How a dad’s discipline inspired a Parks and Recreation career

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the final post of a five-blog series observing Parks & Recreation Month.

The summer I turned 13, my mother took a trip to Africa.  It was 1986 and my family lived in a small community about an hour west of College Station, where my father worked as an administrator for the College Station Independent School District.  He commuted to work, leaving me home alone for 10 or 12 hours each day. With my newfound independence, I thought I was in heaven – for about a week.

There wasn’t much to do in a town of fewer than 1,000 people. In the mid-1980s, no one had the internet, iPads or cell phones, and in my house, we didn’t even have cable television or an Atari game.

One hot summer day, as a friend and I sat on the porch swing watching the world go by, we spied my sister’s 1968 Ford Galaxy 500.  The next thing we knew, two 12-year-old girls named Jana and Sheryl were cruising the streets of Lexington. It didn’t take long for news to travel that we were cruising around town, and it spread even faster when we popped the front right tire. We drove the car the mile back to my house, destroying the rim in the process.

With my mother out of the country, my father dished out the discipline – and the consequences changed my life forever.

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Four ways Parks & Recreation helps communities thrive

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the fourth in a series we’re posting throughout July in observance of Parks & Recreation Month.

Parks and Recreation has become such a consistent influence on our lives that we sometimes overlook the important health, environmental, psychological and economic contributions it makes to our communities.

A high degree of community support is required to build and maintain Parks and Recreation facilities and programs, and the benefits are substantial. Here are four specific ways Parks and Recreation contributes to our entire community:

1. Healthy Lifestyles

Since people tend to exercise more when they have access to adequate facilities and programs, Parks and Recreation encourages healthy lifestyles. Frequent exercise helps people live longer and stay engaged, and with our aging population, it’s crucial to help our citizens stay physically and mentally active.

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Hey, coach! I’m ready to play!

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the third in a series we’re posting throughout July in observance of Parks & Recreation Month.

Over the years, I have seen many lives impacted by what we do in Parks and Recreation. The positive stories about how our programs influence the community are countless, but I recently received this note from one of our volunteer coaches: 

“During our most recent season, my team had the opportunity to grow in ways that I was not expecting. I had been telling the team for a few weeks that our last game was likely going to be most challenging and that the other team had some really good players on it. I practiced with the girls especially hard the last few weeks trying to prepare them the best that I could.  The night before the game, I talked to them about, win or lose, playing their hardest and working as a team.

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Parks & Recreation can help add balance to your life

Follow me if you will, back to the days of our ancestors.  Back when this country was growing and many of our countrymen were moving from farms and ranches to cities and towns.  Back when a work day went from sunrise to sunset in urban settings with very little green around.

Those circumstances led to a movement to give people opportunities to get away from the cold dark factories to release their everyday tensions and frustrations in green spaces. They called that movement Parks and Recreation, and it has grown to become a staple in today’s society. Parks and Recreation is much more than just green spaces used as a respite from the rigors of everyday life – it’s blossomed into a necessary part of our lives. 

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