Monday, December 19, 2016

Management by Christmas Garland

by Sandy Kellogg

Aquatic Operations Supervisor, Mount Vernon RECenter
Fairfax County Park Authority
VRPS Aquatics Resource Group 2016 Chair
VRPS 2016 Awards Co-Chair

I have kind of a goofy tradition at Christmas time.  I have long hair, always up in a ponytail, and I’m usually lucky if I can find a real hair tie instead of a pen, rubber band or even piece of string.  At Christmas, however, my love for the sparkles and glitter gets put in my hair.  No Christmas decorations are safe.  I’ve been known to put tinsel, garland and even ornaments on my head.  I’ve never tried Christmas lights, but there is a mini set powered by batteries at Target that I have my eye on.  It’s rarely the same twice, and at night when I take them out the decorations go right back on the tree. 

This has become a tradition at work, as well.  While I always just thought it was something kind of silly, it has had some interesting outcomes.  When I walk around the facility, people smile!  A lot of times I forget that I have an enormous candy cane bow on my head, and just smile back.  Customers have started looking for it, seeking me out to check out today’s decoration, suggesting things and even occasionally bringing in fancy stuff that goes right into my hair.

There is one more outcome to this silly tradition. It helps me remember the fun that should be at the heart of our profession.  No one joins Parks and Recreation because we love spreadsheets and budgets, meetings and strategic planning.  We are called to it through a love of the outdoors, the water, fitness, children, our community - whatever speaks to us.  When we forget the fun, our staff and facility feels it.  We get too busy drilling down pivot tables to have fun, and fun is at the heart of why we do what we do.  Whether you put garland in your hair, goofy costumes on for Halloween or bunny ears for Easter, just remember to keep the fun in your day.  Your staff and customers will smile and your facility will be a little brighter.  Not bad for a cheap decoration!

Happy Holidays!

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