Terri Bowen, senior recreation program manager for county service areas, wears many hats. She oversees recreation programs in seven locations from Blythe to Corona for the Economic Development Agency. And she is currently Acting Recreation Manager for the Idyllwild Recreation Program at Town Hall.
“I’m a fixer,” Bowen said. “I’m asked to see what can be improved with our programs and see that those improvements occur.” Right now Bowen and staff are looking at ways to expand Idyllwild recreation to serve broader community interests and groups. Bowen plans community outreach to ascertain what kinds of programs and directions Town Hall staff should pursue.
“We’re planning to attend community meetings such as Rotary and other town organizations, to speak about who we are, who is here as staff and what we have going on,” said Bowen. “We also plan to put fliers out at Idyllwild School, use Facebook and several marquees to announce what we’re doing.”
But it is community input about what residents want that Bowen and staff are primarily seeking. Bowen referred to a long list of programs available at other county recreation programs that could be imported to Idyllwild.
“I’m more than willing to bring anything that’s on the list to Idyllwild,” she said. “We just need to know what the community is interested in.” Among offerings at other county locations are senior lunches five days a week, with requested donations from seniors of $3 and for those under 55 for $5. Also offered are finance classes and life planning, mini health fairs, bereavement counseling and Leaders in Training youth programs.
“We’re also looking for instructors for classes,” Bowen said. “Instructors are paid. We’d like to know the kinds of classes community members want to have offered. We’re considering sewing, cooking, photography, hiking, biking and other classes for which we’d need instructors.”
Bowen said that the county is beginning to make repairs at Town Hall. The initial work is minor, such as installing parking lot lights for a safe egress for staff and customers and some plumbing problems. “A full assessment will be made once the county has the full rights to implement changes,” she said.
Bowen is here temporarily until a new recreation manager can be hired. She has been with the county in a number of capacities since 1998, managing a variety of programs including job training, program planning, welfare to work and as assistant museum manager for the Edward Dean Museum and Gardens in Cherry Valley. “I have an extensive background in event planning,” Bowen said. “I would like to see the Idyllwild program stabilize and grow, and bring in new programs and events for all ages.”
Working with Bowen are Jackie Franks, pre-K coordinator, locals Jeremy Teeguarden, sports coordinator, and Leeanne Issac and Wendy Watts, who work in the after school program. Recent Arizona State graduate Michael Rhinehart is a new contract employee who started this month as recreation coordinator.
“He’ll be helping me on the administrative side to develop and bring in new programs,” said Bowen, who invites locals to come by to meet her and Town Hall staff and to contribute suggestions about how to expand recreation services.