TEAM TUCKER: CRYSTAL DAWSON, RECREATION LEADERWhat’s your professional background?
The majority of my professional career was spent working as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist with kids and adolescents in a residential psychiatric setting. I was a member of a multi-disciplinary team that worked to help the kids reach their treatment goals through our perspective disciplines. So, I used different types of recreation to teach kids things like social skills, self-esteem, anger management, self-care and coping skills.
Why did you come to Tucker?
As a young professional who transplanted to the Atlanta area after college, I have not lived in any one place for more than a year. So, truthfully, I happened into Tucker for a housing opportunity I couldn’t pass up. The people, the passion and the sense of community are what is keeping me here. And now, over a year later, I am feeling more at home than anywhere besides home (Wisconsin) and comfortable enough to really start planting some roots.
What has been the biggest challenge about starting up the first-ever City of Tucker Summer Camp at Tucker Recreation Center?
Wanting to do it all! I, as part of an extremely talented and innovative team, have big ideas and big plans. Creating a sustainable and successful Summer Camp takes solid groundwork, though, which takes time and patience. I need to constantly remind myself to complete Steps 1 and 2 before jumping to Step 6.
What are you most looking forward to with this Summer Camp?
Hands down, the kids. At my previous job, I had constant interaction with the kids I was working with. I miss that. I am excited to see campers at TRC engaging in activities, smiling, making friends and having a safe place to spend their summer. Being one of the people who is helping to provide that to the kids in this city is such an honor.
I am also excited for it to end. With this being our first year, and as prepared as we are trying to be, I know there will be room for improvement. I am excited to reflect upon the summer to evaluate our successes and hiccups. I look forward to feedback and ideas on ways to make Summer Camp 2019 even better. But, like I said before, Steps 1 and 2 are first.
When you’re not focused on Summer Camp, what are your day-to-day responsibilities in the Parks and Recreation Department?
I work closely with the other members in the department to ensure that our current programs have the support they need from us to be successful, meeting and talking with potential new programs, helping to manage our rentals and, most recently, taking the steps to start planning for afterschool in the fall.
If you had to describe your co-workers at Tucker Rec in three words, what would they be?
Funny, Kind, Hardworking. I know those sound so generic, but everyone here really is the cream of the crop and just such a joy to work with!
OFF THE WALL
What was your best and worst subject in school?
My best subject was probably science or math. Worst was definitely chemistry, which seems contradictory to my best subjects. But I just couldn’t get chemistry!
Who’s your favorite actor/actress?
The one and only, Mr. Tom Hanks.
Do you have pets?
KEANU!! He is my 6-month-old Plott Hound puppy that I am so in love and obsessed with. If you ever want to see a picture, all you have to do is ask.
What’s your philosophy in life?
Be kind and try my hardest.