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How Do Trends Affect You?

Kathy Cassens

Did you ever take the time to study trends in society and consciously consider what they mean to the operation of your agency? When you read newspapers, business journals and books, do you ask yourself, "How does this apply to me?"

We live in a world where the pace keeps getting faster, and we are bombarded by more information than we can digest. In an attempt to help sort out some of the information that can be useful to park and recreation professionals and elected officials, this column was conceived. Its success as a useful tool will depend on sharing of information gleaned from periodicals, newspapers, journals, research studies and any other source of information that is available to those who take the time to read it.

Your first assignment is to read this column from the "how does this apply to me" perspective. Your second assignment is to use this approach in all of your reading and pass on anything useful you discover for use in a future column so that your fellow professionals and elected officials can also benefit. This is a new networking opportunity for all of us. Well, here goes the first of what will hopefully be a regular column.

More than three-fourths of the Illinois firms participating in the Management Association's Personnel Practices Survey sponsor social or recreational activities for their employees (see Table).

Company Activity Percent of Sponsors
Health Club 11.9
Softball 41.8
Racquetball 8.0
Annual Picnic 67.5
Christmas Party 75.9
Golf 39.5
Basketball 10.0

All of these items contained in this list are activities that your agency could be providing for the corporate members of your community. There are other activities, services and facilities that your agency has readily available that could also be marketed to the corporate community. For example, a recent article in a local business journal was bemoaning the lack of outdoor meeting space. Who better to provide outdoor meeting space than park, conservation and forest preserve districts? What facilities do you own that could provide an excellent outdoor business meeting site, especially during the school year when daytime use by the general public is reduced?

In another survey regarding leisure time conducted by the Roper Organization, people were given a series of categories from which to select answers to questions. A whopping 69 percent stated that spending time with the family was very important to their leisure time. This coupled with the fact that the census bureau tells us that fewer households in Illinois are headed by married couples, points out the need for family or intergenerational recreation opportunities. Another interesting item in the Roper survey is that 41 percent of those surveyed indicated that helping others is important to their leisure time. All park and recreation agencies have numerous opportunities for volunteerism.

Purchasing agents for American industry rate the quality of a supplier's goods or services the most important factor in making a purchase. In a poll commissioned by the Thomas Register of American Manufacturers, purchasing agents revealed that 83 percent rated quality their highest concern, followed by reliability and service at 73 and 70 percent respectively. Manufacturers are no longer checking for quality at the end of the line, but set and maintain quality standards for products and services used throughout the manufacturing process.

There is a lesson in this trend for all park and recreation service providers. It would not be surprising to find that the people using park facilities and programs have similar expectations for quality, reliability and service.

Have You Read...?

Service America by Karl Albrecht and Ron Zemke
Boards That Make A Difference by John Carver

Editor's Note:

Submit your two to three page, double-spaced typed Trends article to: Trends Editor, 211 E. Monroe St., Springfield, IL 62701. For more information on this column, call Tim Snodgrass at (217) 523-4554.

Illinois Parks and Recreation 31 January/February 1992

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