Taking Multiple Responsibilities to a New Level

Spotlight Professional in Parks & Recreation - Kim Best

Describe the scope of your position in parks and recreation.
As the Director for Burien, I lead, plan, organize and direct the activities of the City’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services including recreation programs, arts, parks (25 parks covering 350 acres), buildings (the Burien Community Center, Moshier Art Center, and the Annex) and grounds maintenance. With that said, I really do everything I can to support and remove obstacles so that my incredible staff can do all the great work they do on a day in and day out basis.  In addition to managing the budget, I am the Department’s representative and advocate to the City Manager, City Council and peer agencies, and have a strong role with our capital improvement program, from acquiring funds through grants or other means, through project design and construction, serving as project manager on larger capital improvement projects.

How long have you been with your present agency?
I have been with Cheney Parks & Recreation since 2004. I started out as a volunteer for the first 3 months and then I became a part-time staff working in many areas. In 2005 I became a Site Supervisor at the ECHO Before and After School program, in 2007 I was promoted to the Youth Program Coordinator, in 2010 I was promoted to the Recreation Supervisor and then in 2016 promoted to Recreation Manager.

Background experience and previous careers.
I have worked in retail and the restaurant business as entry level and managerial positions before I began my career in the Recreation field in 2004. My background experience in the Recreation field has been in a volunteer position throughout the front office, a part time staff in the youth programs, officiated adult and youth sports leagues, volunteered coach for basketball, soccer and volleyball, planning and implementing special events, I have worked with preschoolers, senior citizens, adults and teens at multiple program levels. 

What were some of your first jobs, and what did you learn from them?
Some of my first jobs involved working with a diverse population. I learned that you need to be patient when you work with so many populations and personalities. It made me understand you have to get down to their level and get to know what they want or need. Working for a community you cannot please everyone even though you want to, it’s just not possible. 

Why are you passionate about the parks and recreation field?
I am passionate about the parks & recreation field because it allows me to be involved in the community, I get to work with all populations, every day is a different day, I get to play and participate in daily activities in the community but I also get to see the growth that the youth, teens and seniors do throughout our programs. 

What has been your biggest professional challenge?
My biggest professional challenge since I started in the parks & recreational field is finding quality staff who are passionate in their daily duties and are willing to go above and beyond.

What's the best advice you can give to someone starting out in the field of parks and recreation?
The best advice I can give someone starting out in the parks & recreation field is make yourself diverse in the field. Don’t just cling onto one thing or idea explore the field in many positions as well as working with different populations. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, create as many relationships with your community, put yourself out there, create partnerships with local businesses and don’t be afraid to try something new!