The Recreation Department is in Good Hands!

By Donna Lane
Travis Farley, the new Superintendent of Recreation
Issue Date: 
July, 2017
Article Body: 

There’s a new kid in town! Only he’s not a kid. And, he’s really not new, but his job is new to him. Meet Travis Farley, the new Superintendent of Recreation.
The day Farley was interviewed for this article, he was literally running from meeting to meeting … addressing a problem, meeting with town management, and readying Hawes pool for the summer season, among other things.
He is immediately likeable. He walks and talks briskly but when he was asked to slow down, he laughed easily and said “take your time”. It’s obvious he’s heard the words “slow down” before.
Travis Farley builds rapport easily. Not too many young execs turn off their phones and give you their undivided attention. But that’s exactly what he did. He receives very high marks from this reporter for that one action alone!
Prior to moving up to the superintendent’s spot, Farley worked as the Program Director for the Recreation Department, starting in June of 2016. That is not a long time, but one senses that this very personable young man is a quick study. It is easy to see why his predecessor hired him.
When asked what plans he had for the department:
“Well, I’ve only been on the job for a week and a half, but I have some ideas," Farley said. "First and foremost, I plan to build off of what Jerry [Miller] did. I’ve got some pretty big shoes to fill. He was here for 24 years and he did a great job setting things up for the department. The fields are in great shape; the only thing left to address is the turf field at the Coakley. And I have a good staff.”
So how does he hope to not only fill those shoes but make his own mark? One of his first projects will be to improve the Civic Center.
“It really needs an upgrade,” Farley said.
While that is necessary, more interesting is his vision of introducing Therapeutic Recreation (TR) to Norwood.
What is that? According to the American Therapeutic Recreation Association, TR is a systematic process that uses recreation and other activity-based interventions to address the assessed needs of individuals with illnesses or disabling conditions as a means to psychological and physical health, recovery and well-being.
Recreational therapists work with clients to restore motor, social and cognitive functioning, build confidence, develop coping skills and integrate skills learned in treatment settings into community settings. Methods of accomplishing this include creative arts (e.g., crafts, music, dance, drama), sports, adventure programming, dance/movement and leisure education.
In addition, previously as program director, Farley was in a position to identify some areas he believes would benefit the Norwood community. One of these is an after-school enrichment program. He would like to partner with the PTA to offer more programs to school kids.
“If the kids can’t come here after school, let’s bring the programs to them,” Farley said.
He would also like to add tot classes and will be trying some new programs in the fall. His energy is palpable.
In addition to trying new things, Farley will have the day-to-day responsibilities for budging, payroll, staffing and evaluations, capital improvements and special events, such as Norwood Day and the “Extravaganza” held the weekend after Thanksgiving.
Farley is enthusiastic about his new job and what is possible in his field. HIs decision to chose recreation as his life's work came very close to home.
“My dad inspired me," Farley said. "He was the recreation director for the town of Brewster while I was growing up. I used to help him with lining the baseball field, I umpired when there was a game, and generally did whatever else was needed. A bit of everything.”
Farley attended Plymouth State University and received a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. He also received a Masters in Sports Management from Springfield College. He worked in college athletics for 10 years at Fitchburg State College and Boston University, supporting varsity sports, travel and facility needs. Subsequently, he was the Assistant Superintendent of Recreation in Marblehead for 3 years handling recreational programming.
Farley said one of the reasons he came to Norwood was that he wanted to make a difference in creative athletic programming.
“This is a very supportive town for recreation,” Farley said
A typical day you ask?
“No one day is the same," Farley explained. "That’s what I enjoy the most. It’s a fun job. You are out and about doing different things. Meeting different people. It’s really a lot of fun.”
Farley is married with one child with another on the way this fall. Please join us in welcoming this energetic young man and supporting him in his mission to “make recreation and all of its facilities better for the community.”
Donna Lane is a Norwood-based writer, lecturer and designer. You can reach her at [email protected].