Zanewood Recreation Center, Brooklyn Park Recreation & Parks
Brooklyn Park, Minn.
Salary: $16.42 per hour
My Organization: As an employee for the city of Brooklyn Park’s Recreation & Parks Department, Anthony Bates is based in the city’s Zanewood Recreation Center. The center recently began opening its doors seven days a week – school-year hours of 2 to 9 p.m. on weekdays, noon to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and 1 to 6 p.m. on Sundays – as a result of the city’s new youth violence prevention initiative. The center, which used to open only Monday through Thursday, now provides programs for children and adults of all ages, including the Teen Zone, an after-school drop-in program for seventh- through 12th-graders, offering such activities as flag football, salsa aerobics and movie screenings. The recreation center also offers a karate class, a drum and step class for fifth- through 12th-graders and Playtime for Tots, a program for parents and their children, age 6 and under.
My Job: Bates estimates he spends 80 percent of his time at the recreation center, with the remainder split between attending after-school sports programs and promoting the center’s programs at area schools. He supervises the teen programs at the center for youths 12 to 18 years old and is responsible for recommending any changes needed in those programs. He also serves as the liaison between outside funding agencies and community organizations.
How I Got Here: Bates received a B.S. in recreation, park and leisure studies from the University of Minnesota in 2008. While in school, he was an intern at the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, where he was eventually hired as a youth worker. He also worked at the Institute for Minority Development as a mentor for adjudicated teens. He moved to the Brooklyn Park Recreation & Parks Department a year ago.
Best Part of My Job: “One of the best parts about my job is connecting unconnected youth to programs that they wouldn’t otherwise know existed,” Bates said. “I’m just happy being in the same area or environment when the teens can come to an event, and I know their name, they know my name.”
Worst Part of My Job: “Not being able to provide transportation for youth to ongoing programs. It’s a concern when it comes to being able to get teens to do something positive and not being able to get them there because they live far away or their parents are at work,” Bates said.
Memorable Moment: “Being able to take 30 new youths to a [Minnesota] Vikings game. What makes this a memorable moment was this was most, if not all, of [the youths’] first experience going to a Vikings game.”
What Could Make My Job Better: In addition to increasing transportation availability, Bates said more healthy snacks, something the recreation center rarely has, would improve his job. “Teens are always asking for something to snack on or something to munch on,” he said.