Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Knock their socks off

PapaBear and I are meeting with our boss in the morning to go over some of our programming ideas for the parks. Other than needing to do the dishes and vacuum, the house is in decent shape and our list of ideas is printed out and ready to go. BUT...I can't help but wonder if there is something else we could suggest...something that will push the park board over the edge and make them jump at the chance to get two programmers for $600 a month. (The park staff approved our proposal, but it needs final approval from the board.)

And so I turn to you, my dear readers....Have you participated in a city, county, state, regional, or national park program that you really enjoyed? I would love to hear about it!
We have a small budget for programs, but at least there's some money to spread around throughout the year....

We have at our disposal: 3 different lakes, 3 beaches, 1 sledding hill, 2 parks with ski trails, an off leash dog park, sand volleyball, horseshoes, baseball field, disc golf, hiking trails, bog walk, multiple fishing piers, campfire program space, 8 picnic shelters, mulitple playgrounds....

We're slowly but surely warming up to the idea of strictly recreational programs. Our background is in environmental education, but in a very historic area with diverse ecosystems.

One idea that I'm excited to share tomorrow is a Photo Scavenger Hunt. I hope to present it next Fall and subtitle it "Leave Only FootPrints. Take Only Photographs"
Get it? Fall....Leave....

At the beginning I will hand out puzzle pieces to the participants. (I'll create a puzzle of a very recognizable spot in the park using one of my photographs and

When the group gets the puzzle together I'll ask them if it would look even better with the piece that (without their knowledge) I held on to. "But this one is sooo pretty. I was going to take it home as a souvenir. This one piece doesn't make a difference. Look at all the ones you already have. Aren't they enough?"

Ya gotta love those teachable moments, especially when there is visible proof of what happens if I tell everyone to go ahead a take a piece for themselves....
There's nothing left for the next visitor to enjoy which leads right into the beauty of the scavenger hunt. Groups will be taking pictures of the items on the list. They'll be connecting with nature as they take a closer look at the environment around them, and hopefully they'll learn one of most important Leave No Trace prinicples.
I haven't put much thought into prizes yet, but the gist of the program is there.

You can be sure that if any of your suggestions make it into our programming schedule, you'll be the first to know!


Aspiemom February 18, 2009 at 3:31 PM  

I didn't realize the park was THAT big. It sounds huge!

I don't have idea - I'm not that creative. But I love your iPhoto scavenger hunt idea.

Jenney February 19, 2009 at 7:50 AM  

I volunteer for our parks and rec, but I don't actually work for them. There are 2 particular events that I love. One is a doggie swim we do in the fall after the county pool closes (which this year it isn't even going to open due to budget...) but you could do at a lake. The other is a Santa visit that we do and I do face painting. This particularly amuses me since we tell our kids Santa isn't real, but whatever! GOOD LUCK on your pitch today

Jenn February 19, 2009 at 10:58 AM  

As a girl scout leader and member of our local Service Unit...I would suggest that you offer to work with local girl scout/boy scout organizations in offering badge opportunities. You would contact the girl scout headquarters for your area and work with them in setting up a series of events from bird watching, winter sports, eco/wildlife, etc. They would provide you with a list of possible activities the girls would need to accomplish and then troops would pay money to register to attend these classes to earn their badges.

Scout organizations would then be more open to reserving the park to host their camporees/jamborees and a myriad of other outdoor type of activities.

The park may not get rich from it, but it will sure increase the traffic!!

Below is a link for one of the local audobon parks that offer these classes...

Good luck!!


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