July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 14

WE ARE PARKS AND RECREATION
Beyond the Desk
The pivotal role of hands-on leadership
By Robert Carmona
I
t was a dream come true when I first became a director in Gilbert,
Arizona. Gilbert had a special place in my heart before it ever became
home. Early in my career, I had the pleasure of becoming a director
in the fantastic small western town of Wickenburg, Arizona. My wife
and I loved living in Wickenburg, and when it was time to start our family,
the hospital and doctor we chose were an hour-and-a-half drive away
in Gilbert. Every week we made that drive, and every time we arrived in
Gilbert it was a community in which we felt engaged and inspired. When
I first took the position in Gilbert, I dove head-first into being involved in
every aspect of the department. I attended every special event, joined in on
programs, and spent valuable time with the facilities and park maintenance
staff, building a connected and cohesive culture.
Then something happened. Five
years passed, and our team remained
connected and cohesive,
but one team member needed to be
more present. I was more of an observer,
emailing thanks instead of
being there in person. The staff did
not complain; they were always incredibly
supportive. It did not feel
natural - it was not being true to
the leadership fundamentals that I
built my career on. Then there was
a week where, amid endless emails,
retreats and night meetings, I realized
I was missing what made me
want to be a director in the first
place. I needed the opportunity to
authentically connect and create
opportunities and change for the
staff and the community I serve.
Take,
for
example,
the
Gilbert
Days Festival. This event isn't just a
line item in a budget or a date on a
calendar; it's a tapestry of community
spirit woven together by shared experiences.
As leaders, our presence at
such events isn't merely ceremonial;
it's a powerful statement of support
and solidarity with our teams and the
community we serve. These moments
allow us to connect with individuals
from diverse backgrounds, each with
their own stories and experiences.
Working alongside maintenance
staff or helping with program preparations
is about more than understanding
the logistical aspects of our
operations. It breaks down hierarchical
barriers and cultivates a culture
of inclusivity and teamwork.
In the ever-evolving world of community
recreation and park management,
the role of a leader extends
far beyond strategic planning and
administrative
duties. The significance
of putting down the laptop and
stepping into the field cannot be overstated.
These actions also remind us
of why we chose this profession. It's
not just about managing spaces and
programs; it's about enriching lives
and strengthening communities. By
actively participating in the initiatives
we oversee, we gain invaluable insights
into what works, what doesn't
and what can be improved. It's about
being present, involved and connected.
As we immerse ourselves in these
experiences, we don't just lead; we become
an integral part of the community's
fabric, creating a stronger, more
vibrant and more connected society.
Leaders' presence at events is a
powerful statement of support and
solidarity with their teams and the
communities they serve.
14 Parks & Recreation | JULY 2 0 2 4 | PARK S ANDRECRE AT ION . OR G
SEE ALSO: " When My Job Became
My Career, " Jim O'Connell, Parks &
Recreation, February 2024, Vol. 59,
Iss. 2, tinyurl.com/4am9ypfd.
Robert Carmona is Parks and
Recreation Director at Gilbert, Arizona
(robert.carmona@gilbertaz.gov).
PHOTO COURTESY OF GILBERT (ARIZONA) PARKS AND RECREATION
http://tinyurl.com/4am9ypfd

July 2024 – Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of July 2024 – Parks & Recreation

July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - Intro
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - Cover1
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - Cover2
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 1
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 2
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 3
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 4
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 5
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 6
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 7
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 8
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 9
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 10
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 11
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 12
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 13
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 14
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 15
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 16
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 17
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 18
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 19
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 20
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 21
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 22
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 23
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 24
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 25
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July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 28
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 29
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 30
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 31
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July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 34
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 35
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 36
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 37
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July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 40
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 41
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 42
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 43
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July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 45
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 46
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 47
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 48
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 49
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 50
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 51
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 52
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 53
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 54
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 55
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 56
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - Cover3
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - Cover4
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2021
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