Chris Johnson is a student at Colorado State University, and is spending three months as an intern with Seattle Parks and Recreation. He’s working mainly with the Communications Office, helping develop the department’s website content with the goal of making information easier to find, and improving the visitor experience. Chris has also been assisting with the project to re-think community centers. This is the first in a series of blog entries that will describe his experience.
Seattle has been a great city to relocate to for this internship. I have spent all of my free time wandering the streets, museums, and parks, trying to take it all in.
Beautiful views abound in Seattle, many of them from Seattle’s public parks. There seem to be endless possibilities for recreation and exploration here – even for interns on a tight budget!
As someone who came from landlocked Colorado, I have especially enjoyed my visits to various beaches around the City, and watching the shipping and ferries travel around Puget Sound.
I was very surprised to find so much green here, being that I arrived around New Year’s. (Back in Colorado, it’ll be months before it’s warm enough for a sprig of grass to turn green.) The mild weather has been great. Even the fabled “constant” rain, and Seattle’s reputation for dreary weather has been less of an issue than I thought it would be. Of course it rains, but certainly not all the time, and it keeps things green – which is awesome!
Everyone talks about how great it is here in the spring and summer, and I’m really excited to experience the parks when the weather warms up a bit. I can’t wait to explore more of Seattle’s awesome urban hikes – like the Lake Union Loop Trail or the Longfellow Creek Trail.
When I first arrived in Seattle from Colorado, I didn’t really know what to expect. I had visited Seattle and the region before; even lived in Vancouver, B.C. for about 6 months at one point, but you never really know how things will play out until you are in the situation yourself. I was happy to find everyone here at Seattle Parks and Recreation very welcoming; they have seemed genuinely happy to have me here, which — of course — made me feel pretty good.
It’s interesting to watch how things are done in Seattle. It strikes me how much thought goes into even the seemingly smallest decisions. It’s clear that the department takes its responsibility to address the needs and desires of a diverse public very seriously.
I have heard of the “Seattle way,” and I think I’m seeing it first hand through the public process around re-thinking how community centers work. Earlier this month, I was able to take part in a Community Center Advisory Team (CCAT) meeting, where the CCAT members took an evening to discuss issues surrounding Community Center funding issues in a tough budgetary situation. I found that I was able to get to know Seattle in a whole new way by interacting with and just having conversations with people who really care about the way their City operates.
Seattle Parks and Recreation is huge and diverse . With 430 parks and natural areas, 488 facilities, and a total of 6,200 acres, or 11% of the City’s land area, the department touches the lives of so many people every day. I am very impressed with how hard the employees work, how much they care about their work and how passionately they strive to make the department better.
The people working here really take a personal interest in seeing things carried through, and maintaining a high-quality Parks experience for the citizens of Seattle, and that is something that I enjoy being a small part of.