Tina Boysha got her first taste of life in parks and recreation working as an unpaid college intern. She quickly discovered how incredibly rewarding the job could be.
“After seeing all the lives that the programs and events touched on a daily basis, I knew this is where I belonged,” she says. “I enjoy being a public servant, and seem to have a knack for it. I like making people happy, even though I can’t do that all the time, but I can sure have fun trying!”
With sixteen years in the parks and recreation field, the past eight as the Superintendent of Athletics for the city of Clarksville Parks and Recreation in Tennessee, Boysha, and her staff, have been putting smiles on thousands of children’s faces through their creative and tireless efforts.
Their programs—Blastball!, T-ball, baseball, softball, and basketball—are fun-filled and engaging, and promote learning and skill development.
Check out what else Boysha has to say about youth sports and their impact on children:
Fred: What was your favorite sport to play growing up?
Tina: My favorite sport was volleyball. I loved being a part of the intricate process of pre-planned teamwork, with everyone having a position, and a score came with every play. I didn’t have to run with the ball like I did in basketball, and it didn’t put a premium on any kind of speed. Since quickness was a must, I was more adept at this sport than some of the others.
Fred: What’s your biggest pet peeve when it comes to youth sports?
Tina: The pressure that is put on our youth today to win, win, win. That's not to say winning isn't important, but learning the game and enjoying the sport are also important. I understand that parents want their children to be all they can be, but sometimes parents need to take a step back and allow their kids to enjoy being children.
Fred: Who is your favorite professional athlete?
Tina: I would say my favorite professional athlete is Venus Williams. I believe she exemplifies what love and dedication are to a sport. She plays the game of tennis in an admirable way, with sportsmanship and dignity, all while standing strong in coping with the challenges of an energy-sapping autoimmune disease. She also understands the importance of losing, knowing that she can never get complacent. Her biggest ambition is to enjoy life, and do exactly what she wants, and she does.
Fred: If you were talking to a room full of first-year recreation professionals, what would be three tips to share in order to help them be successful in their position?
Tina: Don't take any criticism too personally. Communication is a must! Make it fun by loving what you do.
Fred: Who is the person you most admire?
Tina: I would have to say my mother. She basically raised me single-handedly, taught me to be independent, and to do the best I could in anything that I chose. She used to tell me that if I were going to do anything, give it my all and not half. She never let adversity get her down, and always tried to see the good in everything.
Fred: What are you most proud of about your program?
Tina: The coaches and children who return year after year because the league is well run, is fun for the kids, and is an enjoyable experience for the coaches.
Fred Engh is founder and CEO of the National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS) in West Palm Beach, Fla. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To join more than 3,000 communities by starting a NAYS chapter, visit www.nays.org or contact Emmy Martinez at email@example.com or (800) 729-2057.