Cautious Optimism + Realism
Has the recession ended yet?
The answer(s) you'll get to that question depend largely on who you're asking. Officially, yes. Unofficially, with unemployment still relatively high and with austerity the word of the day, leading to harsh budget cuts at every level of government—well, I'll let you be the judge.
In this, our seventh State of the Industry Report, you can see quite clearly that it's a mixed bag. Overall, it seems like most sectors of the market are settling into a new normal. A new normal that I'll call cautiously optimistic with a strong dose of realism.
Budgets are recovering, but not without hiccups. Many are looking to start hiring again—but many others' hands are still tied. Revenues are building for most sectors. Construction plans are getting under way again—but are more focused on making use of buildings already in place through renovations and additions.
From parks and colleges to health clubs, YMCAs and camps, leaders continue to find innovative ways to reach their communities with creative programming, pleasing facilities and helpful services—many of you just have to be a little more creative about it, whether that means partnering with someone else to get it done, or finding clever, out-of-the-box ways to fund important projects.
And, still, there are problems beyond the budget that many readers are looking to address—the continuing trouble with obesity, a need to connect children with nature, conservation of resources, health and wellness, offering all ages and abilities a chance to engage in their community, connect and have some fun. The mission hasn't gone away.
So, tell me: How are you making it all work? Are you still trying to do more with less? What solutions have you found to deliver the services your patrons demand with the resources you have?
Are you cautiously optimistic?
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