It is a well-known fact that Dr. James Naismith, a Springfield College Professor, invented the game of basketball. It is a little-known fact that Naismith asked a maintenance custodian named "Pop" Stebbins to assist him with developing an indoor sport that presented the challenge and excitement of outdoor sports like rugby and football. One day in December of 1891, Dr. Naismith asked Stebbins to locate a couple of boxes. "Pop" cheerfully complied with Dr. Naismith's request but all he could find were two peach baskets. The result was the first game of basketball being played indoors on December 21, 1891 in Springfield College's Judd Gymnasium.
One hundred ten years later, another Springfield College professor and a select group of graduate and undergraduate students decided to review the 25 keys to world-class maintenance in park and recreation settings across America. This article describes the process this team followed and some of the findings of this nationwide research. This team of students and their professor intended to create a research survey that could annually assist maintenance crews in improving their focus in providing world-class maintenance in support of programs. Before you read on, if you have not completed this survey, you might want to provide your answers to the 25 keys to world-class maintenance so you can compare your score against the scores that the best of the best attained (see page 00). You will learn what keys to excellence Gold Medal departments focus on as they complete the maintenance processes necessary to support their programs.
Twenty-One Keys Become Twenty-Five
Prior to accepting the position as chair of the Department of Recreation & Tourism, Dr. Matthew J. Pantera III led several park and recreation departments that were recognized by the Gold Medal Awards program and NRPA.
Dr. Pantera identified 21 Keys to world-class maintenance based upon his 22 years as a practitioner leading some of America's highest-profile, award-winning communities. Dr. Pantera and the students then circulated a draft of this research instrument to 50 randomly selected directors of parks and recreation. Each of the directors was asked if the 21 keys represented an all-inclusive list. After several revisions the group identified four additional keys to world-class management, bringing the total to 25.
Research Survey Distribution
The survey included several demographic factors in addition to the 25 keys. It was sent to 237 randomly selected municipal park and recreation departments that represented every state in the union. Each site received a survey with a return envelope and the director of each department was asked to complete the instrument. The students also completed follow-up calls and e-mail reminders to respondents with missing information. One hundred ten surveys were sent back to the Department of Recreation & Tourism at Springfield College, of which 92 were complete. The student researchers were ecstatic, as this number represented a survey return-rate of 39%. Twenty-one Gold Medal award-winning departments and 71 non-Gold Medal departments responded. The respondents represented 38 of the 50 states in America.
Noteworthy Demographic Results
The states with the most respondents included Texas with nine and Illinois with eight. States as far away as Alaska and from every time zone responded to the student's requests for participation. The average number of maintenance awards for Gold Medal winners totaled seven while non-Gold Medal winners totaled zero. The profile of the directors' highest level of education was masters' degrees for Gold Medal departments, while non-Gold Medal winners completed on average BS and BA degrees. The gender for both Gold Medal and non-Gold Medal directors was predominantly male. The researchers did collect information on operating and capital budgets, as well as annual gift and donation accounts. …