Gathering Place: USA Today’s 2021 Best City Park in America
Now we transition from February, Black History Month, to March, National Women’s History Month. In 1980 President Jimmy Carter designated March 2 – 8 as National Women’s History Week. Then, in 1987, Congress declared the entire month in perpetuity to honor the extraordinary achievements of women in America. Please reach out to me and let me know how you and your kids will be celebrating.
I trust you are well and enjoying this beautiful weather we are having this week. Sunny and 70 degrees tomorrow??!! I’m loving it! It’s one reason why I decided to volunteer this week at Gathering Place. Please join me! I’ll be there tomorrow afternoon.
GATHERING PLACE, TULSA’S RIVERFRONT PARK
Like all high school students, I had a meeting with our counselor who asked me what I wanted to do after high school. I knew I wanted to further my education, but I didn’t know exactly in what field. I told him I love being outside and enjoying nature, which was one reason he suggested a Forestry position. I applied for the Forestry Management program at Hocking College just south of Columbus, Ohio. I was also a “people person,” so he determined that some kind of sales position would suit me. I applied for a Marketing and Sales degree at Owens College in Toledo. I ended up going with the latter. However, I still very much love the outdoors and take my kids to fun outdoor events whenever possible. And yes, I’ve taken them to Gathering Place many times. We are so blessed in Tulsa to have one of the greatest parks in the world.
This past weekend, Gathering Place was honored with another prestigious award: USA Today’s 2021 Best City Park in America
Tulsa beat out major market cities like Dallas, Philadelphia and St. Louis. The nominee list was compiled by park experts. Then, the top ten were voted on by readers. If you’ve not been to the Gathering Place, I highly advise going to the website and print out a map of the grounds. Just like going to any amusement park, have a plan and be prepared to toss that plan in the trash when you get there. Your kids will probably start dragging you (in a good way) from one attraction to the next because there’s so much to explore! I’ve been going there since “Media Day” in early September 2018. I’ll post some pics and videos of some of our visits over the years.
Since then, the park has garnered over a dozen awards, including Time Magazine’s World’s Greatest Places, National Geographic’s 12 Mind Blowing Playgrounds and USA Today’s 2019 Readers’ Choice.
This morning I talked to Kelsea Shaffer, guest services at the park. She is very excited to welcome all guests and encourages volunteers to sign up on the website. She said volunteers, staff and guests are required to wear masks and stay socially distant in the park. I have registered to volunteer for “Guest Services.” I’m not sure exactly what that entails, but it sounds like a general term for whatever needs done. Tomorrow is “Dog Play Wednesday,” so who knows, maybe they’ll hand me a shovel, a bucket and a clothes pin. Kelsea laughed when I told her that. I said: “Hey, I’m a volunteer, so I’m up for whatever you need me to do.” She reassured me that guests who bring dogs for Dog Play Wednesday are encouraged to pick up after their pets. WHEW!
Check back to this blog after my time volunteering, and you’ll see pics & vids of what I ended up doing.
One last thing about Gathering Place.
Next month founding Executive Director, Tony Moore is leaving his position to become President and CEO of The Trinity Park Conservancy in Dallas, Texas. Over the years, I have had Tony on my radio show many times talking about the construction of the park all the way to opening day…and beyond. His leadership and enthusiasm for the park are inspiring. And he’s not even from Tulsa! He was always excited to talk about the boundless opportunities the park has in-store for Tulsa and guests from all over the world.
Not only was he a professional radio interview, but off the air a fun friend to talk to about our mutual love of music. Vaya con dios, Tony. Perhaps I’ll see you at a Cowboys game next season.