Category Archives: December 2013

LBWA–Preserving History

Photo Courtesy Of Carol Highsmith

Editor’s Note: This column, “LBWA” (Leadership By Wandering Around), is based on the premise that, in order to find out what’s going on in the field, a parks and rec leader has to leave his or her desk and “wander around” the area of operations, talk to people, ask questions, and kick around ideas with the individuals in the thick of delivering services to the public. So the author will bring up issues and ask the leaders among the readership … Continue reading

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Appetite Or Appearances

Vending machines wrapped with the FitArlington logo make them easier to identify as healthy food choices. Photo Courtesy Of Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation

The push to encourage patrons to make healthier choices has trickled all the way down to the vending machines that used to supply Snickers, M&Ms, and Doritos in recreation centers. And while most would say that residents are thrilled at the prospect of being able to choose healthier snacks, is this really being done so in practice? The responses are as mixed as the food choices in the machines.  “The community loved the idea that we were doing healthy vending … Continue reading

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Arm The Front Lines

Photo: © Can Stock Photo Inc. / Goodluz

There is perhaps nothing as fundamental for parks and recreation organizations as customer service. Let’s face it, those who give only minimum attention to this aspect will soon suffer the consequences.  Interestingly, engaging an organization’s front-line staff to deliver on this customer strategy has never been more difficult to implement, especially during periods when sales or participation numbers decline.  Putting power, resources, and trust in the hands of front-line personnel allows managers to deal with other situations that arise on … Continue reading

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Clean, Sanitize, Or Disinfect

Photos Courtesy Of Kaivac

As winter approaches, many parks and recreation centers have concerns about possible flu or virus outbreaks. For example, during the winter of 2012-2013, a serious flu outbreak occurred, and the vaccine available at the time was only about 60 percent effective.*  Typically, when there is an outbreak in a school or public facility, managers increase both cleaning frequency and intensity—at least for a while. In fact, sometimes increases in cleaning even go overboard. For example, when the SARS epidemic hit … Continue reading

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Changing Course

Photo Courtesy Of NAYS

For more than 30 years, Jere Gunderman was perfectly happy with his retail and customer-service job in the private sector. But then one night 12 years ago, a television program changed his thinking—and his life. While watching an HBO Real Sports segment examining adult violence at youth sporting events, Gunderman was stunned by what he saw, and was inspired to do something about it. “This program was my wake-up call as to what was happening in youth sports,” Gunderman says. … Continue reading

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