Saturday, May 16, 2009

Originally Published in "Around the Park", the Newsletter of the Prospect Park Track Club

Expand your Comfort Zone.

Back in the winter I attended a meeting of the Prospect Park Alliance. One of the speakers was in charge of The Park Greeters; it’s a program where volunteers greet people as they enter The Park and offer directions. As I understand it the program used volunteers stationed at main entrances to welcome visitors, give information about events and programs, deliver stewardship messages and even hand out garbage bags. This year, she said, the program will expand its mission. It will encourage people to expand their comfort zone. So many people visit The Park or a regular basis but visit the same place. The alliance wants them to visit another part of The Park….to expand their comfort zone.

This got me thinking. Do I have a comfort zone in Prospect Park? When I run I make a point to run a loop and each transverse road. Sometimes I dart onto a random path. I have run in The Park at 4:30am and 11pm and every time in-between. I have taken my kids to The Zoo; we have ice-skated, ridden the carousel and spent many hours in the Audubon Center. We have visited every playground numerous times. We have gone on class trips, school walk-a-thons and my son’s first grade class has a “tree” that we studied. With the Prospect Park Track Club we had had picnics, races and training sessions in every month of the year. So, I do not think I have a Comfort Zone. No one Comfort Zone for me, the whole park is my comfort zone

Then I thought about one day I had last summer. I woke up early and ran a loop. Then I woke up the kids and said “Let’s go the The Park”, and got a big Woo Hooo! With my son wearing his rollerblades, my daughter on a scooter we met a neighbor and his Mom on their bikes. As a group we biked / scooted / bladed / ran to the 9th St Playground. We stayed until we got hungry. It was too nice to leave for lunch so we ordered a pizza. Yep, pizza, plates, soda and cups delivered directly to our bench. (There is a use for cell phones). After the kids played some more we biked / scooted / bladed / ran to the Zoo! I think that day I became the poster child for “Expand Your Comfort Zone”.

People, if you have enjoyed what you have just read I want you to do some math for me. How many times a week do you visit/enjoy/use Prospect Park? Multiply that by 52. Now divide that number by $25. That would be you’re per visit cost if you join the Prospect Park Alliance and the Subscriber level. I will amortize it for you. I figure I get into Prospect Park 5 days a week (running, biking or just with the kids). Times 52 weeks is about 260 visits a year. If I donate $25 it is less than a dime a visit.

1 comment:

  1. that's a great formula. I heartily agree.

    We take the dog to the park all the time. It is a huge place and tons of people use it. Every weekend during the nice months, there are soccer games and little league.

    Whole families barbeque, even on overcast days. By the end of the afternoon, there are platefuls of food on the grass. I wish people would keep the park in better shape. It must take a lot just for maintenance.


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