A recreation manager supervises the operations of a recreational facility or organization. Most people in this job work primarily in community centers, parks, and other organized outdoor areas. They typically develop recreational programs and manage the facilities. The organizations that they oversee might be small or large, depending on the local population and the geographic area served. They often coordinate a large number of activities, for example by directing a department of parks and recreation.
Recreation managers usually work with people of all ages and backgrounds. They typically coordinate a variety of activities for adults, youths, and seniors. In general, some sports or athletic knowledge is helpful, since many recreational programs focus on promoting physical activity. The programs might take place both indoors and outdoors. Some examples include physical fitness programs and sports, including aquatics. Recreational programs can also consist of arts and crafts, other types of hobbies, and camps.
Schedules may vary but, in many places, the recreation manager normally works full-time. He or she generally works in an office, as well as outdoors if he or she is conducting outside programs. The recreation manager usually reports to a director of recreation, and often supervises at least one other employee. In addition to overseeing the daily operations of a recreational facility, the manager's duties can also entail a broad assessment of community needs and the development of ideas for meeting them with the help of his or her employees.
A recreation manager job description may also require acting as a contact person for community members and outside groups who might want to use the facilities. Therefore, the manager usually must have some community relations skills. Budgeting experience is typically important as well, so that he or she can document spending and track revenue, if necessary. He or she might also have to attend board meetings or other community meetings and events, as a representative of the department. An additional job duty might be to encourage community participation through presentations and public events.
These positions often require a bachelor’s degree in a discipline like recreation administration. Sometimes, professional experience in physical education is helpful as well. Usually, having a combination of recreational skills and an administrative background, along with good record-keeping abilities, is important in many recreation manager jobs. Many recreation programs require a combination of formal education, culminating in a degree, plus a certain amount of experience in the field. In other places, a recreation manager can be certified in the field, without necessarily having a degree.