MEETING ‘MOMO’ – Parks & Recreation Department making quality of life better and fun in Shelbyville

The weather this summer has been nice and cool and also hot and fun for the Parks & Recreation Summer Day Camp!  I visited the Shelbyville Parks & Recreation Department and their Summer Day Camp and had the opportunity to interview many great employees. My first interview was with Trisha Tackett who is the Recreation Director.  Trisha is responsible for the Summer Day Camp and for maintaining the city pools, hiring summer day camp counselors and lifeguards and planning seasonal events like Easter, Halloween and Christmas.


The Parks & Recreation Department has 12 full-time employees. Karen Martin is the Parks Department Director and oversees all staff and work and is responsible for the budgets. She is always working hard to make a good work environment for her staff.


Amy Wisker is the Sports Director and works with sports championships and events. Jill Camp and Wendy Wise are also part of the Parks Department administrative team managing the preschool and many other activities like zumba dance, yoga and many other fun events.  Jill and Wendy handle all the calls that come into the Parks Department and help with reserving the parks for private events.


Terry Pierce, Dennis Blunk, Gary Leffler and Allan Karnes are the Maintenance Team for the Parks Department.  Matt Tomas, Ron Vinson and Kris Martin are the Parks Department Caretakers’, they work hard to maintain all the parks, pools and some facilities keeping them nice, safe and clean.  The entire Parks Department Staff strive to make people’s quality of life better.


One day, Karen Martin took me on a tour of all the parks in Shelbyville. During driving tour through the parks she explained how things operate and the importance of carefully checking the parks to make sure they are kept in good shape. For example, checking to see if there might be any dangerous points, keeping the grass mowed, planting more flowers and so on. She is always thinking about what she should do to make the parks better.

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Shelbyville Summer Day Camp takes place from May to July (10 weeks). The day I visited Summer Day Camp, was a Kids Choice Day. In the morning, kids chose what they wanted to do.  Some played dodge ball while some watched a movie… After lunch, everyone went together to the Meridian Park Pool. The kids have a lot of energy they swam around for 3 hours and after coming back to the Civic Center, they started to play again. I was affected by the heat but kids were so active!


On the other day, I visited Trisha, the Recreation and Summer Day Camp Director. I asked about the planning process for the Summer Day Camp. This is what she told me: She starts planning for Summer Camp in April.  First she recruits the Assistant Camp Directors then she oversees all the planning and organizing with the Assistant Camp Directors. Each week has a theme and every summer a different schedule. Because they have kids ages 6-12 year after year, it is important that they keep the kids engaged and make thing fun.  Planning takes a lot of time and effort. After planning the program, Trisha recruits other counselors. The Parks Department needs a lot more employees during the summer season to help with the many different areas that make Summer Day Camp successful: camp counselors, help with concessions at the pools, life guards and so on.

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Trisha interviews and hires 65 people for the summer season.  During the interview process she determines if the person interviewing has a passion to work, play and have fun with kids or not. “So of course, personality is definitely important. It is perfect if they have work experiences with kids or they are studying elementary education. This type of employee is what makes the summer program so good” she said. She wants kids to have an awesome experience when they come to Shelbyville Parks Camp and take great memories back home. A couple of people who joined summer day camp when they were children have returned as counselors. This is why they have created great summer camps every year, I think.

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At the summer camp, kids just have fun! Kids create friendships and develop relationships to others and learn to care for others through having fun. Counselors always pay attention to the kids. At the end of the day, the camp counselors give fake money to some kids whose behavior has been good. Kids can use the fake money to buy what they want at the summer day camp shop every Friday. When I visited the final week of Summer Day Camp some kids had bought a ticket to have lunch with their favorite counselors! They saved all their fake money from camp to this “having lunch with your favorite camp counselor” ticket. This ticket is expensive! I think it’s interesting to see how some of the kids chose to use the fake money and shows their personalities. When you do something good for someone without expecting anything in return and then receive “unexpected” praise from others, this is a good, valuable lesson for the kids and also makes everyone happy.


I think it is very cool that they can see everyone’s smile. When Karen the Parks Department Director, took me visit the parks, I told her that it is good that she can see people’s smile while enjoying the parks she and others planned. She said even if the process is hard, she can easily overcome being tired when she sees kids playing at the park and hears them laughing. Trisha also said it is good to see kids’ smiles and parents’ smiles.

When I was with Karen, many people talked to her. She is always friendly and nice to everyone. Everyone has a bad day. But Parks Department people don’t show it at all. They are always nice, friendly and a delight. This is professional. Before visiting the department and talking with Karen and Trisha, I didn’t the amount of desk/office work they also have. I always thought they would be outside of their office. So I just thought their job looked fun. But a lot of desk work and efforts are hidden by the fun they put into their labors. And I know that all their hard work allows many people to have fun.

The Parks & Recreation Department definitely makes quality of life better in Shelbyville!


今年の夏は涼しくてとっても過ごしやすいですが、Parks & Recreation課 (以下Parks課)の夏は今年もアツイです!私はこの課を訪ね、サマーキャンプの様子を見せて頂きました。リクリエーション・ディレクターであるTrishaにもインタビューをして彼女の仕事の事や、サマーキャンプについてお話を伺いました。

Parks課は12人のフルタイマーを雇っています。この課のディレクターはKaren Martinという女性で、全てのスタッフの仕事が順調に進んでいるかを監督し、また課の予算を立て、収支を調節しています。彼女は常にスタッフが働きやすい環境を作る事を心がけています。

リクリエーション・ディレクターのTrisha Tackettはサマーキャンプの計画、プールの管理、それらに関わる全てのスタッフの雇用、またイースター、ハロウィン、クリスマスなどの季節ごとのイベントを指揮しています。スポーツ・ディレクターのAmy Wiskerは市で行われベースボールやバスケットボールなどの大会を運営しています。Jill CampとWendy Wiseはアドミニストレーターといって、オフィスにかかってくる電話を受けたり、オフィスへの訪問者の対応をしたりしています。Parks課ではプレスクールを運営していたり、ズンバ教室やヨガ教室を開催していたり、他にも様々な楽しいイベントを開催しているので、毎日予約や質問の電話がたくさんかかってきます。これらの対応をするのが2人の仕事です。Terry Pierce, Dennis Blunk, Gary Leffler, Allan Karnes, Matt Tomas, Ron VinsonそしてKris Martinは市内全ての公園、プール、施設を安全で清潔に保つために日々働いています。Parks課のみなさんは市民が気持ちよく生活を送れるように努力をしています。





サマーキャンプ中、子どもたちはただひたすら楽しみます!そして子どもたちはその楽しい時間を通して、友情、他者との関わり、そして周りの人を思いやる事の大切さを学びます。カウンセラーは常に子どもたちの行動を見ていて、その日の終わりに一日の活動の中で特に優秀だった子どもにサマーキャンプ内で使えるお金を渡します。子どもたちはそのお金を使って毎週金曜日に開かれるお店で好きなものを買うことができます。私が訪問した時はサマーキャンプ最後の週でしたが、何人かの子どもたちが2~3人のカウンセラーと一緒にお昼を食べていました。この子たちはサマーキャンプで手に入れた全てのお金をずっと使わずに貯めていて、“お気に入りのカウンセラーと一緒にお昼ごはんを食べられる券“を買っていたようです。この券は高いんです(笑) お金の使い方に子どもたちの個性が出ておもしろいなと思いました。普段過ごしている中で自分が意図してやったことでなくても、それを誰かが見ていてくれて褒めてくれたら、子どもだけでなく誰でも嬉しいですよね。



Parks & Recreation Department definitely makes quality of life better in Shelbyville!




  1. Yes, I agree with you, Momo, Karen Martin and company do an excellent job and they do “definitely make the quality of life better in Shelbyville.” As you highlighted, I think that the Shelbyville Parks and Recreation Department is especially effective with the wonderful things they are are always doing for kids. Case in point: The Summer Day Camp is a great program! Of course, they also do some nice things for adults as well. They maintain a really fine fitness center and they organize several adult activities, such as Zumba classes and leagues/tournaments for softball, basketball, volleyball, et al. However, on the other hand, I really wish there was some kind of organized adult tennis in this town (leagues, tournaments, hitting partners network, etc).

What are your thoughts?