Seasonal Workforce is Key to Success for Park and Recreation Agencies

Ashburn, VA (February 15, 2024)

New data available on summer hiring challenges and opportunities

Ninety-seven percent of park and recreation agencies hired summer staff in 2023, according to the newly released Summer Seasonal Hiring Report from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA).

The Summer Seasonal Hiring Report demonstrates the important role that park and recreation agencies play in creating memorable and enjoyable experiences for all members of a community. The significance of a well-equipped and well-trained seasonal workforce becomes particularly clear in the summer when an influx of visitors converges upon parks and parents look to their local park and recreation agency for youth activities while school is not in session. Many park and recreation agencies would not be able to meet their communities’ needs during this busy time without temporary employees. However, recruiting and retaining a summer seasonal workforce often have challenges.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Ninety-seven percent of park and recreation agencies hired summer seasonal staff in 2023.
  • The top three summer seasonal positions in parks and recreation were summer camp staff, lifeguards and maintenance staff.
  • Seventy-three percent of agencies partnered with local schools to recruit summer seasonal staff.
  • Nine in 10 park and recreation agencies experienced challenges in hiring and/or retaining summer seasonal staff.
  • Top challenges with hiring summer seasonal staff included individuals unable to work for the entire season and agencies being unable to match/exceed wages paid by other employers.
  • Fifty-six percent of agencies diverted permanent full-time staff from their day-to-day responsibilities to cover unfilled seasonal responsibilities.
  • Most park and recreation agencies aim to begin recruiting/hiring summer seasonal staff by February.

“Seasonal employees are key to the success of park and recreation programming,” said Melissa May, NRPA senior research manager. “As local park and recreation professionals get ready for another year of summer activities and programs, we encourage them to look for creative ways to recruit and retain staff. Partnering with local high schools or universities and incentivizing potential staff with bonus pay, rewards, swag and/or food have proven to be successful strategies for hiring and retaining these important positions.”

To read NRPA’s Summer Seasonal Hiring Report, click here.

To learn more about NRPA, visit


About the National Recreation and Park Association

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is the leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to building strong, vibrant and resilient communities through the power of parks and recreation. With more than 60,000 members, NRPA advances this mission by investing in and championing the work of park and recreation professionals and advocates — the catalysts for positive change in service of equity, climate-readiness, and overall health and well-being. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit