The profession of recreation is special to me for so many reasons. Imagine the sight of seeing a family in a park walking by, kids going up and down the slides and the parents helping them to climb up the equipment and come back down. Our society has many fewer moments of this than back in the day, but it is coming back. Recreation is all about people, our friendships, partnerships and most importantly, our quality of life.
I came into this profession in 2003 as an intern from Texas A&M University. I started in Grand Prairie at that time after coming through the recreation program in Aggieland and getting to work special events and block parties in our community.
Over the years, the profession of recreation has changed so much. From the way we do things to the type of programs we offer, all of these have an impact on the people around the community.
According to a study from the National Recreation & Park Association (NRPA) back in 2015, when local government officials face financial difficulties, it is often park and recreation budgets that are first to the chopping block. Yet, the 2015 study showed that four out of five Americans were willing to pay the national average amount in local taxes — $70 per household member per year — for park and recreation services. Tax support for local parks was bipartisan and included those who did not even use these services.
Our profession has changed in the fact that quality of life is an important value to folks in the community. In Grand Prairie, that is no different. We have been so fortunate to offer so many different programs to so many citizens.
In the profession of Parks and Recreation, it is all about people and partnerships. This profession is one area that communities love to share ideas with each other. We in Grand Prairie love hearing feedback from other surrounding communities as well as us sharing with them. Why is that? Every community is different. Not every single program will work in every community and that is why I love this profession.
The partnerships are for real and our citizens quality of life depends on it. We are problem solvers. We are life changers. We are the listeners that some citizens don’t get a chance to share their personal testimonies with due to loss of family or loneliness.
Grand Prairie is a very diverse community with so many ethnicities and cultures that it truly is an outstanding place to raise a family. Values are a big part of our profession and we are the folks helping this new generation of kids become great citizens by providing value in the programs we offer and helping them grow to find their passions in life.
I am halfway through my career. I couldn’t be in another profession because this one aligns with my values so much and it paves the way for me to be a positive impact on others. I enjoyed writing this post because it is a unique profession. I received a lot of value writing this as I hope you received reading it.
Michael is a contributor on topics involving recreation trends, City of Grand Prairie Texas news, Toastmasters, Aggie updates, personal development and more.