Parks and Recreation has offered a summer program for kids for over four decades. The program provides a safe and friendly environment for kids to spend their time while school is out of session. It has always been free to the kids and through a grant with the Board of Education, meals are provided as well. With details already in play, the beginning steps is to find staffing for each site available this year.
Director Mike Book knows the importance of the program and the value of having a first job as many of today’s professionals, who are in their fifties, may have received a check from the county commission while attending high school or college. Even today, people he meets in public that worked for him always share a memory about their days being a park’s leader.
“I have been here for almost the entire time while a parks program has been a part of our department and it is amazing how a summer part-time position could bring so many positive stories to the table,” said Book. “To this day, kids (who are now adults) find me on the street and always want to talk about their time here during the summer. Most of them started out as kids in the summer program and later became park leaders. Many of the stories shared are funny and everyone refers back to it being one of the best jobs to have as a kid.”
The job responsibilities are pretty simple – have fun with the kids and keep them safe. While the program is open to kids six through 15, the kids in grade school benefit the most from this. At this stage in their lives, kids are looking for role models or the “Big Brother” or “Big Sister” type and many we hire do assume that role while on the clock. As Book would say, “we want to hire the people who are not afraid to act a little silly and have a kind heart.”
With sites located throughout the county, there will be a couple different options for the kids who want full day programming and those who attend the area school program with recreation provided by the HCPR in the afternoon after lunch. For the first part, staff will be broken down into a morning and afternoon shift. They will normally work a 30-hour week and the program begins June 21 and normally wraps up the end of July. For the latter program, we are looking for afternoon staff beginning around 11:30 a.m. and wrapping up around 5:30 p.m.. The school program days are Monday through Thursday while the full-day program provided by the parks department is five days a week.
With competitive wages and a great first step toward the work environment, those wishing to apply can contact the parks office and request to have an application emailed to them or they can download one on the website. Interviews will begin in May and we hope to have staff in place by early June.
“It is a wonderful job if you allow yourself to be a role model for the kids,” said Book. “We know there is never a career park leader position in the future of the kids, but it is a great start to get in the work force and like many others, it may be the most memorable job you will ever have.”
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