Wauwatosa recreation director introduces himself
Michael Wick fields questions about costs, staff, goals in Q & A session
A new registration program, as well as a new director, have landed at the Wauwatosa Recreation Department.
The new registration system will allow residents to register for low-demand classes as soon as they receive the booklets, which will be mailed Monday.
The change comes after a bottleneck of people registering for classes last year caused the Recreation Department's website to crash, stopping some people from registering for the classes they wanted.
A few high-demand classes will be chosen each season to be held for special registration dates. This season, children's swimming classes and babysitting instruction classes will be opened for registration at 8 a.m. Sept. 7.
The department is now headed by Michael Wick. Wick replaced Rick Beattie, who was Recreation Department Director for 35 years.
The following is a question and answer session with Wick on his background and his goals for Tosa Rec during his tenure as director.
Who are you and where do you come from?
I grew up in Turtle Lake, Wisconsin, a small community approximately 60 miles northwest of Eau Claire. Growing up, I was actively involved in the community recreation programs, from swim lessons to summer school to any sport I could get involved in. After high school I attended and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a degree in Sports Management. During my summer breaks I returned home to teach summer school classes and athletic camps. It was at that point I knew that recreation was the professional field for me.
Upon graduation from La Crosse I took the position of recreation specialist/youth athletics at the Waukegan Park District, where I worked for about two years. From there I accepted the position of athletic coordinator at the Elk Grove Park Distinct, where I oversaw programs and specialty camps, indoor and outdoor community facilities (50 outdoor athletic fields, five gymnasiums, meeting rooms at three locations, etc.) and community events.
I am in my early thirties. My wife's name is Dayna and we have recently been blessed with a little girl named Lana who is 11 months old.
What's your favorite sport and what sport did you play when you were young?
My favorite sport to participate in is basketball but my favorite sport to watch is football. Growing up I was actively involved in youth football, baseball, basketball and golf. In high school I participated in football, basketball and golf.
What are your hobbies?
I enjoy playing basketball, golfing and attending sporting events and concerts. I look forward to having the opportunity to attend a few more Brewers, Bucks and Packers games along with going to Summerfest and the State Fair.
What community groups or clubs are you involved in?
I look forward to becoming involved in Wauwatosa through groups and clubs. Before coming to Wauwatosa I was actively involved in the Illinois Parks and Recreation Association (IPRA) and IPRA recreation and athletic sections. I was also active on the wellness and green teams within the Elk Grove Park District. In addition I actively attended meetings and organized activities for the community youth football, baseball, basketball, softball, soccer and in-line hockey organizations.
Where would you like to see the recreation program five years from now?
I would like to see the recreation department regarded as the premier provider for recreational programs in the Wauwatosa and southeast Wisconsin. I want our department to be listed as a reason why people want to live in this community.
What changes would have to be made in order to get the program to where it needs to be, and how would you implement them?
I think we are on the right path; however it is vital for us to continue to stay on top of current recreation trends, solicit and implement new ideas and feedback from the community and continue to employ an excellent staff.
Does the recreation department have the budget necessary to provide the services you'd like and how do you strike a balance between affordability and quality programs?
The recreation department will work with the budget that we have. There will certainly be some challenges with the state freezing of community service funds, but those are items that are out of our control. As staffing and supply costs continue to increase, residents may see a fee increase in some programs. Our goal is to continue to offer excellent programs at an affordable price point.
The department recently changed its registration system. What will change and why?
The Wauwatosa Recreation Department's Fall Activity Guide will be in the mail beginning Monday, and on our website: TosaRec.com.
To make our registration process run smoother, Wauwatosa residents should register as soon as they receive the activity guide for most activities. Register online, by mail, fax, or in person at the Recreation Department office.
Registration for high demand classes, including Children's Swim and Babysitting Instruction, will begin Saturday, September 7, 8 a.m., at TosaRec.com. More information can be found on each page of the guide.
Non-residents may begin registering on September 11 (non-resident fitness class registrations will be accepted earlier due to September start dates).
What grade (A to F) would you give the department and why?
A. I think there are some wonderful things being done by the recreation department. I am fortunate to come to a department with excellent staff doing wonderful things in the community. That said, as I review our program offerings and meet with staff I think we are uncovering a few items that can be tweaked and have the potential to be even better, starting with the registration process.
Are there any facility upgrades or new programs that would benefit the department?
This community would benefit from the building of a community/athletic field house facility. A place where community events and programs outside of the schools is needed. Similar to any other community of this size, we struggle to find appropriate space for our programs, and while a field house may not solve all of those programs, it would go a long way to increasing the potential class offerings for the residents of Wauwatosa.
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