In the fictional town of Pawnee, Ind., home of the NBC television series “Parks and Recreation,” the town slogans can be a hoot. One sign reads, “Welcome to Pawnee: It’s safe to be here now.”
The Great Bend Recreation Commission has tried a few slogans over the years, encouraging people to “rec your life with fitness, rec your life with fun,” and so forth. But one phrase that has been in use for more than 30 years still rings true: “Life. Be in it.” The City of Great Bend’s Park Department and the GBRC are here to help.
Residents of Unified School District 428 pay an annual property tax to support the recreation commission. Each month, Executive Director Diann Henderson and her program coordinators report to a board of directors, explaining what the money was used for. In April, for example, GBRC offered 857.5 hours of supervised activities. People participated in activities 7,131 times. That’s a lot of soccer and ball playing, a lot of painted flowerpots, and a lot of programs about any topic you can imagine. The number includes 2,974 spectators — because watching a ball game is also an activity. There were also people sweating off pounds in exercise and fitness classes.
Those who think their tax dollars are only going to one group are missing out. GBRC programs run the gamut, with activities for toddlers, school-age kids, teens and adults. There are programs for special needs groups, senior citizens and families.
While Pawnee, Ind., may boast to being “First in Friendship — Fourth in Obesity,” Great Bend’s recreation and park departments are no joke. “Life. Be in it.”