Big Things, Small Packages

"Over the years, I've been teaching kids about a simple but powerful concept -- the ant philosophy. I think everybody should study ants. They have an amazing four-part philosophy, and here is the first part: ants never quit. That's a good philosophy. If they're headed somewhere and you try to stop them, they'll look for another way. They'll climb over, they'll climb under, they'll climb around. They keep looking for another way. What a neat philosophy, to never quit looking for a way to get where you're supposed to go."

-- The Ant Philosophy, by Jim Rohn

Whether you’re running an eight-person parks and recreation publishing company or an eight-person parks and recreation department, Jim Rohn’s Ant Philosophy is as apt a description of how we do what we do as any I’ve encountered.

You’re department may be small, but I bet it’s still tasked with accomplishing big things—like building and maintaining awesome public spaces, creating awesome programs for those spaces and providing top-notch customer service to a public who can’t possibly understand how under-staffed and under-funded your department is.

We’re publishing a great example of such an endeavor on page 117—“In Pursuit Of An Amazing Event,” by Natalie Eggeman, City of Fort Wayne (Ind.) Parks & Recreation Department.

The story highlights how one organizer, Patti Davis, the preschool/youth supervisor for the community center started her version of the “Amazing Race” 7 years ago and through tireless effort, grew the event to the point where she receives monthly calls from all over the world inquiring about logistics of the race.

Without knowing it, Davis is following lock-step with the Ant Philosophy—not just part one, “never quit,” but the remainder of the philosophy as well:

  • Part 2: “Think winter all summer”—Davis works year-round to prepare for her Amazing Race (now held twice a year)

  • Part 3: “Think summer all winter”—Davis realizes the event is hard work, but the payoff will be here shortly (i.e., the day of the event)

  • Part 4: “How much will an ant gather during the summer? All he/she possibly can.”—Davis works all year to secure enough donations to cover the $5,000 in prices, which include day- and weekend-trip packages for the top three teams as well as volunteers to help run the event.

I’d like to think the issue you now hold in your hand is worthy of the ant philosophy as well. Our little team of dedicated folks has worked for an entire year to put together this buyer’s guide—our biggest issue of the year. It’s definitely an all-hands-on-deck situation and it leaves us exhausted afterwards, but it’s always fun to create.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed working on it. If you do or if you don’t, please let us know. We’re here to serve.


Rodney J. Auth