa.net or 919-832-5868.
The opinions of The NC Recre8'er (NCRPA) blog contributors don't necessarily reflect the editorial position of North Carolina Recreation and Park Association as a whole.
Posted By Meredith Batchelor, Special Events Coordinator, Town of Stallings,
Thursday, June 20, 2019
Making a Statement
Everyone wants to make a statement, everyone wants to make a name for themselves. Why is it that we always feel the need to prove ourselves? For me, it came with my age and how I looked. Getting a middle management position right out of college is a fantastic accomplishment for some. I was ecstatic that I had been offered a position as the Recreation Manager for a department. What I soon found out was that no one wanted to listen to a 22-year-old kid right out of college, especially one that looked like she was 16 on a good day and “wasn’t from around these parts.” I faced a lot of challenges when it came to that, no one knew by looking at me that I had graduated from college with a degree in the field and no one knew that I had worked so hard to get to where I was.
Fast forward to today and that still is ringing true. I started as the Special Event Coordinator with the Town of Stallings in July of 2018. This was a brand new position created for the town, so I felt as though even though no one had held the position previously, that I still had some big shoes to fill. I constantly am pushing myself to work harder so that everything I produce for the department can be the absolute best. I will beat myself up internally if something doesn’t go exactly as planned.
It’s not a bad thing to expect and seek perfection, for some it’s a good goal to set, especially as event planners. By nature, event planners are organized and consistent, hitting everything on a checklist and exceeding expectations is how we feel the job is done. I do know now after bringing new events and ideas to the town that I can step back and know I’ve done a good job. As Parks and Recreation professionals, our priority is the people. Special Events is how I can provide for the people and the community I serve. I make sure to take the time out of the event to talk to families that are there. I want to make sure they’re having a good time and the event is everything that they expected. I’ve also gotten a lot of good ideas as well as vendor contacts from talking with the community members. By doing this, I’m also setting up a relationship and a reputation. By being so young in the field, it’s important to build those relationships to carry on with me throughout my career.
For anyone who is also a young professional, don’t be afraid to step up. Take the challenge, ask questions, and be present! Make sure you’re creating those lasting relationship, who knows who you may be needing to call on years from now.
About the Author
Meredith Batchelor is the Special Events Coordinator for the Town of Stallings Parks and Recreation Department. Meredith received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Community and Therapeutic Recreation from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2015 where she concentrated in Community Recreation and Special Events and minored in Political Science. Prior to her time in Stallings, Meredith worked in recreation with the Walt Disney World Resort before becoming the Recreation Manager in Boiling Spring Lakes, NC. She has had a passion for the field since becoming a camp counselor at the age of 16 and loves that she can bring that passion to her position in Stallings.
Meredith can be contacted at email@example.com or 704-821-8557.
Kendrick Mayes, Garner and Jay Tryon, Indian Trail discuss the 2014 NRPA Annual Conference in the above video blog interview from NRPA.
Viva Las Vegas! This year, the National Recreation and Park Association will celebrate their 50th Anniversary in the exciting city of Las Vegas. For students and young professionals, this year is not only memorable for the significance of the association celebrating 50 years, but also because of the location. However, with limited department funds how can a young professional ensure that they are able to attend NRPA Congress? #Scholarships! That’s right, applying for scholarships through NRPA and NCRPA can help you partially or even completely fund your trip. As a first-time attendee and young professional at the 2014 NRPA Congress in Charlotte, North Carolina, I was fortunate to receive the National Recreation and Park Association Student Scholarship and the National Recreation and Park Association Ethnic Minority Society Scholarship which fully covered my conference registration, travel, lodging and meals.
As the Marketing and Events Coordinator for the Garner Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department I used a portion of my scholarships to attend the pre-congress workshop Brand+Aid Marketing Institute. Attending this session has helped tremendously with my professional development because I was able to sharpen my current marketing skills and also implement new techniques on the job to make the department better.
Before I attended the NRPA Congress, I remember reading an article at North Carolina Central University written by Ms. Tiffany Johnson from the DC Department of Parks and Recreation about the importance of networking and doing your research before attending Congress. I’m glad she wrote the article because in order to be successful at Congress you definitely need a game plan. The game plan should include options on which sessions you plan to attend, which networking events you plan to sit in on and also what you would like to gain from attending. Before I left for Congress, my Town of Garner business cards had not arrived yet, so I got creative in printing my own cards to pass out after sessions. This proved to be a wise decision, because the worst thing that can happen to a young professional is for them to attend a great session, ask questions, interact with the speakers and the moment comes to exchange contact information and the young professional does not have any business cards.
Along with my NRPA scholarships , I was also able to receive the North Carolina Recreation and Park Scholarship Foundation Fletcher Graduate Scholarship. I used the funds to towards covering additional educational expenses in my journey as a young parks and recreation leader here in NC. I strongly encourage my fellow young professionals to apply for the various scholarships that are available. This money is dedicated to helping professionals ( LIKE YOU!) to continue their education so they can advance in the field. Even if you feel like your resume or your community involvement doesn't compare to someone else, you would be surprised at how many people miss out on scholarships all because they did not take the initiative to apply.
Additionally, I would encourage all young professionals to consider getting involved with networking opportunities, whether it’s a group here in our state with NCRPA or nationally with the NRPA Young Professional Network, NRPA Ethnic Minority Society Network, the NRPA Administrators Network. By doing this, not only do they stay current on receiving scholarships, but they are also in the know about opportunities within the field.
Looking for opportunities to attend the NRPA Congress in Las Vegas? Here are some options: http://buff.ly/1bEQ5cZ
“Things don't have to change the world to be important.” (Steve Jobs). I recently saw this quote and thought about NCRPA. We made an investment in you and NCRPA during 2014 by asking you as members of our profession what you needed from NCRPA. You spoke and we listened. And now we are implementing change in our membership packages. These changes are not going to change the world, but they are important. Important to current and future members, and important to the vitality of NCRPA.
Beginning in July, NCRPA’s agency membership will have a different look. This revised Agency membership is designed to allow and encourage everyone who works in a parks and recreation agency to be a member of NCRPA. The Agency package will include all full-time employees, along with citizen board members, local elected and appointed officials and managers. Individual members will still have their same benefits, but now included with this package will be unlimited Career Connection postings, the ability to add or renew membership by one staff person with one invoice/payment, the ability to have one staff person register multiple individuals for conferences and workshops with one invoice/payment, SWAC Tournament participation, eligibility for agency awards such as Arts and Humanities and the Innovative Program Award, the opportunity to apply for grants through NCRPA partnerships (such as healthy equipment grant $100,000, Nourishing NC $300,000) and the opportunity for an agency profile in NCRPA NEWS magazine.
The fees for the Agency package are based on permanent full-time employees and varies with the size of the agency (see details). Every attempt was made to find a model that was equitable to agencies of varying sizes. Yes, some agencies may be paying more and some will be paying less when we switch from the paying a flat fee per person model we have used since the inception of NCRPA. We have been sharing this information with department directors since it was finalized and hopefully many agencies were able to make adjustments their FY 15-16 budgets. The individual membership is still available for those that deem this their best option for $65.
We also revised the Commercial membership package to be for an individual or for a business that wants to include all of their sales team or staff as NCRPA members. For our colleges and universities, we have a packaged membership that includes the faculty/staff and students. Students who attends a university that has not purchased a College/University package can purchase an individual student membership for $10.
Other than changing the membership year for everyone to July 1 – June 30, there were no changes other to our retired membership.
Updated technology has made these changes to our membership opportunities possible. And with technology there can be challenges. We will be implementing the changes, testing them and then releasing these new options on a staggered calendar. We want this transition to be as seamless as possible for you, the member, and us in the NCRPA office. We appreciate your patience and assistance during this process.
Your NCRPA Board of Directors and staff are excited about this opportunity. We look forward to hearing from you during the process and we hope you will encourage others in your department that may not be NCRPA members to join – especially if you have the agency package. If you have questions about this important change, please let me know.
Thanks for all you do to support the profession as a member of NCRPA
Posted By Colleen Dougherty, Graduate Assistant - NC Recreation & Park Association,
Monday, January 12, 2015
The beginning of a new year is a great time to create new programs and ideas for the upcoming year. Today’s blog focuses on how to improve your department’s health by creating an employee wellness program. What exactly is an employee wellness program? An employee wellness program, also called a “worksite wellness program,” is a program designed to promote and support the health, safety, and well-being of employees. Establishing an employee wellness program is a motivating way to start off the New Year promoting unity and healthy choices within your department.
Why develop an employee wellness programs? A wellness program has many positive attributes such as improving staff health, morale and productivity. Also supporting the staff to make healthy lifestyle choices will encourage them to be role models for the community.
What are some components of an employee wellness program? Some components include providing wellness newsletters, health risk assessments, health screenings, workshops on wellness issues, walking or running groups, health fairs, physical activity breaks, and fitness classes. Other incentives to remain healthy include: water bottles, insulated lunch bags, stress balls or cookbooks! Employees may have other ideas in your department, so ask around!
The next step is knowing how to start an employee wellness program. Here are some of the basic steps to getting a program started: (More resources can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/ogxjrgw
1.Contact Human Resources to see if a program exists and how it can be implemented in your department, or how they can assist you in starting one.
2.Develop a staff advisory committee to coordinate and plan the program.
3.Conduct a needs and resources assessment. Determining employee needs, interests, concerns and schedules will help outline the structure of the wellness program.
4.Develop program components and activities based on findings of the needs assessment.
5.Include incentives to encourage employee participation.
6.Notify employees of the program through flyers, e-mails, payroll stuffers, and posters.
7.Implement the program.
8.Evaluate the program!
This is just one of many ideas for healthy living programs to create during the upcoming year. Our upcoming webinar will focus on another 8 program ideas for 2015 conducted by NCRPA on January 28th, 11:30am; Register here: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/171568608.
It comes at different times of the year for all of us: the season where we need 30 hours in a day. The time of the year when it doesn't seem possible that we are doing so much yet still keeping our sanity. How do we stay organized when our plates are so full? Below is a short list of tips to help you through your busy season:
1. Start early. It’s always something we intend to do, but it really does help. Even if it’s something small. Nothing beats opening a folder for an upcoming program and seeing that it already contains a list of necessary improvements, along with an updated registration form.
2. Create to-do lists. Start one for each program, and then make one each week (or even daily, if you’d prefer). Update as often as necessary. This will help give you a good idea of what tasks you’re up against, and you’ll be able to consciously balance your workload. Plus, doesn’t it feel amazing to cross something off a to-do list?
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Face it, you are going to need it at one point or another. Your busy season may not be so crazy for one of your co-workers. So ask! You’ll be able to return the favor one day! Bonus: it will give them insight on what you do on a daily basis.
4. Keep an organized office and desk. Think about it—if you walk into your office in the morning and see nothing but chaos, that’s most likely the mode your brain will function in all day. Stop and take a minute at the end of every day and clean things up a bit. This way, you won’t lose that to-do list that you worked so hard on—everything important is right there, reminding you it needs to be attended to.
5. Take time to regroup. This applies to you and your work duties. Every few days, take a look at the to-do lists you created in step 2 and re-evaluate. It will make you feel better to see that you’re actually getting things done. As for you—you can’t function at your most efficient capacity if you aren’t taking some time here and there to regroup. Take five minutes and meditate. Make sure you’re taking a lunch break. Have a good laugh. Whatever it is, just make sure you aren’t constantly under stress.
This list is by no means comprehensive. Some of you may have other tips and tricks to get by. We’d love to hear your ideas, be sure to share them on social media or via email with NCRPA! Good luck to everyone tackling their busy season right now!