Dec 25, 2017

By Jeremy Quan, BRM Mentor

In my current position as a Temporary Recreation Programmer II, it is always difficult to predict what obstacles, opportunities and situations I will come across that day. Working at a community centre that has dozens of programs occurring in a season, the ability to keep on my toes is not only a desired trait, but crucial part of working in recreation to be successful. Typically, though, I try to keep within a checklist to ensure that I meet the operational needs of the organization.

Walking into work in the morning is generally typical; I greet the colleagues I will be working with that day, and inquire about their day/weekend/week. I value relationship building, and truly believe that groups excel when there is a high level of respect and comradery between colleagues – it does not take a lot of effort to care and have a quick conversation! Soon after, I settle into my desk to check voicemails and emails. I answer the ones that require attention, or set reminders to follow up at a later time.

After that, the real fun begins! My days are filled with collaborative meetings with centre staff, Board Members, and user groups, interacting with customers, or researching and implementing programs that fit within the scope of a community’s needs. Currently the best part of my job is being involved in program leadership with the Seniors at Hillcrest Centre; they are a group that is often forgotten, or not challenged enough – if one just takes a moment to chat with them, they will learn that they are eager to try new things and learn new skills.

When I took on the role of Adult and Seniors Recreation Programmer II, I was tasked with rebuilding the seniors portfolio. Because of turnover associated with injuries and maternity leaves, the group was slowly starting to dwindle. To address this, I met with a group of regular attendees and asked them what they wanted to see in the centre for their group – as avid members of the centre, they definitely gave me a piece of their mind, filling me in with issues that they face and helping me focus on their needs. Because of this short meeting, I was able to start developing a positive relationship with the Hillcrest Centre seniors and create programs that they would enjoy.

I took my ideas and concerns to a Program Committee meeting with members of the Board and presented what I had learned in addition to a subsidy request for the Seniors Programs. They granted me my request, and I was able to program desirable meals (with an actual chef), out trips, and activities at an extremely affordable price. At first, I was a little discouraged as the attendance numbers were not as high as I wanted them to be, but as the season progressed, I started to see the programs become fully registered. Nothing feels better than when a senior tells me that I’m “doing a great job” and when they thank me for all the programs I designed for them.

Like I said before, every day will be different; sometimes I will be working closely with instructors and stakeholders, programming the best programs possible for the centre, or I will be furiously entering data into the recreation software, or putting out fires when things do not go as planned. I love the job and I am looking forward to my career ahead in recreation.