• Essay Project 2021

Essay Project 2021: The Influential Role of the Portland Parks and Recreation Program


By: Logan Wezensky


“Some play soccer, some run races, others read in quiet places” (Harley, “Recess”). The Portland parks and recreation program provides many opportunities for the youth and adults in the Portland community to stay physically active. The term recreation has a different meaning to everyone. Everyone enjoys various activities and has separate interests. One person may enjoy running while someone else enjoys playing soccer. The parks and recreation program provides many different opportunities for participation so that everyone can do what they prefer.


From structured programs to the parks or the river trail everyone can find something that they can enjoy and benefit from. Some of the benefits of engaging in these programs include physical activity, friendships, skill-building (such as leadership), and even benefits in the classroom for children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, physically active students tend to have better grades, school attendance, cognitive performance, and classroom behaviors.


The goal of this program is to maximize participation and offerings. In the last reporting year, there were 1,700 youths and 550 adults involved in Portland recreation programs. With this many participants, the program is destined to face a few hurdles each year. One of the biggest hurdles that this program encounters is acquiring enough coaches and officials. This hurdle is confronted at the beginning of each new season in both the youth and adult programs.


I have participated in several of the parks and recreation programs. The programs that I’ve participated in have allowed me to try new things and determine what I enjoy doing at a young age. Without these programs, I probably wouldn’t have tried all of these different things that I tried. I have been able to meet new people, acquire new skills, and learn the fundamentals of different games which have been beneficial to me as I’ve gotten older. Coaches of this program benefit in addition to the people playing or participating in different activities. Michelle Seavey has coached t-ball, coach pitch, and softball for over 10 years. She has enjoyed working with the kids and teaching them the fundamentals of the game. Coaching has allowed her to spend more time with her kids and positively influence them making the programs beneficial to her family along with the kids that she coaches.


Neil Brown, the director of the Portland parks and recreation program, was asked about the most rewarding experience in his years of directing. He had several reasons for why this program is so rewarding to him. For Brown, the best part is "seeing the programs in action, whether it’s a youth or adult program, participants or spectators, it’s great seeing recreation programs bring so many people together”. Brown also enjoys seeing everything come together at an administrative level. This includes getting all of the rosters, schedules, and programs built.


The parks and recreation program provides numerous benefits and opportunities to people within the community. To find more information on the Portland parks and recreation program you can visit https://www.portland-michigan.org/154/Parks-Recreation.


Works Cited

Brown, Neil. "Parks and Recreation Program." Received by Neil Brown, 8 Jan. 2021.

“CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 21 Apr. 2020, www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/physicalactivity/facts.htm.

“Parks & Recreation: Portland, MI - Official Website.” Parks & Recreation | Portland, MI - Official Website, www.portland-michigan.org/154/Parks-Recreation.

Seavey, Michelle. "Parks and Recreation Program." Received by Michelle Seavey, 9 Jan. 2021.

Vardell, Sylvia. "Recess" by Avis Harley, poetryforchildren.blogspot.com/2020/04/recess-by-avis-harley.html.


This essay is part of a writing project by students in Chandra Polasek’s ELA class at Portland High School. The project asked students to focus on elements of their own town while getting students engaged with the community. The essays were written with the intention of being published in The Portland Beacon.

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