After hearing from some of the people mourning the loss of the Culver City Living magazine from the Culver City Parks and Recreation Department, Culver City Crossroads.com spoke to Dan Jassim, Recreation Supervisor about classes, finances and community connection.
“Well, the idea that we are losing participation isn’t true, and I can give you the numbers to bear that out. But when we shifted from paper to just being online, our department heard from very few people who complained. One of them actually called it ‘that throwaway newspaper’ making me wonder what kind of value it had for them anyway,” Jassim confided.
While karate and children’s music classes have suffered attrition, Jassim noted that these were classes that had been around for a long time, and new classes were being added to the roster, increasing the options and, most importantly, drawing in more participation.
“We did give plenty of time for transition, a full year in fact, and we did a subscription drive so people could get us their email addresses and get the online version with no interruption of service. Of course, money is a big factor, and the difference between putting out the paper and having a web site is the equivalent of a full time staff position.”
According to Jassim, who has been with the department since 2002, Parks and Rec has increased class activity. “In the 2011 fiscal year, we paid out $295,000 for instructors, we had to budget $400,000 for [instructors] in 2012 and then the same item in the budget for 2014 was $550, 000.” Classes are getting larger not and more instructors are being hired.
The trend is all about the family demographic; who has kids, who needs child care, and who is wanting to participate.
“And being online is a better platform, it’s goes hand in hand with going green.
One of the pet projects that I have to get done is move the site from being from pdf to html, and that will happen a soon as it can.”
Jassim is pleased with the work that Parks and Rec does, and feels strongly “the arts are important. That is what defines culture. And all the dance and music and theater classes that we have, it’s a big part of what makes us Culver City.”