Author – Jessica Geiszler, Marketing & Public Outreach Manager, County of San Diego, Department of Parks and Recreation
County of San Diego Employee Resource Groups (ERG) provide an incredible service to County employees and the local community. They promote educational and leadership opportunities, provide volunteer service and support cultural diversity. The County of San Diego’s Department of Parks and Recreation often collaborates with County Employee Resource Groups to help plan park programs that capitalize on these strengths and help support diversity and inclusion. During the month of May, two successful events were held in support of our local military community.
On Saturday, May 26, more than 200 hikers braved El Cajon Mountain for the Memorial Day weekend Warrior Hike Challenge. Arguably the toughest climb in the County, the 12-mile trail travels through El Capitan County Preserve to a summit that offers breathtaking views of San Diego’s inland areas, and on a clear day, the Pacific Ocean. The preserve is open most of the year but is rarely traveled by novice hikers. However, active-duty and retired military personnel are a frequent sight, so park staff brainstormed a way to celebrate the strength and stamina of these local heroes while also making it easy for them to share their trail experiences with family and friends. From that, the Warrior Hike Challenge was born.
The successful Warrior Hike Challenge came right on the heels of a second, related activity: Salute to Military Families. On Saturday, May 19 (Armed Forces Day), County Parks’ Lakeside and Spring Valley teen centers hosted an event for military personnel and their families and friends at Lake Morena County Park in Campo. Activities included hiking, mountain biking and kayaking – facilitated by both park staff and teens who were learning to become recreation leaders. Thirty people attended the event, including a strong contingency from the County’s Filipino-American Employees' Association.
“When we work with County Employee Resource Groups, we learn more about the employees in those groups and how we can provide better customer support,” said Jessica Geiszler, Marketing & Public Outreach Manager for County Parks. “We also get to share what we do with a highly engaged audience. Getting people outside, active and invested in their communities is in sync with the County’s Live Well San Diego vision for a healthy, safe and thriving San Diego. It’s a win-win-win situation.”
Expect to see more collaborations between County Parks and Employee Resource Groups in the coming year, along with a new diversity and inclusion web page on sdparks.org.