Podcast Ep. 15 - Ray Delmege on Starting CCPOA and Seeing a Park Vision Come to Life

Shortly after Ray Delmege started his career at Polk County Conservation, he was assigned to Jester Park which was described to him as "a glorified cow pasture where motorcycle gangs and college kids came to drink beer and party."

If you've been to Jester Park lately, you know it's a long way from a "glorified cow pasture" today. In fact it's a poster child for what county parks can become when tenacious park and conservation leaders relentlessly pursue a vision for a better future.

I originally set out to find out more about Ray's experience working with Tom Hazelton (episode 12) and starting the County Conservation Peace Officers Association (CCPOA), which I did. But as conversations tend to do, we sidetracked into the history of Jester Park and that's where the real takeaway lessons came from, at least for me. 

It's easy to get lost in the day-to-day struggle of our professions. While it's fun to dream about what our parks and areas could maybe become, the reality of today's budget situations or political climates can wear us down and make us question whether our dreams will ever become reality. But in this conversation, I literally sat across the table from a past park professional that was there when one of the state's now most well-known county parks was little more than a "glorified cow pasture" where people went to party. 

We're playing the long game, friends. It takes us as leaders to bring the tenacity, the relentless pursuit of a better tomorrow, to make things like Jester Park happen. Our efforts will far outlast any political administration, any budget cycle, any hurdle that gets put in our way if we choose to be the leaders that future generations need us to be. 

So please enjoy this episode and I hope it inspires you as much as it has inspired me. And if it does, please share that inspiration with your colleagues by pointing them to this podcast. 

Thanks for listening!

Find this show wherever you get your podcasts.

OED on Apple Podcasts

OED on Spotify