Plano Parks and Recreation

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Tyler Elwonger - Summer 2014 Internship

Plano Parks and Recreation

The nationally accredited Plano Parks and Recreation Department is a key contributor of Plano's reputation as a city of excellence. Parks and Recreation enhances the lives of residents and visitors by offering outstanding parks, trails and facilities, a variety of enriching programs, special events and activities that contribute towards the health, well being and quality of life in Plano.

The department is responsible for the development, operation and maintenance of:

  • 83 public parks spanning more than 4,000 acres
  • 70 miles of paved trails
  • 69 athletic fields
  • 8 swimming pools
  • 5 recreation centers
  • 4 arts and cultural venues
  • Pecan Hollow Golf Course and Grille
  • High Point Tennis Center

Plano Parks and Recreation has earned the distinction of being accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA). This national accreditation recognizes Plano Parks and Recreation for excellence in operation and service.

Park and Trail System Map

Plano Parks and Recreation Mission Statement

Enriching Plano through parks, facilities, programs and resources stewardship.

Overall, the Plano Parks and Recreation Department is a remarkable one made up of many interesting personalities. They all complement each other in ways which allow for a cohesive machine that keeps the department running smoothly. This is a great department within a great city that wants nothing but the best for its citizens and will go to great lengths to achieve the goals they set.

Bob Woodruff Park

Job Description
     1.  Rec Aide duties
     2. Class programming
     3. Attend facility renovation and expansion meetings with architects and engineers
     4. Attend staff management meetings
     5. Attend execution community meetings and summer special events 
     6. Participation in the planning of summer special events
     7. Added administrative duties and projects as assigned

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities required for job:
     Skills - Effective oral and written communication skills
     Knowledge - Basic knowledge of the field of Parks and Recreation
     Education/Licenses - Student should be working on MS level in Parks and Recreation

Benefits, Opportunities & Achievements


My internship was unpaid; however, the experience and wisdom gained from professionals within the business has been and continues to be very helpful and enriching. I have had the opportunity to meet people within the field of Parks and Recreation that have decades of experience and who were willing to mentor and share that experience and knowledge with me. I learned how the Plano Parks and Recreation Department works and how it interacts with the various other departments within the city. I have a clearer understanding of the many levels of the business.


I have enjoyed several opportunities throughout my internship such as visiting parks and recreation centers and learning about the history, developments, goals and/or needs of facilities and various programs. There have been opportunities to work on research projects related to department needs. I have been engaged in the day-to-day activities involved in the business and decision-making processes through performing daily tasks and attending meetings from the lowest to the highest levels, which has given me a better insight and understanding as to what it is like to work in a parks and recreation department. I have also had the opportunity to volunteer at a couple of events this summer. The City of Plano has a program specifically designed for the interns from the various departments. The interns meet on Fridays to tour and learn about a different departments within the city each week. The program ends with lunch with the mayor. This was a great opportunity to learn not only how each department works but how they are integrated together to achieve the common goal of doing what is best for the citizens and city.


I researched and wrote a detailed report on food trucks in regards to how food truck programs work, licensing, facilities, types of food, popularity and successes in several Texas cities. I have also researched city ordinances with regards to special event parking. After Suburbia Festival the Parks and Recreation Department determined they needed a better way to handle the large amount of parking needed for the festival. I have achieved a better understanding of office protocol. However, my most enjoyable achievement may have been attending the budget meeting with the city manager where I was put in charge of shooting off a three foot confetti cannon at the end of the Parks and Recreation Department's presentation. It definitely got the city manager's attention.