I’m always a little caught off guard when strangers ask me, “What park do you work at?” Initially, it’s because I’m trying to figure what prompted them to ask. Usually it’s a Greensboro Parks and Recreation shirt or City badge that I forget I’m wearing. Secondly, I am shocked by the question, “What park do you work at?” As if parks and recreation is ONLY parks. As professionals in the field know, we offer so much more to the community.
After my shock and awe wears off, I normally respond, “We do have great parks in this area, but I don’t work at one.” This usually leads to them asking, “Well what do you do?” Here’s the part I love: an opportunity to speak about what I do.
In an effort to not hold up a line at Walgreens, I’ve prepared a quick 15 second response that sums up the organization I work for, what we offer, and why I enjoying doing it. My spiel goes like this: “I’m the Director of the Greensboro Youth Council, an organization that provides leadership and volunteer opportunities for high school students in the community. It’s a unique program for teens, and I enjoy seeing their development through service to the community.” Easy enough.
Some people end it there. Others ask follow up questions that result in me doing one of the following:
- Educate: Tell them about how diverse our department is, from the traditional programs such as athletics and summer camps to arts and programming specifically for teens and seniors.
- Invite: If there’s an upcoming event I can promote, I do it! It’s an opportunity for them to see me, Parks and Recreation, and their tax dollars in action.
- Recruit: In Greensboro, we rely on volunteer support for many of our programs. I like to invite them to serve the community with me. If it’s a student, I discuss internships or give them my contact info.
You are one of the biggest advocates and marketing tools for your organization. Create a spiel you can remember and recite. Be knowledgeable about what is going on in your department.
Don’t be afraid to talk and brag a little about the amazing work you do!
Meet the Author
Jasia Stevenson works for the Greensboro Parks and Recreation Department as the Director of the Greensboro Youth Council, an organization she was involved in as a high school student. She started college majoring in Chemistry with a Pre-Pharmacy focus. After her first year, she realized this wasn’t where she saw herself or her career and changed her major to Parks and Recreation that summer. Jasia graduated from UNC-Greensboro in 2006 and has worked at the YWCA, a recreation center, and moved up through GYC to her current role. She enjoys aspects of training and development and implementing them in fun, creative ways. When she is not working, Jasia enjoys music, baking, and spending time with family.
Jasia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 336-373-2734.
If you are interested in being a guest author for the YPN Blog, please contact Nicole at email@example.com or 919-832-5868.