Using Demographics to Improve Your Community Center
One of the most difficult aspects of managing a community center is making sure that you are still a relevant resource for your community. As the community changes it is imperative that you continue to research these changes, stay informed, and be flexible enough to match the changing needs of the people of your community. Park and recreation agencies are confronting shifting demographics across the nations. While communities are quickly becoming both older and more multicultural, many parks and recreation departments are struggling to keep up. Today, Sports Facilities Management wants to discuss how your community center can keep up with changing demographics and mold your service to better fit the people of your community.
Knowledge and Flexibility are Key to Success
The mission of a community center when faced with changing demographics should be two-fold. First, learn what kind of demographic shifts your community is experiencing. Is your community getting older? What compromises your communities ethnic, cultural, religious, or national makeup? Learning who makes up your community is key to serving their needs. This can be done with outreach and focus groups. Something like an annual outreach program can keep your community center informed and allow them to better serve the changing needs of your city.
Once you have learned who you are serving, realize that a cookie-cutter approach is doomed to failure. Your program needs to be responsive. One neighborhood may be responsive to certain activities while another may not be interested. Finding out how you can better serve these neighborhoods through your outreach program will allow you to tailor your services to them.
Disregard Preconceived Notions
Once you have learned what demographics your community center will be serving, one pitfall to avoid is basing your activities on preconceived notions of what you think that community needs. A more effective approach is exposing communities to activities and then focusing on the favorites. Low-income families may not be familiar with camping, for example, but once they experience the joy of the outdoors they may find they enjoy it and will become more involved.
Build a More Diverse Staff
A community center staff should be reflective of the community in which it serves. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that your workforce ethnicity, age, and religious views are reflective of the population. Bilingual employees can open up a huge range of activities to communities that would be shut out because of language barriers. This can be done by posting job ads in multiple languages and maintaining a close relationship with hiring resources.
Contact Sports Facilities Management about Your Community Center
If you have questions about managing your sports facility or community center contact SFM today. You can call us directly at 1-727-483-7910 to speak with a representative. Or if you prefer you can email us here. We look forward to hearing from you and hope to help your community center better serve your community.