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Recreation Commission

The Recreation Commission is an advisory board comprised of volunteer citizens who provide valuable advice to Borough Council on recreation and parks matters within the Borough.  The Borough does not employ staff to support the Recreation Commission, so the board serves in a more hands-on manner than recreation commissions in larger communities.  Myerstown Borough has had a recreation commission since 1966.

The Recreation Commission meets on the first Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Room of the Myerstown Community Center.  They discuss operation of the William L. Derr Community Pool, maintenance of the Borough's parks, and recreation programs for Borough residents.

Creation
In accordance with the Borough Code, Borough Council, as the governing body, has the power to create or abolish a recreation commission.  Myerstown Borough's recreation commission was established by Ordinance 447 on November 7, 1966.

Membership
In accordance with the Borough Code, the governing body may appoint between 5 and 9 members to recreation commission, serving 5-year staggered terms.  Myerstown Borough Council appoints 5 members to its recreation commission.  Members are not required by the Borough Code to be residents of the borough.  Members of the recreation commission cannot receive pay for their service.

Functions
The functions of the Recreation Commission are as follows:

  1. Give Advice and Provide Recommendations
    The Recreation Commission advises Borough Council on all aspects of municipal recreation and parks services including setting policies and accepting grants, gifts, donations, personal property or real estate.
  2. Evaluate Services
    The Recreation Commission helps ensure that quality municipal recreation and parks services are provided by giving feedback to elected officials.  Board members 1) observe recreation programs and interact with participants, 2) visit park areas and recreation facilities and evaluate how well they are maintained, 3) assess how recreation and parks services are managed to identify accomplishments, problems and future direction, and 4) report findings to municipal staff and elected officials.
  3. Determine Budget Needs and Monitor Finances
    The Recreation Commission helps to determine community needs and establish priorities for spending to ensure that funds are available to provide an adequate system of park areas, recreation facilities and programs.  The board should fully understand how recreation and parks services are funded, make recommendations on operating and capital budget needs as well as fees and charges, and monitor the recreation and parks budget throughout the year.
  4. Become Knowledgeable about Funding Sources
    The Recreation Commission should know which federal, state and county grant programs it is eligible to apply for, as well as the foundations that may supply monetary support for recreation and parks.
  5. Develop Relationships
    Creating and maintaining cooperative working relationships with citizens, community organizations, businesses, elected officials, school districts and government agencies is essential for the Recreation Commission to improve services and effectively serve its community.
  6. Serve as Liaisons
    The Recreation Commission promotes the need for and importance of recreation and parks services to the general public and municipal governing body.  Unless citizens and elected officials are kept informed with progress reports, they can’t be expected to support recreation and parks services.
  7. Plan for the Future
    The Recreation Commission develops goals, inventories the existing park areas, recreation facilities and programs within the community, determines what the needs are and sets priorities.  This process is typically done in cooperation with elected officials and through the development of a comprehensive recreation, park and open space plan. 
  8. Implement Plans
    A board is an action-oriented advocacy group that helps to get plans implemented.  It should be involved in all major decisions that involve expenditures, particularly those concerning land acquisition and park facility development.
  9. Coordinate Services
    The Recreation Commission researches recreation and parks related services provided by other community organizations and coordinates activities with them.  This encourages maximum use of facilities and lower cost recreation services.
  10. Recommend Programs
    The Recreation Commission sets recreation program goals and helps to make decisions on the types of programs to offer.  Board members participate in activities and special events and monitor them to see community reaction to programs and recommend improvements.  
  11. Promote and Publicize Services
    The Recreation Commission promotes parks, recreation facilities, and recreation programs and services to the community by distributing materials, interacting with residents at sponsored events and sending press releases about activities to the media.
  12. Inform Community and Build Public Support
    The Recreation Commission serves as an ambassador and grass-roots connection for recreation and parks by supporting programs and services, working to enhance its image, defending policies and programs, keeping elected officials and citizens informed about progress and enlisting their help and support.
  13. Encourage Citizen Participation and Input
    The Recreation Commission serves as a community forum for new ideas, programs, policies and procedures for recreation and parks. 
  14. Recruit, Orient, and Train Members
    It is part of a the Recreation Commission's responsibility to recruit and orient new board members.
  15. Understand the Scope of Authority
    The Recreation Commission must read and be familiar with its bylaws and abide by them, and understand its authority, structure, and legal responsibilities. 

Learn More
To learn more about the role of Recreation Commission board member, check out the Recreation and Parks Board Handbook, published by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Recreation and Conservation.  You can download a copy by clicking the link below.

RECREATION AND PARKS BOARD HANDBOOK (pdf)

To learn more about the basic concept of recreation and parks in a community, check out Community Recreation and Parks, published by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Recreation and Conservation.  You can download a copy by clicking the link below.

COMMUNITY RECREATION AND PARKS (pdf)