This feeling comes over you every year. You survive the summer, sail smoothly through the fall, then the holidays. But before you know it, it’s March and another busy season is upon you. Have no fear parks and recreation professionals! In honor of spring training and the return of baseball, I’ve assembled my “triple play” of summer preparation below!
I’ve found this extremely helpful. I grab my budget binder and start mapping out all of the projects we have planned for the upcoming season. Things like draining the pool, painting the pool, pump maintenance. Then I go further with smaller scale items such as purchasing uniforms, setting up water testing, etc. Go through your entire book and map out all of these items. It will help immensely to ensure that you aren’t missing anything for the upcoming season. And I’m not just referring to making a list-this is a timeline. Add dates, knowing that as always, you will have to be flexible. Make it detailed-when I list draining the pool, it isn’t just “draining the pool”. Accompanying that item is the following-prepare work order requests for use of XYZ from public works, etc.
Communication of Expectations
This is obviously a no-brainer but there can never be too much communication with your staff or potential staff. Try to keep them in the know throughout the off-season. Send that rehire email in November or December with information on applying for the upcoming season. Once you have their application, reach out to them to set up a phone call or virtual meeting to discuss your expectations for them for the season and to make sure, even though they may have checked full-time on their application, that they don’t intend to be off for 60 plus days during the season due to their hectic “travel” schedule. Make them aware right off the bat about the scheduled day for staff orientation and that it is mandatory, with few exceptions-dinner with friends at Applebee’s isn’t going to cut it! Finally, know that during this time you may hear back from some of your all-star returning staff that they have other intentions for the summer that don't involve things such as coordinating private swim lessons or scanning patrons into the pool. That’s okay-I welcome that time to wish them luck with their alternate plans for the summer and let them know that if things change, they always have a home back with me. This is crucial because things can and will change. Once that occurs, you will be welcoming that all-star back into the fold with open arms.
Give yourself some grace
Once crunchtime really hits, say May or so, don’t be too hard on yourself. Certainly continue to hold yourself to the high expectations that you always have. But also know that, especially this time of year, you can’t control all things. Inevitably, the weather is not going to cooperate when you need it to be sunny and 75 for that contractor to finish painting the pool. Or, just as you think things are all set, a part is going to break in your facility. This is the time to adapt to things on the fly and know that you didn’t plan it this way, but darn it, you’re going to make the best of it and get the job done!
Do you have other tips of the trade that you follow to prepare yourself for the best season possible? Please take a second to leave a comment below. As always, best of luck preparing for another busy season and I’ll talk to you soon!