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Just Ask Jan: Involuntary Homebody

Posted By Amanda Parsons, Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Dear Jan,

I have been working from home since March and I have to be honest – I’m going a bit stir-crazy.  At first, I thought this would be a great opportunity to spend more time with my family, incorporate personal development, and enjoy a more relaxed environment.  After 4 months, I feel imprisoned.  I get up and “go to work” in my home office (read: spare bedroom) and at the end of the day I go… nowhere. 

I need some kind of outlet or space.  Something that doesn’t make me feel like I’m either working, or hanging out in the same space.  Suggestions?

Sincerely,

Involuntary Homebody

 

Hello Involuntary Homebody!

I’ve spoken to many colleagues (on Facetime or Facebook Messenger, thank you Friends) that also thought working remotely would be a time to get caught up on work projects, become organized, make strategic plans, work out more, take better self-care, and try new recipes, DIY projects, all the things.  After a couple of months they were going stir crazy too. I’ve heard from other colleagues that they are thriving in this new work environment and doing all those things! I am not one of those, I lost track of time to the point that my husband came in the bedroom with dinner and asked if I wanted to eat at my desk.

That’s when I knew it was seriously time to do something differently. I’ve read that it has to do with introvert and extravert personalities, however for this answer Homebody, I advise if you would like to go deeper into the reasons “why” that happened, I recommend reading this book: The Power of Introverts, 9 Best Loved Stories by Susan Cain.

Back to your request, suggestions for a space or outlet. It’s an everyday commitment to be disciplined to make a change, isn’t it? Please start small, set your alarm to get up during the day and stretch, walk around either inside or out, that will give you some space in your own head. Carve out a stretching spot in your home (maybe the bedroom you’re working in) with a matt, some cushions and maybe some dumbbells or rubberized tubing and call it your own. Put chairs around it if you have animals or kids and let them all know it’s yours and only yours.  Don’t do a Brittney though and light all the candles around it, just maybe use a couple of battery operated mood setting candles if you like that type of thing and maybe some relaxing music. Some of us like the yoga subscriptions on our tablets to ease into the day but anytime is a good time to relax, refresh and renew. I have even heard some people go to their cars and sit inside to read and listen to music, because they miss driving, but if you want to, go for a drive! Spaces and places can be as simple as a pillow on the floor or turning a chair another direction to laying down some painters tape to putting up a tent or canopy in the yard.

I hope this helped spark an idea for you to use and please remember to stay safe, stay well, clear your mind, breathe deeply and listen to your heart. This too shall pass.

Sincerely, 

Jan

 


 

Jan Wirtz is the Recreation Superintendent at Lake Oswego Parks & Recreation.  With her years of history comes sage career advice for park and recreation professionals at any level in their career.

Submit a question to Just Ask Jan to be answered in an upcoming newsletter.


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DEI Stakeholder Group Statement of Intent

Posted By Amanda Parsons, Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Date Last Modified: June 12, 2019

 

The Oregon Recreation and Parks Association (ORPA) Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Stakeholder Group serves to develop a coalition of parks and recreation professionals who have an interest in the improvement and sustainability of practices that promote DEI principles.  The DEI Stakeholder Group aims to provide equity-related resources and guidance to the ORPA board as well as ORPA membership.  The group would take aim at creating a mission, setting goals, and creating actionable items that can provide direction to the board and members of ORPA.

 

ORPA Strategic Plan and Mission

The ORPA mission is to support the recreation and park profession in Oregon through leadership, education, advocacy, and member services.  As part of strategic long-term planning, ORPA developed a Strategic Plan (2016-2020).  This plan identified a strategic initiative to support diversity, equity and inclusion as part of research and long-term planning.  This initiative includes:

  • Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Parks & Recreation (R&LP 2.1)
    • Actively explore and define what socio-economic equity, diversity and inclusion look like for park and recreation service providers in order to anchor a broader discussion among ORPA members and partners.
  • Statewide Conversation on Diversity (R&LP 2.2)
    • Lead a conversation among ORPA members and the wider community on equity, diversity and inclusion through the lens of parks and recreation program services.
  • Implementing Social Equity (R&LP 2.3)
    • Develop and implement initiatives where park and recreation programs reflect the values of social equity and inclusion that have been identified.

 

DEI Stakeholder Group Responsibilities

The DEI Stakeholder Group will be organized to provide recommendations to the ORPA board and members for achieving goals in the strategic plan related to DEI principles including, but not limited to, internal organizational processes, training, and advocacy.

 

Potential outcomes of projects

  • Define diversity, equity, and inclusion as it relates to the goals of the stakeholder group and ORPA.
  • Prioritize areas of social injustice and inequities in parks and recreation to drive coalition building efforts.
  • Increased participation from minority/diverse communities in parks and recreation profession
  • Increased awareness and advocacy of equity/quality of life provided by parks and recreation organizations and stakeholder groups
  • Outlining standard practices/service levels of parks and recreation organizations for outreach and meeting needs of minority/diverse communities with assistance from stakeholder groups
  • General support of DEI practices in the civic leadership of local, regional, and statewide communities.
  • Provide guidance for ORPA Annual Conference session submissions and establish indicators of DEI related sessions for conference attendees.

 

How to Get Involved

Participation in the DEI Stakeholder Group is a collaborative effort made up of a diverse group of individuals.  Participation is not restricted to ORPA membership.  We encourage professionals from parks and recreation, non-profit organizations, partner organizations or other interested stakeholders to join.

 

Those wishing to be a part of this group should reach out to Amanda Parsons, staff-member of the Oregon Recreation and Park Association.

 

Amanda Parsons - aparsons@orpa.org; 503.534.5673

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A Letter in Response to the Death of George Floyd

Posted By Amanda Parsons, Wednesday, July 22, 2020

An open letter to our membership:

 

On May 25th George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis, was murdered by a white police officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes.  This horrible tragedy is not the first incident of excessive force disproportionately deployed on African Americans.  It is a reflection of the continued racism and anti-blackness perpetuated in the United States.  

We believe we can do better as a society.

We hope this event will result in systemic change.  That change starts with dismantling white supremacy, the root of the issue.  This is a long and difficult journey.  It takes everyone working at various levels of the public, communities, government, and institutions to make a change to do better. 

How do we start?

First, we would like to take a moment to acknowledge power structures and how they have historically contributed to systemic and institutional racism.  Below this letter we acknowledge racism nationally, in Oregon, and the white-ness of our own organization.

Second, we are sharing resources.  These resources will help you be more informed and understand why racism is a crisis impacting everyone.

Third, we are providing you with tools for action.  The most common questions we hear during a crisis of any kind are “How can I help?” or “What can I do?”  These tools will give you direction.

And finally, we understand the importance of having a safe space to address these issues.  We will be scheduling a virtual round table specifically for BIPOC in parks and recreation.  More information will follow in the coming weeks.

 

Please take the time this week to practice self-care.  Recognize that those around you may need space as they try to heal.  Reach out to friends, family, or co-workers so that you are not alone.  And as always, connect with ORPA with any questions or support you may need.

 

Sincerely,

DEI Committee,

ORPA Board of Directors,

and ORPA Staff

 

Acknowledgements

  • We acknowledge that the United States is built on a system of white supremacy, with the founding belief that black folk and people of color are not equal and will not enjoy equal rights.
  • We acknowledge that anti-black sentiments differ from other forms of racism in that the experiences of black people in this country are layered and complex.
  • We acknowledge the implications of slavery in this country and the continued historical trauma experienced by black people today.
  • We acknowledge that racism still exists and systems of privilege actively work to enforce white nationalism.
  • We acknowledge that silence is support for the oppressor.
  • We acknowledge the role racism has played in the establishment of Oregon and the black exclusion laws prohibiting black people from settlement until final repeals in 1926.
  • We acknowledge that the Oregon Recreation and Park Association is a white-led organization with inherent systems of privilege; that the industry of parks and recreation is largely dominated by white culture.
  • We acknowledge that ORPA, staff, board, or individual representatives cannot speak for an entire race or culture; nor is it our role to set the narrative for these groups.

Articles and Resources

 

More diversity, equity, and inclusion resources in the ORPA Resource Library

 

Tools for Action

Tags:  dei  equity  racism 

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Just Ask Jan: Wanderlust

Posted By Amanda Parsons, Wednesday, June 10, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Dear Jan, 

For the last 7 years I’ve worked at the same community center in my home town.  I love my co-workers and my community.  However, opportunities to move up are infrequent.  The last position I applied for my agency ended up hiring from outside.  I’m thinking about leaving my center to find a promotion in a new place.  What advice do you have for finding (and securing) a job outside of my agency?

Sincerely,

Wanderlust

 

Dear Wanderlust,

Your question brings back fond memories.

I worked a long time at my first position in the town where I lived and that job served as a foundation for every position I have had since. There are many mentors and friends to thank for the experiences, training and encouragement!

You know when you are ready to move on, and good for you that you recognize where you stand. First order is to plan and map out where you want to be in the next 5, 10, 15 years in your career. While you are looking at other position recruitments, is there training that you are interested in pursuing?  Ask yourself if you are willing to commute or possibly move to a different community, state or country.

My advice is to look for a position with responsibilities that are similar and a bit elevated compared to the one you have now. Make sure the position description meets your expectations. Freshen up your resume, check out and read up interview skill websites, and practice interviewing with your friends and family. Then, go ahead and apply to various jobs that are of interest to you.

Please don’t wait until you feel burnt out, taken advantage of and/or uninspired.  You will find the right fit, it may take some time, so don’t get discouraged, keep trying and you never know, another position may pop-up in your current agency!

Chin up, and Good Luck!

Sincerely, 

Jan

 


 

Jan Wirtz is the Recreation Superintendent at Lake Oswego Parks & Recreation.  With her years of history comes sage career advice for park and recreation professionals at any level in their career.

Submit a question to Just Ask Jan to be answered in an upcoming newsletter.

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Just Ask Jan: Shifting Gears

Posted By Amanda Parsons, Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Dear Jan, 

I’ve been working in recreation programming for 3 years, and while I enjoy the environment of parks and recreation, I’d rather support my P&R department from an administrative level.  The work itself feels so different than what I’m currently doing – is it even possible to change careers?  What’s my first step?

Sincerely, 

Shifting Gears

 

Dear Shifting Gears,

If administrative work is your bag, Parks & Recreation is the perfect place to learn, develop and hone administrative skill sets! From tasks such as cashiering at the front desk to data entry to class and reservation permit management to registration software administration to promotional marketing and graphic arts focus to office management and contracting, there are so many avenues to explore in administrative support. 

I recommend starting with skills that you already have in your Parks & Recreation portfolio and examine your past education and work experience and start rebuilding your resume.  You can ask your current supervisor if there is a need within your agency for some project administrative assistance and then demonstrate your interest and talent in your abilities as an administrator.

Don’t be afraid to try different options and learn new software applications in areas of finance, human resources, and record management, legal, planning and building, permitting and other outlets to build your administrative resume.

Sometimes a job just pops up so don’t forget to check out the ORPA job board for openings at other Parks & Recreation agencies too. An opening may be right around the corner for you and I wish you luck with your search!

Sincerely,

Jan

 


 

Jan Wirtz is the Recreation Superintendent at Lake Oswego Parks & Recreation.  With her years of history comes sage career advice for park and recreation professionals at any level in their career.

Submit a question to Just Ask Jan to be answered in an upcoming newsletter.

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A Message from ORPA President Rachel Dials

Posted By Amanda Parsons, Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Message from President Rachel Dials

Watch the video

 

Transcript:

First and foremost, I hope that you, your family and friends are staying safe and healthy during this challenging time. If you are like me you’ve gone through every emotion as our days are filled with emergency plans, zoom meetings, work-at-home directives, self-quarantining, social distancing, and adapting to the “new-normal”.   

There is no playbook (or notebook that Leslie Knope could follow) for how best to respond to the rapidly evolving concerns related to COVID-19.  We are navigating an uncharted course while keeping our panic and our fear in check.  All the while leading our teams from a distance, from our homes, or from our empty community center buildings and offices.

While there has been much uncertainty in the world, I have been encouraged by each of you and the leadership shown around the State of Oregon. Your ideas, your engagement and innovation, and your collective energy inspires me.  It is proof we are maneuvering through this time together.

Of course, we couldn’t come together in the ways we have over the past month without the leadership of ORPA and the staff, Michael Klein and Amanda Parsons.  I’m here to remind you that ORPA is here for you!

 

·      The Admin Section is hosting weekly conference calls.

·      Webinars from all around the country are being listed on the ORPA Calendar.

·      ORPA has launched a new Forum where community members can connect.

 

All of this is available on the ORPA website.

Please reach out to myself or the ORPA staff if you have suggestions on how we can serve you better within the Association. Your input does matter.

We are in this together and we will get through this together.

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Just Ask Jan: Last Man Standing

Posted By Amanda Parsons, Wednesday, April 8, 2020
Updated: Friday, April 3, 2020

Dear Jan, 

Our agency (like everyone else) has shut down facilities.  While I've been lucky not to be laid off or furloughed, I'm having to take on the work of everyone else on our team whom we've lost or let go.  Programs may be on hold, but it doesn't mean we can just stop... we still need to work for the future.  However, talk about coronavirus has taken over everything and I'm feeling overwhelmed.  I have so much work to do, but can't seem to focus on any of it.  Help!

Sincerely,

Last Man Standing

 

Dear Last Man Standing,

My heart goes out to you and I am grateful to you for sending this question.  There will be many Parks & Rec pros that feel your same distress with the current abnormal situation.  Even though things seem to change every day and there's new information to absorb, I think we all feel a similar grief about our losses. 

During this season of serious COVID concerns, it's so important to put your priorities in order, and the number one priority is YOU!  Use all the resources you know of to take care of your needs.  You can't help anyone or with anything if you aren't feeling well physically or emotionally and there's never been a more important time for self-care.  If all the COVID chatter at work makes you anxious, step away from it or limit your engagement time.  Can you work remotely or partially remotely?  If no, then take some quiet time to breathe and calm yourself during your workday and home life.  

The second tip I'd like to share is to revisit your favorite way to organize and sort the stuff!  Sometimes a familiar and orderly process helps you feel like you're in control and then you can make some progress and feel better about the work happening now and in the future.  Through your organizational process, you can identify the volume, categorize and prioritize the tasks that you've inherited, and put together your plan of attack.  You may discover some tasks that someone else might be able to take on and some tasks that you can perform more efficiently if you bundle and integrate them with your current tasks and some tasks that just won't get accomplished.  Hi Boss, can you help me???

These times won't last forever and it's good that you reached out.  We're in this together and We Are ORPA!

Sincerely, 

Jan

 


 

Jan Wirtz is the Recreation Superintendent at Lake Oswego Parks & Recreation.  With her years of history comes sage career advice for park and recreation professionals at any level in their career.

Submit a question to Just Ask Jan to be answered in an upcoming newsletter.

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Just Ask Jan: What Is My Role?

Posted By Amanda Parsons, Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Dear Jan,

 

I supervise an ongoing long term project and am responsible for the end result.
The members on the team come from different departments and report to different supervisors.

When issues come up, I sometimes find myself questioning my next step.

I am looking for some tips as to what to address, what to let go of and when to potentially talk to their direct supervisor.

 

Sincerely,

 

What is my role?

 

 

Hi there 'What is my Role?'

I hereby empower YOU, well, someone else did first and I second that! Your role is the supervisor, you were selected to lead the project, you are responsible for the results.  You set the responsibilities, the timelines, the check –ins, the deadlines and most importantly the expectations. If you do this and leave room for team building and bonding and accept respectful input and the team members don’t follow through, it’s on them, not you.

I think that instead of questioning yourself, you should question the members of your team if they don’t produce results. Hold them accountable, how many chances do they get? That’s your role too; you decide, and if they don’t meet the mark, then you go to their supervisor and ask for a replacement from that department.  No need for guilt, no need for questioning your abilities, move on, and don’t forget to recognize all the team members who do the work and get it done.  

Step by step, everyone shares in the glory, and the end result should be a fabulous party!

Sincerely,

Jan

 


 

Jan Wirtz is the Recreation Superintendent at Lake Oswego Parks & Recreation.  With her years of history comes sage career advice for park and recreation professionals at any level in their career.

Submit a question to Just Ask Jan to be answered in an upcoming newsletter.

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Just Ask Jan: Not Done Growing

Posted By Amanda Parsons, Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Dear Jan, 

Recently my agency has gone through a structural reorganization and an opportunity has opened up above my current position.  My long-time manager and mentor has recommended I apply for the job.  However, doing so means giving up parts of my job that I love and I'm not sure if I'm ready to take the leap.  How do I know if I'm ready?

Sincerely,

Not Done Growing.

 

Dear Growing, 

Wow!  A restructure is an exciting opportunity for an agency to explore and experience the job and challenges of change.  Employees can really benefit within the profession when this type of situation occurs.  For you, the question begs the answer if you are ready to take a different path.  Would you be willing to self-reflect and ask yourself these three questions?

  • Are you ready to grow both personally and professionally?
  • Would you regret it if you didn't apply for the new position?
  • Lastly, would you enjoy teaching someone else (new role as mentor) how to perform some of the tasks you so enjoy presently?

From what I read in your message, you have a champion that has confidence in you and you have the prospect of a promotion and those don't happen every day.  If you can answer yes to at least two of the above questions, then you are ready.

Sincerely, 

Jan

 


 

Jan Wirtz is the Recreation Superintendent at Lake Oswego Parks & Recreation.  With her years of history comes sage career advice for park and recreation professionals at any level in their career.

Submit a question to Just Ask Jan to be answered in an upcoming newsletter.

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Just Ask Jan: Better Qualified

Posted By Amanda Parsons, Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Dear Jan,

At my job the manager I got along with so well retired.  The new manager is from outside the state and we don't always see eye to eye.  It is causing a lot of stress.  I know this person is my boss, but I've been here longer and know how things are supposed to run!  What do I do?

Sincerely,

Better Qualified.

 

Dear Better Qualified,

Adjust your attitude, please.  Seriously, flexibility and keeping an open mind to new ways of doing things is going to help YOU with your stress level. Your new boss needs support and you owe it to yourself to give the new manager the benefit of the doubt that the reason they were hired is because they have the experience and qualifications and they know what they are doing.

Yes, you may have to adapt to new ways and not that the past methods and approaches aren’t valuable, it’s just change. Have a sit down with your new manager and get to know the person as a person, not just as your boss.  Make sure that you find some common ground or interests and then never under any circumstances ever ever say, “We’ve always done it that way”. Explain to your boss what worked, what you liked about a certain style or approach and discuss what you two can do to make things work better.

Improvement in communication on something that you work on together will be the building block to a better working relationship, relieve your stress and you may learn something new and start enjoying new approaches. You may see a brand new appreciation for working with your new boss and while your past time working at your agency is great for your longevity record, learning and adapting to change can actually lead to a happier and longer life. 

Sincerely, 

Jan

 


 

Jan Wirtz is the Recreation Superintendent at Lake Oswego Parks & Recreation.  With her years of history comes sage career advice for park and recreation professionals at any level in their career.

Submit a question to Just Ask Jan to be answered in an upcoming newsletter.

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Oregon Recreation & Park Association
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