By Martin Couch
Bryant Parks and Recreation director Jeremy Lemons reported to the Parks and Recreation Commission that he attended the National Parks and Recreation Congress and Exposition[more] in Minneapolis, Minn., during the last week of October."We toured a world class manufacturing facility in operation to see how playground equipment is made," Lemons said. "We discussed the critical role that design plays in creating fitness-focused equipment and included playgrounds. We toured several area playgrounds."
After the "ins and outs of playground manufacturing on the first day", Lemons attended seminars on "THE brillance of branding parks and recreation" and "aligning organizational strategy with community needs."
"This is the third time I have attended a Jodi Rudick session," Lemons stated. "She is very informative and energetic when it comes to advertising and marketing ideas. We talked about world companies and trends. This session made me realize we have a long way to go in creating a repetition and image of our brand, like creating community, happy place, making life better, endless benefits, etc."
In the Aligning Organizational Strategy with Community needs, Lemons said the seminar focused on Master Plans on how to get information from citizens and how to incorporate it.
"I feel like we did this rather well starting back in 2004 and accomplished our Master Plan in a very short time," Lemons said. "We probably need to do a smaller scale plan with our new members and focus on doing a Parks System Master Plan in 2013."
On his third day, Lemons was introduced to America's Backyard – Make it Yours program, which is a leadership perspective given by NRPA officials along with awards. Keynote speaker Roch Parayre gave a speech about comparing Bryant to national companies, marketing procedures and easy communication.
The next stop was "top training ideas for recreation and parks agencies.
"We discussed the benefits, importance and basic structure of training programs for parks and recreation professionals," Lemons said. "We talked about the staff being your best asset and the way to make them better is by more training. One department said three percent of their budget is dedicated for training. I feel we are currently doing less than the average amount of training."
At the Southwest regional meeting and south district meeting Lemons sat through "Convincing the Boss: Measuring the Impact of Social Media."
"We focused on the importance of social media and ways to handle the problems," he said. "Social media is the future for advertising and marketing your facilities and programs. Measuring your success through different programs is a good way to convince officials that it works for your department. We talked about ways to handle negative comments, legal issues and employee use."
The session closed on Thursday evening and Lemons returned to Bryant on Friday.