One tool I use to evaluate our full-time staff is biweekly reports the Recreation Division completes throughout the year. Recreation staff and I write summaries of our accomplishments during each two-week period. These are done to update the director, Bryan Hughes, and assist with budget and program evaluations. They also keep me informed. It’s typical to read attendance numbers from the various events, programs and classes as well as updates outlying progress and status of future programs.
I’ve written previously that Florence is my fifth municipal employment stop during my parks and recreation career and I admit, this department does more with less than any other. Admittedly, there are certain factors beyond staff control as to what can be accomplished. Budget is always a factor as well as staffing and the wants and desires of the community.
After a recent review of the 26 biweekly reports in 2019, I remove all modesty when I boast about the work output and quality of programs and events we offer. Our service to the community is not limited to just programs and events. The Parks and Recreation Comprehensive Master Plan process began in January and the final plan went to Town Council for confirmation on Monday. This plan will guide our program and facility planning for years to come.
We presented our usual events to the community, including Home Tour, Pooch Party, Eggstravaganza, Road to Country Thunder, Freedom Fest, Fright Fest, Junior Parada and most recently the Christmas on Main and Breakfast with Santa. The Florence Aquatic Center offered free swimming, swim lessons and a variety of water-related programs for teens and families. Our partnership with Arizona Humanities continued with the series of historic presentations in the spring and winter. Our ongoing after-school recreation program, Hanging After School, provides a safe and valuable service to parents. Concerts in the Park, Movies in the Park, Florence Youth Commission and youth sports leagues also continued throughout the year.
The Florence Teen Council, in its fourth year, continued to offer programs for youth. The teen council members also assisted with several special events in 2019. We were sorry to see program adviser David Lewis leave, but we’re excited about the work thus far and experience that his replacement, Stevie Lopez, brings to the teen council.
Last November was the first POWWOW (Produce on Wheels Without Waste) event with another scheduled for this Saturday. These are excellent opportunities to purchase up to 70 pounds of fresh produce for $12. Future POWWOWs are on the fourth Saturday from January through May.
This is a small summary of what our department’s offered the community. It does not include the senior center, fitness center, library and parks maintenance. All these divisions, along with recreation and administration, work together to provide the highest quality programming to our deserving Florence citizens and visitors. All the full-time and part-time staff thank the community for its support in 2019 and wish everyone a happy holiday season and prosperous and safe 2020.