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Town of Outlook Spotlight: Megan Anthony, Recreation Director

Overseeing the community's recreation operations has opened her eyes to what the job can entail.
Recreation director Megan Anthony says her job can come with all sorts of situations that keep her and staff on their toes.

OUTLOOK - Go and take a scenic, sunny drive to any town in Saskatchewan and look up what that community's recreation director is up to on that day.

The odds are fairly good that you'll meet someone whose job responsibilities entail a substantial list of things that are designed to grab the interest of that place's residents and get them involved in the happenings of their home community.

In short, it's a whole lot more than just "handling things at the local rink".

Megan Anthony is the town of Outlook's recreation director, and the young woman is enjoying the role that she's held for only a short time; a role that would eventually be bumped up to that of a 'main character' as opposed to that of a supporting cast.

"I started as the acting rec director in December 2020, and then I became the permanent one in June," said Megan, sitting down with this reporter. "I haven't done rec director jobs anywhere else, but I was in recreation for about ten years prior to this doing aquatics, so I managed a bunch of pools and offered private swimming lessons. I managed the Colonsay swimming pool in 2019, and I worked with K&K Swim School out of Saskatoon doing private teaching."

It was a chance encounter that would push Megan towards pursuing a job in the riverside community.

"So, Bonnie Pshyk used to work here, and I actually met her daughter in university," she said. "I was looking for a job after I was done working in Colonsay following that summer, and they said, 'Oh, well, there's a recreation position available in Outlook if you're interested', so I applied and got hired!"

When asked if she could describe what a typical day is like for her, Anthony borrowed from the book of previous interviewees for this series of stories and explained just why any particular Tuesday will differ greatly from that coming Friday.

"Well, I'll say the same as Luke and Crystal before - it's never the same and every single day is different," she explained. "Especially in-season. During the winter, you're focusing on the Rec Plex with all the hockey and curling going on, and the bowling alley has started really picking up, so that's good. I'm busy scheduling those facilities, maintaining them, applying for grants, and I do a lot of admin work. A lot of my work is also dealing with conflict, which can be a big one. So that's from October to April, and then April to September is usually the pool season and Kinsmen Park programming. Those are some of my favorite parts of my job, as I love the summertime. With that comes the responsibility of hiring and doing that process, and then once again, scheduling facilities and maintaining them, and dealing with conflict."

Being younger than a lot of the people who work for the Town, Megan's eyes were opened as to how exactly parts of the community work behind the scenes. It's allowed her to have a sizable learning experience while working on the job.

"If I'm being honest, because I haven't had a lot of experience in the management side of recreation, that side all in itself has been a huge learning opportunity for me," she said. "Learning how to apply for grants and how to word your grant application, things of that nature. I would say the most difficult part for me right now would be dealing with the conflict. I like to please everyone, but I'm learning that doesn't always work and sometimes you have to push through and keep going."

While those learning experiences can come with their own degree of difficulty, Megan says that feeling like you belong to a town and with its people is something that can feel incredibly rewarding at the end of the day. It shows her that despite the bumps and bruises that can come your way in doing your job, seeing the enjoyment that people have in what Outlook has to offer is a reward in itself.

"I love being a part of the community and doing all of the community events," she said. "I'd say that's probably the most fun part of my job; just seeing people enjoying the facilities that we work so hard to maintain is really heartwarming for me, and probably the sole reason why I do my job, so I'd say that's the best part."

What the public may not realize about Megan's role in the community is the wide berth of responsibilities that can and do come up on a day to day basis. Without a doubt, this job is so much more than writing reports or looking to make sure the washrooms at the rink are up to snuff.

"Coming into this job, you don't really have a set job description - it's kind of just like dealing with whatever comes up," said Megan. "I'd say all the behind the scenes stuff is something people may not know enough about. Things like how to make ice and how long it takes us to put the ice in; it's an art! Putting in ice is an art! Same with the swimming pool; from start to finish, there's a whole process that the public probably isn't aware of that we have to do to maintain it and keep our water levels and chemistry all good. Keeping things in conjunction with our health regulations is another big side of it."

It's those kind of daily, on-the-job learning experiences that have shown Megan that her role covers a stretching mile of responsibilities.

"Absolutely it has," she said. "I only ever knew about the pool side of things, so I already kind of knew what to expect as far as the process of opening and closing the pool, but learning the rink side of things was different. I had siblings that played hockey but I'd never played it, so learning how to put the ice in and doing all of that has been really eye-opening."

In Megan's view, Outlook stands out due to the way people are constantly thinking about ways for the town and area to grow and prosper, opening the door of potential and exploring opportunities for the community to create further enjoyable amenities.

"For me, coming in as an outsider, I really liked the river and having that kind of tourism aspect to the community, and I'm really interested in going into more of the community development side of things," she said. "I see a lot of potential here for community events and programming, and I'd say that's among the biggest things that stand out for me."

As for any last words that Megan may have for the community of which she serves, she says she's looking forward to what opportunities may be behind the next revolving door.

"Thank you for your support and understanding throughout my time here, and I look forward to continuing to bring more programming to the community," said Megan.