When PRB’s Associate Editor asked me to host a regular column in what I consider the premiere monthly parks and recreation business magazine, I experienced mixed emotions.
On one hand, I thought, here’s one more thing I need to arrange into my schedule--another deadline--one more thing to worry about among an already overflowing plate of things. But really that was just a fleeting concern, because the greater part of me wanted to do it. Why? Many reasons, but suffice it to say that I enjoy writing, I’m fairly good at it and I believe that open communication and sharing experiences, good and bad, helps make us all do our jobs better.
So, that’s pretty much what this column will do. The PRB editorial staff has given me broad guidance. They said, “Basically, we want to know what’s happening in your department and how you are dealing with it. It can address problems, training issues, new programs, etc.”
I can work within that framework. Generally, if we’re having a problem with some aspect of the operations here in Peachtree City, Georgia, there are probably other recreation professionals across the country (and in Canada and maybe elsewhere) who are experiencing similar problems. Then again, certain issues are site-specific and can vary greatly from one department to another.
Or, if we’ve been successful at doing something a certain way, maybe somebody else will be able to borrow from it and be successful too.
Either way, this column’s intent will be to draw others into the issues. I would be the last person on earth to profess that the way we do things here is the only or best way. I’d like to hear from others and learn from their experience.
So, readers will have the opportunity to weigh in on matters, either by writing a letter to the editor, or by e-mailing me with comments or suggestions. And if someone has an idea for a column topic, by all means make it known.
Now, I need to think of a name for the column. That’s important because the name of the column sets the tone for its content. I thought about something like “Parks and Rec Issues and Answers,” or “It’s a Rec’ Thing.” But nothing I came up with sounded right.
So, there it was deadline time and I still hadn’t come up with a name and I was pretty frustrated. But then I realized what the problem is--I still don’t know exactly where this column will lead or what it might become. So, I think it’s better that it doesn’t have a name yet. I think it would be better to wait a while and see how it develops. I’m betting that a natural name will emerge … at least I hope so. Or, maybe a reader has an idea for a good name idea. Send it on in!
For now, maybe we can just call it the “TBD” (To Be Determined) Column, or the “You Name It” Column. I guess I’ll have to see how the editor feels about that.
Randy Gaddo is Director of Leisure Services (Parks, Recreation, Library) in Peachtree City, Ga. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or call 770-631-2542.