New Hendricks County Parks Program Created to Educate, Involve Teens

Hendricks County Parks & Recreation is seeking Hendricks County teenagers who are interested in serving on the Active Council on Recreation Needs (ACORN) during the 2019-20 school year.

ACORN is a new program created by the department to educate teens about the variety of careers available in the field of parks and recreation. ACORN will also involve the teenagers in designing and implementing parks programming that their peers would enjoy, as well as planning and executing a day-long Indiana outdoor adventure.

The inaugural ACORN program is open to all Hendricks County residents who are freshmen, sophomores, or juniors in public schools, private schools, and homeschool programs.

Members of ACORN will meet with Hendricks County Parks & Recreation staff on a monthly basis from October through April to learn what roles park naturalists, maintenance crewmembers, and office staff play in the operation of parks. Each monthly meeting will also include hands-on, interactive activities.

ACORN was created by Assistant Park Naturalist Joe Lembo after the parks department identified teenagers as an underserved population. In a separate conversation, current park staff members discussed how they never knew about parks and recreation as a career opportunity until they were in college. They wished they had been exposed to that career path in high school.

As a result of those two discussions, Lembo designed ACORN to address both issues: to introduce high schoolers to parks and recreation careers through fun and interactive experiences, and to pick the teenagers’ brains on how the department can better serve the teen population.

Hendricks County Parks & Recreation received a grant from the Parks Foundation of Hendricks County for the 2019-20 ACORN program, and the selected teens will pay $50 each for dues. ACORN t-shirts will be provided, as well as lunch at every meeting date, and a certificate of completion at the end of the program that will look great on college applications and other future endeavors.

More details about ACORN and applications for the 2019-20 program can be found at Applications must be submitted by Sept. 20, 2019.

About Brian Scott

I play on the radio from 7 am -1 pm weekdays on 98.9 WYRZ and Follow me on twitter @WYRZBrianScott or e-mail me at

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