Shining a Spotlight on Recreation Superstars Part II

Written by Whitney Greene

This July, we recognize some of the parks and recreation superstars and #CPfamily members who give us every reason to love where we live.

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White Paper: Inclusion in Parks and Recreation

What It Means to Your Residents and How to Adapt

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What would we do without the places we call home? What would we do without the mountain trails, lakes, pine trees, and apple blossoms? What would we do without Halloween parades, tree lightings, and charity 5Ks? For all the things we love about our cities, towns, and villages, we feel grateful to the local government leaders, especially our parks and recreation superstars, who manage every nuance of our recreation spaces, from park trash removal to senior and adaptive programming.

This July, we recognize some of the parks and recreation superstars and #CPfamily members who give us every reason to love where we live. We sat down with Erik Lomeli, Evan Sweet, and Lauren Merriman to learn why they love what they do.

 

Erik LomeliErik Lomeli, Recreation Services Specialist, Pasadena, CA

What is your role?

I serve as a Recreation Services Specialist overseeing the city’s Adaptive Recreation and Fitness & Wellness Programs.

How long have you been in the Parks and Recreation industry?

I began working for the Parks, Recreation & Community Services Department in the summer of 2012.

What do you like best about your job?

What I enjoy most about my job is serving the community where I was born and raised. My most fond memories occurred in Pasadena. I feel privileged to contribute to the programs and services that help enhance the quality of life of our residents.

How do you think your department has positively impacted your community and the civic experience?

The Pasadena PRCS Department has provided families, social groups, and individuals with opportunities to enjoy quality programming regardless of economic status. Despite the challenges of the last two years, our department made the necessary modifications to offer vital services and programs that helped support our community’s physical and mental health.

How do you believe your CivicPlus Recreation Management Software enables your team to positively impact your community?

[It] has provided our community with easy access to register for our recreational programs. The catalog layout has made it easy for our community to search for programs. The mobile capabilities have assisted us with the transition to online registration, and the communication tools assure us that we can send critical announcements at a moment’s notice

 

Sweet

Evan Sweet, Community Center Specialist, Canton, MI

What is your role?

My role is Community Center Specialist. With this role, I assist with operations of the Summit on the Park Community Center, including overseeing memberships, front desk operations, facility assistant staff, room rentals, birthday parties, and our drop-in child care.

How long have you been in the Parks and Recreation Industry?

I have been working in Parks and Recreation since I was 16, working for my local parks and recreation department at their golf course. Since then, I’ve worked part-time for four different municipal and county level governments and full-time for my current employer, the Canton Township Leisure Services Department.

What do you like best about your job?

The thing that I like most about my job is seeing the direct impact that we make on the residents that we serve by providing swim lessons for their children, fitness classes to improve their health and wellness, and providing positive customer service experiences for our residents. I also enjoy the vast variety of roles that I get to take on. While my role is mainly focused on facility operations, I get to play a part in many special events within our department and other projects that arise as well.

How do you think your department has positively impacted your community and the civic experience?

I think our department has impacted the community by offering so many diverse offerings and high-quality facilities and parks. We are the place that many residents seek out for their health and wellness needs, as well as social experiences. Our team continues to provide top-tier events that continue to draw residents and visitors year after year. We have made critical changes and investments in our community center to keep up with the community’s demand and provide amenities that residents seek. We can do this while maintaining a price point that is desirable and reasonable for our residents. We also continue to employ hundreds of local residents throughout the year, especially in the summer, to provide them with a one-of-a-kind work experience they would not get in many other businesses or organizations.

How do you believe your CivicPlus Recreation Management Software enables your team to positively impact your community?

The [CivicPlus] product has made it easier for our residents to sign up for programs, classes, and memberships with us. [It] is a much more user-friendly product than our previous recreation management software. Residents have made several comments to us about how they like the simplicity and usability of the program to get registered for the programs they are interested in. In addition, the program has allowed us to do more with how we advertise and communicate with our residents about upcoming schedule changes and discounted classes and memberships.

Overall, [the software] has made our registration process easier and more user-friendly for our residents and staff.

 

MerrimanLauren Merriman, Recreation Services Manager, City of Campbell, CA

What is your role?

I am the Recreation Services Manager for the City of Campbell (newly promoted in April 2022)

How long have you been in the Parks and Recreation industry?

22 years! Not sure how that is even possible!

What do you like best about your job?

Every day is different and the people. The people I work with and the people we serve.

How do you think your department has positively impacted your community and the civic experience?

All Recreation and Community Service programs are essential and positively impact the community, including in Campbell. Our programs allow people to play and exercise, provide environments that let you appreciate nature, and we maintain gathering places in our facilities and Parks where families make lasting memories. These Positive Spaces help enhance the lives of our community members now and for generations to come. We believe Parks Make Life Better, and our programs and services celebrate and speak directly to that message.

How do you believe your CivicPlus Recreation Management Software enables your team to positively impact your community?

The [CivicPlus] product has been a great enhancement to our public services. The public interface for activity registration has made it easy to filter our activities based on families’ needs. In addition, we have moved our picnic reservations 100 percent online, making it easy for customers to enjoy our parks. Our facility request process has also been moved online (previously, you had to come in person to reserve a facility). These streamlined processes have made our information more accessible and ultimately made it easier for our customers to get the information they need in a timely manner.

We look forward to utilizing additional functions for leagues, volunteering, and more as we continue to bring our programs back online.