CLARENDON HILLS – As the new year quickly approaches, the Midwest Institute of Park Executives president is preparing to pass his torch and continue his work with the Clarendon Hills Park District.
Mike Fletcher, who doubles as superintendent of parks for the Clarendon Hills Park District, is coming up to the end of his one-year term as president for the Midwest Institute of Park Executives.
Fletcher said it’s been a relatively quiet 12 months.
“Last year, meaning 2013, was our 75th anniversary, so we had a lot of special events and promotions,” Fletcher said.
Midwest Institute of Park Executives, founded in 1938, is an association focused on promoting cooperation and education between park, recreation and grounds professionals from around the area.
“We’re about promoting professionalism in the park area, and through a series of monthly meetings we promote the park field itself,” Fletcher said.
The 300-member organization assists with continuing education by providing scholarships to the Illinois Association of Park Districts and other groups.
While operating as the association’s president, Fletcher said what he’s most enjoyed about the position was the camaraderie and meeting with fellow park employees and executives.
Becoming president is a five-year process, according to Fletcher. Candidates start at the bottom and each year are promoted to the next position.
“[It’s] so you understand what’s going on in the organization,” Fletcher said. “It’s a learning process, but at any given time you’ll have five board members in some capacity.”
Fletcher said past presidents have the option to seek the position again, although it’s an uncommon choice.
While serving as institute president, Fletcher has maintained his full-time duties for the Clarendon Hills Park District, where he’s been superintendent of parks for 21 years. He’s responsible for the Park District’s day-to-day operations, bringing items before the board of commissioners and implementing the board’s directives.
“It’s been a long time, but I like this type of work and I’ve enjoyed it,” Fletcher said.