Intern Articles

Tori Simpson

Apr 23

[ARCHIVED] Growing Up With TDRPD

The original item was published from April 23, 2021 11:22 AM to April 30, 2021 9:53 AM

I turned 40 last week.  It was a fun celebration with friends and family.  During the weeks preceding my birthday I found myself reflecting on where I am in life right now.   My reflections are happy - it is satisfying to think of the person I’ve become, the home I’ve created and the places I’ve been.  I am a real adult!  One repeating thought that I have is how I have spent almost the entirety of my adult life working for the Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District.  In many ways, we have grown up together.  

I started working at the Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District when I was 22 years old as a lifeguard in the Truckee Pool, an indoor 6-lane swimming pool with no windows.  My supervisor left TDRPD about 5 months into my job as a lifeguard and I went for the position.   I had few of the qualifications required for the job and applying was a long shot. But I showed my drive, enthusiasm and hard work ethic in that interview and the bosses took a chance on me.  I got the job.

When I became the Aquatics Coordinator at that high school pool my office was converted from an old janitor’s closet.  It smelt of chlorine and mildew.  Sweat would pour from the concrete walls and dehumidifiers would run constantly.  It was an old, sad pool - but I loved it.  I was able to grow the programming by becoming an adult swim coach, a water aerobics teacher, a lifeguard instructor and a swim teacher.  I also took over management of West End Beach and guided the growth of that place into a massive summer operation.  It is neat to think about the fact that my professional growth mirrored the growth of aquatics in Truckee and how my 22-year-old self would likely not have gotten the job that it had evolved into after 10 years of development.  

In the early 2000’s (when I first started) TDRPD was still a small-town recreation & park district. Even though plans were forming to make TDRPD bigger and better, the plans hadn’t come to fruition yet.  In 2001, when I first started, the quaint old rec center with its small gym, mixed use classrooms and thin walls was the hub of all things recreation.  I remember when Santa would come down from the freight elevator to greet the preschoolers and how the hallway would smell like crab for days after the annual Rotary Crab Feed.  

The growth (in both TDRPD and myself) has come in many forms through the past 20 years.  At TDRPD, we grew bigger and almost always better as we added services, parks, programs, staff and policies to our story.  In the world of Amanda, I became a wife and mother, a contributing community member and a leader.  Our District learned to be more organized, open and agreeable.  I learned to be less reactive, more self-aware and patient.  We all learned to communicate better.  

Through the years, sweat has poured in the gym, at the beach, in the pool and setting up for special events.  Tears have flowed at endings, during conversations and after injuries.  Laughter rang from every mouth, through every wall, on every playground and park.  We have played and played.  

These days the swimmers swim in a very new, very beautiful indoor aquatic center that I personally poured a lot of my own sweat, tears, laughter and play into.  I now have an office at the Community Art Center (aka “the old rec”) in a room that is bigger than my first three offices combined.  The freight elevator in that building can no longer carry Santa, but he still manages to make a visit every year through the front door.  And, thankfully, the Crab Feed has moved to the new Recreation Center, a building complete with a gymnasium that fits 1000 and has a commercial kitchen.  

It may be a stretch to compare myself to an organization but the truth is that I do.  So much of my life is tied to TDRPD and so much of where the District is today is the result of my, and my coworkers, hard work.  That connection fuels loyalty, love and pride.  And reflection on the growth has reminded me that life is about the journey, not the destination.  It has been a good ride and we still have a long way to go.  

Here is to the next decade!