"Do you still work in Parks and Rec?" Sometimes my colleagues ask me this. On paper, the answer is no. My current job title is Public Information Coordinator for Montgomery Township in Montgomery County, and I work in the Administration Department. But it's not as simple as that. There are shades of grey to consider.
Let's talk about what Parks and Recreation Departments do. They organize programs and events, take care of parks, promote outdoor activities, manage finances, and work on environmental initiatives.
Usually, all these things are done by one department. But in Montgomery Township, it's a bit different. We have a Recreation Department that handles the Community & Recreation Center, summer camps, and park permits. The Public Works Department maintains the parks. Our Planning and Zoning Department takes care of stormwater management and works with the Shade Tree Commission. As the Public Information Coordinator, I handle a lot of publicity for our recreation events and programs. I'm also the liaison for our Environmental Advisory Committee. Let’s not forget about the support our Police and Fire Departments provide for public safety. Our Finance Director even speaks at the PRPS Conferences! At its core, Parks and Recreation is about working together and getting the community engaged.
I am a firm believer in breaking down silos. While it’s important to determine responsibilities for each department and team member, it takes inter-departmental collaboration to serve our communities. The best example of this in Montgomery Township is our Annual Autumn Festival, which requires the contributions of staff in every department to succeed. Staying involved with PRPS keeps me connected to the principles and values of the profession. It helps me learn from others, share experiences, and bring fresh ideas to my role in the Administration Department.
While my job title may not say "Parks and Rec," my passion for community engagement and promoting the benefits of parks and recreation is still strong. I may not be in the same department, but my work aligns with the goals of Parks and Recreation. I'm proud to be part of a team that wants to create a vibrant and connected community.