Careers in Health & Wellness: Real Life Parks & Recreation

By: Jennifer M. Morrison

Who doesn’t love the NBC show “Parks and Recreation”? Entering its final season this year, I’ll be sad when I have to say “goodbye” to the crew who made me laugh while taking care of their (fictional) community. The show shined a spotlight on a department that most people take for granted and even fewer actually understood. If you’re looking to start a career with a health and wellness focus but don’t know how you’ll translate it into a paid position we have two words for you: parks & recreation.

Most local governments (towns, boroughs, & counties) have some form of a parks and recreation department. This department is in charge of maintaining parks and public open spaces. It’s also in charge of organizing events and activities for the citizens. Movie nights, exercise programs, low cost pre-school classes, after school care, and medical screening events are all typical activities organized and run by parks and recreation departments.

The best part of parks and recreation departments for those seeking employment is that you don’t need to have a wide range of skills to be a valuable asset. If your interests lie in focusing on the needs of the senior community, designing and administering wellness programs and checkups, social outings, or collaborating with local businesses to help meet the needs of those seniors who can’t get out into the community will be a perfect fit for you. If you love physical fitness, you can take your skills and apply it to operating sporting leagues and exercise programs for kids and adults alike.

Many local governments know the basic needs of their community but don’t have the time or resources to investigate fresh, new content for their citizens to enjoy. As someone who has been educated in the latest trends in health & wellness, you’ll bring a fresh perspective to your next employer. And while the adventures you find yourself may not be as animated as those on “Parks & Rec”, the results will be just as rewarding.