May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 13

Recruiting the Next Generation of
Park and Recreation Professionals
By Colton Patak
W
hen I was first hired by a local park and recreation department
as a camp counselor, I had no idea what direction I
wanted my life to go. Over the years, I moved up through
the ranks to become a program supervisor of youth care
programs. One day, I was headed to my first day of school as a pre-med
student, even though my heart wasn't in it, when it dawned on me that the
current job that I had and loved so much could turn into a career.
Later that day, I dropped out of
all my medical classes and applied
at Miami University, Oxford, where
I was accepted a couple of weeks
later. I'm now in college doublemajoring
in sports leadership and
management and public administration,
with the goal of developing
a career in parks and recreation.
Growing up in a lower-middleclass
family, there were not a lot
of options for affordable fun and
games. There were two things I
could always count on for fun activities:
our local recreation center and
parks. As young as I can remember,
I've had fond memories of taking
cooking classes, swimming lessons,
basketball - any classes the center
offered my mom signed me up for
them. And on the days I didn't have
classes or didn't want to go swimming,
we'd go to a park. The recreation
center and parks were happy
and safe places for me growing up. It
is amazing to think that I now work
for that exact same department and
can help give other families and children
the same experiences I had.
How can we implement these
on a larger scale?
experiences
How can we encourage kids, high
schoolers and even young adults to
pursue careers in parks and recreWhere
there is unity,
there is community.
ation? How can we create opportunities
similar to mine that inspire
the next generation of park and
recreation professionals? There are
two answers: a simple solution and
a complex solution. The simple answer
is marketing, not only for programs
and events, but also for jobs
and career opportunities. If local
departments reached out to local
job fairs, colleges and high schools,
or gave presentations
at
those
schools, that step alone would produce
a significant increase in new
park and recreation professionals.
The complex answer is that local
departments need to work diligently
on creating communityenriching
events and programs that
bring the family and community
together while maintaining affordability.
We also need to work with
" competing " organizations to better
the lives of our community members
and increase the quality of programs
offered. Where there is unity,
there is community. As Michelle
Obama once said, " Success isn't
about how much money you make.
It's about the difference you make
in people's lives. " Together, we can
work to make a better community
with enriching programs and safe
spaces, and inspire the next generation
of park and recreation professionals
to pursue a rewarding career
that changes lives.
Colton Patak is with the City of Kettering
Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts
Department (colton7patak@gmail.com).
PARK S ANDRECRE AT ION . OR G | MAY 2 0 22 | Parks & Recreation
13

May 2022 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of May 2022 - Parks & Recreation

May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - Intro
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - Cover1
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - Cover2
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 1
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 2
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 3
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 4
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 5
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 6
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 7
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 8
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 8a
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 8b
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 9
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 10
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 11
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 12
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 13
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 14
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 15
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 16
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 17
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 18
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 19
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 20
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 21
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 22
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 23
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 24
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 25
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 26
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 27
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 28
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 29
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 30
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 31
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 32
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 33
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 34
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 35
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 36
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 37
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 38
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 39
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 40
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 41
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 42
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 43
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 44
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 45
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 46
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 47
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 48
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 49
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 50
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 51
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 52
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 53
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 54
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 55
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 56
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - Cover3
May 2022 - Parks & Recreation - Cover4
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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