Have you ever thought about working in the field of Parks and Recreation? There are many disciplines that a recreation agency needs in order to operate. In fact, many agencies like the Naperville Park District function much like any other business and need to fill roles in the following areas:
|Planning and Development
|Food and Beverage
Are You a Good Fit for Parks and Rec?
As you can see, there are a lot of opportunities to pursue your career interests at a parks and recreation agency and you don’t need a degree that’s specific to the recreation field. Successful parks and recreation employees are passionate about many of the following aspects:
|Outdoors, nature, environment
|Enjoying an active lifestyle
|Highly collaborative, team-based work environment
|Role that requires problem-solving
|Ability to make a positive impact
|Role that relies on natural curiosity
|Opportunities to drive continuous improvement of the work environment
|Ability to work for and serve the greater good of a community
Many Applicable Areas of Study
A variety of undergraduate majors are applicable to the parks and recreation industry. Some of the areas of study represented by Naperville Park District staff include (but are not limited to):
The Path to Parks and Rec
Learn more about some of our current staff members and their path to parks and recreation. Understand the impact that their knowledge, skills, and passion for the industry are having in the Naperville community while contributing to their overall individual career development and continued growth:
If you are interested in a career in the Parks and Recreation field, learn what it's like from Naperville Park District staff.
Creative Services Manager
Director of IT
|Kristina McGrath grew up in Wheaton, Illinois and attended Benet Academy and then went on to complete her undergraduate studies as a student-athlete at Indiana University where she earned her bachelor’s degree in recreational sport management.
|Aileen McEldowney is a park planner at the Naperville Park District. In this role, Aileen is responsible for analyzing park land, open space, and recreational trends while understanding needs within the community.
|Spencer Huard grew up in Glen Ellyn, Illinois playing park district sports and enjoying nature as much as possible. During high school he developed a keen interest in computers which progressed to designing and developing websites.
|Steven Mertes grew up in Bourbonnais, IL and Spring Lake, MI, before earning his A.A.S in Computer Information Systems and a B.A in Business and Applied Science with a focus on information technology.
Listen to ParkTalk Podcast Season 34 Episode 1: Internships
Brad Wilson, executive director of the Naperville Park District, recalls highlights of his internship, which began his career at the District over 24 years ago, and he shares advice for college students currently seeking internships.
Listen to ParkTalk Podcast Season 34 Episode 2: Careers for New Graduates
Marissa Kula, a Naperville Park District staff member, tells how a part-time position in customer service at the Park District opened doors to new career opportunities for her in the field of parks and recreation.
Listen to ParkTalk Podcast Season 34 Episode 3: Science-based Careers in Parks
Ben Palczynski, Park Specialist II with the Naperville Park District, tells how his career has given him flexibility and the opportunity to apply his knowledge of horticulture in his daily work.
Do I Need a College Degree?
There are many careers at the Naperville Park District that do not require a college degree and offer on-the-job training as well as certification opportunities to help staff grow personally and professionally. The best way to learn more about our opportunities is to view our employment opportunities at napervilleparks.org/employment.
Work Here, Play Here
What makes the Naperville Park District a great place to work? According to our staff, there are many reasons:
“The Naperville Park District is an incredibly team-based organization with such highly-invested staff. It's great because staff are willing to share ideas and collaborate to make the end result of any project or initiative the best it can be. That's one of the main reasons I continue to find enjoyment and satisfaction working at the District - we're always striving for better.”
- Sameera Luthman, Director of Marketing and Communications