Editor's Desk - July 2008
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The Not-So-Beaten Path

Money, and Happiness

e all know money doesn't buy happiness. Sure, it doesn't hurt to earn enough to pay the bills and then some, but the true measure of one's success has more to do with achieving bigger goals than it does a fat paycheck.

And in this issue, we have some pretty good news to deliver on that front for professionals in the managed recreation, sports and fitness market.

This month we're publishing the results of our first-ever Salary Survey, which you'll find beginning on page 14. As part of our Annual State of the Industry Report, the results of which were published in last month's issue, we also asked more than 2,000 professionals from across the industry to answer questions about their careers, their salaries, their level of experience and more.

The good news?

You're generally doing better than the average American, in terms of salary, and the more experience you get under your belt, the better things will get. But even better, less than 10 percent of respondents said they were dissatisfied with their work. And nearly a third said they were actually very satisfied in their jobs.

I've always suspected that work in this industry—despite the budgetary worries, the concerns about managing risk and the constant drive to deliver the latest and greatest in recreation, sports and fitness—was rewarding and satisfying. The results of our survey offer up some proof.

Whether you're driven by a mission to get more kids outside and active or you want to convince couch potatoes to move their bodies, whether you're delivering leisure-time activities like festivals and concerts in the park or you're keeping the turf clean and green for ballplayers of all ages, for the most part you show up with a smile on your face, and end your day knowing you've accomplished something.

And while you're not likely to be earning a whopping six-figure salary, you are likely standing firmly in the middle class. While those dollars won't buy you happiness, your day-to-day work—and its associated rewards—just might.


Emily Tipping

Feel free to drop us a line. Any feedback is great; establishing an industry forum for the open exchange of ideas is even better. So don't be shy with your thoughts, opinions and questions. Any topic is fair game, and no query is too big or too little.

Don't Just Sit There

In "The Play's the Thing" in your January issue, several references were made to placing benches throughout playground designs for seating for parents or caregivers. Certainly this is a common design, and in our sites we have provided benches. Yet instead of being a convenience, we have found that they often lead to parents and caregivers congregating and paying less to little attention to the children. In essence, they are not involved in the play. The number of children who come up "missing" while their parents were in the playground proves this. We probably have three to four of these incidents a month during the summer where the child wandered away as the parent or group leader sat on a bench. Of course and fortunately, the children are quickly found, but it demonstrates my point.

A few strategically located benches in my opinion are better than simply placing benches under some shade so parents and caregivers can relax and chat—and more isn't always better. Most parents are engaged in the supervision of their children, but it takes only a few minutes of reading the paper, checking your laptop or discussing the day's news for a child to wander off or get hurt in some way. I wish you had made this point stronger: that all modern playgrounds have signs that say you should supervise your child. You can't do this from afar.

I'm not suggesting all benches are bad in playgrounds or that parents need to actually hold their children's hands, but that supervision is an active word. Thought should be given to bench location, and perhaps, much like many parking lots do, benches should be set aside for seniors, expecting moms, etc.

Dale Grinolds
Park Superintendent
Onondaga County Parks

Editor's Note: Never forget that Supervision is the first letter in S.A.F.E. playgrounds, which also should be age-appropriate, include adequate fall protection with proper safety surfaces, and be correctly maintained. For more information on playground safety, visit the National Program for Playground Safety Web site at www.playgroundsafety.org.


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questions, good jokes and ponderances to:
OR send mail to:
Recreation Management, 50 N. Brockway St.,
Suite 4-11, Palatine, IL 60067

OR fax to: 847-963-8745