Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Member Spotlight: Jay Tryon

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Member Spotlight: Jay Tryon

Article excerpt

At a very early age, Jay Tryon had a deep affinity for parks and outdoor play. In fact, he grew up just three houses away from a park that offered a summer program he attended every day. "The program consisted of a big red box full of games, arts and crafts supplies, and sports equipment, along with counselors available from 9 to 5," recalls Tryon. "It was something I looked forward to growing up, and I can say it impacted me as a child."

Tryon earned a bachelor's in recreation and leisure studies from State University of New York College--Brockport, and in June 2015, was named director of parks & recreation for the Town of Indian Trail in North Carolina.

Parks & Recreation magazine caught up with Tryon to learn more about his career in parks and recreation, overcoming self-doubt, and the qualities he believes are vital to being an effective director.

Parks & Recreation: What first drew you to parks and recreation?

Jay Tryon: I've had several people through the years who had a tremendous impact on my life, and I wanted to make that same difference for others. Many of these folks worked in some sort of a recreation-type job, and I knew I wanted to be around kids and families whom I could impact. Once I entered college and learned of the opportunities, it was an easy decision to pursue this as a career.

P&R: Going in, what did you think would be the most challenging aspect of being a leader in this field?

Tryon: My most challenging thought was being able to prove that I was capable of doing the job, even though I was a young professional given a leadership position. I remember my first week on the job and having to make a significant change to a park we were building. We had about six people in a conference room, and our town manager asked me what we had to do to fix the problem. We made the change and from that moment, I trusted my background and knowledge. I have been very fortunate to have many mentors who have always been there for me if I need them. That is one thing I love so much about our community of professionals.

P&R: Outside of funding, what do you see as some potentially major challenges for park & recreation leadership in the near future?

Tryon: One of the challenges we face regularly is finding that balance of programming and offerings for all ages. …

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