Government Job Profile: Recreation Coordinator

Girls practicing soccer drills on field
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While recreation coordinators can be found in all levels of government, they often work within city parks and recreation departments. They work directly with citizens delivering city services. They often work with youth and senior adults as these groups are the most common consumers of recreation services.

The work environment for a recreation coordinator can vary from day to day or hour to hour. Activities like basketball and exercise classes often take place indoors, but other activities like soccer and flag football occur outdoors.

Both settings require a recreation coordinator to monitor and often facilitate the activities.

Recreation gets adrenaline pumping through the human body. This can make for stressful situations. Arguments can easily escalate, and injuries can happen in even the safest of environments. Recreation coordinators must handle these situations with calm decisiveness. They must show themselves as authority figures while maintaining a customer service attitude. De-escalation techniques are good tools for recreation coordinators to use when situations get heated.

Recreation coordinators often work evening and weekend hours, but with such a fun and fast-paced work environment, this often does not bother those people already in such positions.

While government organizations use the terms coordinator and manager differently, for the purposes of this and related articles a recreation manager supervises several recreation coordinators.

Recreation coordinators may supervise part-time staff or volunteers, but their main function is to oversee programmatic operations. Recreation managers have more administrative and broad oversight duties. Recreation coordinators are sometimes called recreation technicians.

The Selection Process

Recreation coordinators are hired through the normal government hiring process.

Selections are made by the recreation manager who supervises the position.

The Education and Experience You'll Need

Organizations have varied education and experience requirements for recreation coordinator positions. When organizations require a bachelor’s degree, they tend to require less experience than organizations that require some college or an associate’s degree. Either way, the experience requirement is no more than a few years.

CPR and first aid certification is often required since there is a good chance that the recreation coordinator will have to deal with medical emergencies.

A driver’s license is also required since recreation activities can take place at a number of physical locations.

What You'll Do

Recreation coordinators plan recreation activities according to the demands of the population served within the resource constraints of the program, facility or parks and recreation department.

No matter what programs are offered, recreation coordinators ensure a safe environment for recreation activities. The physical environment must be clean and free from unnecessary obstructions. Rules designed to enhance safety must be strictly enforced. Recreation coordinators must be examples of safety and sportsmanship.

Recreation programs require equipment and supplies. Recreation coordinators keep track of equipment and ensure that it works properly. Unsafe and potentially unsafe equipment must not be used. Recreation coordinators also monitor supply inventories and alert purchasers when supplies must be reordered.

Recreation coordinators are responsible for scheduling activities. Schedules must take into account the desires of the population served, availability of equipment and supplies and availability of staff or volunteers to monitor the activities.

At times, recreation coordinators perform some custodial duties. The frequency of performing these tasks depends on the availability of city custodial staff or contracted custodial service providers. Recreation coordinators may have to clean up hazardous materials such as bodily fluids when injuries happen.

Routine cleaning and sanitization is done by custodial staff but may need to be done by recreation coordinators in extenuating circumstances.

Public relations materials such as flyers, press releases and brochures are usually created by the recreation manager or other parks and recreation department staff, but recreation coordinators may be asked to participate in their development. Public information officers are helpful in-house experts for these projects. Public relations materials are helpful tools for recreation coordinators when they explain programmatic offerings to interested citizens.

In health care or rehabilitation settings, recreation coordinators evaluate clients’ progress on their treatment plans. However, this type of recreation coordinator often has clinical experience and the expert knowledge to deliver therapeutic recreation. It would be a false comparison to equate these recreation coordinators with the more common variety.

What You'll Earn

Recreation coordinators do not make a lot of money. The precise salary range varies from organization to organization. Since recreation manager positions do not require extensive experience, recreation coordinators can quickly advance to higher level positions with higher salaries.