LARSON: Gwinnett Parks offers more than a walk in the park

Susan Larson

Susan Larson

Congratulations to Gwinnett Parks and Recreation on celebrating its 25th year of providing recreation for Gwinnett residents. In 46 venues across the county, which include both a cemetery and a seminary, GCPR offers fun for everyone at every level, which can start by simply taking a walk in the park. More involved activities provide opportunities for residents to improve skills they already have, or to try their hand at new ones. Offerings include everything from bocce to belly dancing, fishing to Frisbee, roller hockey to resume building.

Wait, you have a question about that last activity? Resume building? Actually, that's one of the best programs Gwinnett Parks has to offer.

As everyone knows in today's economy, it's pretty difficult to find a job. It's also difficult to get any job experience to present when an employment opportunity does come along. Here's where GCPR can help build a resume, along with some references.

Parks volunteer coordinator Kim Shealy can name at least 25 ways to acquire work experience by volunteering. For teens wanting to get a head start, there are countless opportunities for Scouts to earn their Eagle or Gold Award, both of which stand out on any resume. GCPR also conducts their own Teens In Leadership Training for summer camp and other programs throughout the year.

For serious job seekers, opportunities abound in everything from art to science.

"We have graduate students that record the wildlife and habitats in some of the parks, volunteer photographers at our events and leaders for our night trail bike rides in the park," Shealy said. "We always need customer service volunteers to answer phones, and activity leaders to organize games like bridge and the Senior Golden Games. Artists can paint murals for their portfolios and we need technical people to work as engineers for the model train garden at Vines Park."

But the best opportunity is the GCPR internship programs.

"We are one of the largest parks and recreation agencies in the state as well as a National Parks and Recreation Gold Medal Winner, so it looks awesome to have a GCPR internship on your resume," Shealy said.

"AARP and Goodwill Industries, with the help of federal grants, pay for people to work as interns, so they are getting job experience while the parks benefit from the equivalent of volunteer labor. There are internship opportunities in landscaping, grounds maintenance, purchasing, marketing, warehouse operations, and administrative support, just to name a few. Any college student who needs an internship can come to me and I will customize the experience to meet their needs and provide the best opportunity possible," Shealy said.

So far this year, 80 Scouts have donated nearly 1,000 hours of their time and over 3,000 volunteers have put in 17,000 hours. All enhancing their resumes, helping their county parks, and best of all, having lots of fun. For more information, call Shealy at 770-418-2331.

Susan Larson is a writer from Lilburn. Email her at susanlarson79@gmail.com.


sarahldavis 3 years, 5 months ago

As always, Susan give us lots of good information. Whenever I go to walk at Tribble Mill, I think how this is my tax dollars at work--on something I really enjoy!


UBinGwinnett 3 years, 5 months ago

When my friends and family visit from out of state. Especially in the High Taxes land of the N.E. they are absolutely in awe of our Recreation Parks and Sports Parks. I am very thankful for them too. We def. do the parks thing right, here in Gwinnett.


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