Post contributed by Whitney Morris, Aquatics and Special Events Coordinator, City of Auburn
Building communities is essential to our daily lives and the lives of those around us. Without a healthy, thriving community to live in, we would not be able to enjoy the basic pleasures that so many of us take for granted: public spaces like parks or recreation centers, adult and youth sports leagues, or even recurring events that become staples in our yearly social calendar like arts and crafts festivals, outdoor concerts, farmers markets or rolling the Corner after football games. These are the kinds of activities that, while it may not seem like a huge impact, all play a part in our community’s life and health. The City of Auburn delivers or assists in the coordination of, in part or in whole, all of the abovementioned activities and events because our staff is dedicated to preserving and building up our community in whatever way possible. These things are essentially Auburn. Parks and Recreation maintains our local parks and facilities; Public Safety ensures the safety of Auburn residents and fans during football season; and Environmental Services celebrate Auburn University football wins just as much as the rest of us, even when it means cleaning up lots and lots of toilet paper. Without these things, there would still be a city named Auburn located along the eastern boarder of Alabama, but it would not feel the same. Our community is built upon all of these things.
From a Parks and Recreation standpoint, our events and programs help to unify Auburn citizens from many different backgrounds in many different ways. This programming also serves to introduce residents to new activities, possibly igniting passions for new sports or hobbies. Working for the City of Auburn, particularly in Parks and Recreation, grants me and my coworkers the unique opportunity to help facilitate the love of baseball in a child, introduce a new sport or skill to a retiree, host social activities that introduce residents to one another when they might not have otherwise met or help a small business owner reach new audiences and customers through arts and crafts events. It is these types of opportunities that the creation of communities and their perpetual health is built on; thereby making them sustainable.
When the City of Auburn hosts events, organizers spend time during and after the event talking with our patrons, vendors and other staff to determine what went well, what could be done differently and how we make the next time even better. It is through these open lines of communication that we create events and programs that appeal to and serve a wider spectrum of our residents. The creation of new events, or even the reinvention of longstanding ones, is a process and one that is not always easy. City of Auburn staff, whether they work for Parks and Recreation or Public Safety, take into account feedback we receive from employees and citizens in the design, execution and implementation of new programs, events and activities. It is important for us to deliver the highest quality services to our residents. You are our friends, family and neighbors. We want you to enjoy living, working and playing here as much as we do, because we all are residents of Auburn.
One thing that all Auburn residents can agree on is that our city is growing and changing. You can see it on a daily basis if you just look outside: new developments, school growth and the number of people who are moving to our area are rapidly increasing. It is a great place to live and it is only going to get better. This means that the City of Auburn will also face the challenge of helping to grow and build the city in ways that keep it a community. This is happening in both long-term and short-term planning. In the long-term, Auburn Parks and Recreation and the Auburn Public Library are currently in the process of completing the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Master Plan, which will bring new facilities and parks, expand current ones and create new opportunities for community events and growth.
In the short-term, we are bringing new events to our citizens and creating partnerships with organizations in our community, like Auburn University. In 2017, we implemented a variety of new events for the community at-large, including Bee Auburn, hosted by the City of Auburn and Auburn University College of Agriculture, is a celebration of pollinators and their impact on our daily lives; the Fright Nights movie series, a family-friendly movie series held in conjunction and hosted at the Auburn University Donald E. Davis Arboretum; Arts on the Hill, held in collaboration with the Jan Dempsey Community Arts Center, Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities and Auburn Arts Association to kickoff National Arts and Humanities month; and bringing ice skating to downtown Auburn, to spread holiday cheer in our community. Additionally, you will find monthly health and wellness-themed activities hosted by Active Auburn, the health and wellness campaign sponsored by Auburn Parks and Recreation. Through these types of events, and future events, the City of Auburn brings about new ways for our community to grow and develop together.
Building and shaping our communities to be unified and celebratory of our differences and common interests, ensures growth, change and perpetual health. The City of Auburn is tasked with and dedicated to pursuing excellence in all of these aspects of communal growth in every department. The events, programs and activities that Auburn Parks and Recreation host play a part in that growth. To learn more about our events and programming, visit the City of Auburn’s Website.
Whitney Morris is the Aquatics and Special Events Coordinator with the City of Auburn and the coordinator for the Active Auburn campaign. She oversees events like Downtown Trick-or-Treat, Bee Auburn, ice skating and the Fright Nights movie series. Active Auburn hosts monthly events that are health, wellness or fitness-themed in order to promote healthy lifestyles in the Auburn community. To learn more about Active Auburn, visit the program’s website.