The Last Word with…
By Deborah L. Vence
Yvonne Fischbach began working in the recreation industry (and with Hyland Hills Park and Recreation District) through an internship program while she was in college at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
"However, my internship was not recreation-related, but rather finance-related. I was working toward my accounting degree, and Hyland Hills had an opportunity for a college student to work in their finance department," said Fischbach, who now is the executive director of the Hyland Hills Park and Recreation District in Federal Heights, Colo.
Fortunately, for Fischbach, this turned into a full-time opportunity after she graduated. "I never would have imagined that my career path would be in the recreation industry, but I absolutely fell in love with the business and was fortunate to have the opportunity to advance to finance director, then deputy director and, ultimately, executive director," said Fischbach, who, in her free time, enjoys playing golf with her family, taking walks with her husband and dog, and spending leisure time in the mountains.
"The most appealing thing about this industry is that our sole purpose is to improve the lives of people in our community through recreation. The fact that we can improve both physical and emotional health is incredibly rewarding," she said. "I also love that the industry is constantly evolving and improving."
As the executive director of Hyland Hills, Fischbach's primary goal is to continue the legacy of providing first-class recreational facilities and opportunities to the community.
"Hyland Hills has a long history of creating world-class facilities that are recognized on a national level, including Water World, Adventure Golf and Raceway, the Greg Mastriona Golf Courses at Hyland Hills and the Ice Centre at the Promenade," Fischbach said.
"We will ensure that our facilities are kept up to the highest standards for our guests with proactive upkeep and improvements," she said.
"We will also continue to reach out to our community and guests to make sure we are providing them with the services that are important to them and continue to give them the best possible recreational experience," she added. "Finally, we will ensure that the district remains fiscally sound for generations to come."
In addition to its world-class facilities, Hyland Hills directly serves more than 120,000 residents with parks and recreation programs at a community level.
"In total, our district currently serves over a million guests each year and our goal is to make sure that each one of them has a wonderful and memorable recreation experience with us," she said.
The Hyland Hills Park and Recreation District, which was established in 1955 and has the honor of being the first park and recreation district in the state of Colorado, received top honors from the Colorado Special Districts Association this year.
"This is a distinction that is bestowed upon one Colorado Special District each year," Fischbach said. "The award recognizes a district's major accomplishments, series of outstanding efforts or a steady determination to serve their constituency during the past year.
"We had submitted an application for a collaboration award for a regional park project that we have in progress, and I think that the SDA board decided that given our history and continued efforts in our community, that we were deserving of this higher honor," she said.
The SDA (Special District Association) is comprised of Colorado Special Districts that provide basic services to the public, such as fire and rescue services, water and wastewater services, park and recreation amenities, hospitals, libraries and cemeteries, according to information from hylandhills.org.
When asked what advice she would give to those just starting their careers in the recreation industry, Fischbach said that she would advise them that working in this field has its challenges, but those are far outweighed by the rewards.
"People who work in this industry may not be able to keep 'bankers' hours' because we are the people who work during times that others recreate," she said. "However, we get the honor of providing quality of life to so many and there are few things more rewarding than seeing the smiles and hearing the laughter of families recreating together," she said. "I cannot recommend a better environment to devote a career to."
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