The City of Flin Flon has a new recreation director - and it’s someone Flin Flonners are likely familiar with.
Caitlin Bailey started as rec director this week, following a several-month vacancy following the departure of former director Andrew Smith. Bailey rejoins the City after spending several years working within the recreation department, including as a recreation programmer and administrator. Bailey, who graduated from the Univ. of Manitoba majoring in recreation management and community development, worked with the City from 2014 until she went on maternity leave in 2021.
Taking over the City’s top job in recreation will take a lot of time and effort, Bailey says, but its a job she already has some familiarity with.
“I would say it's exciting - a little bit nervewracking because it's a lot of responsibility, but I'm looking forward to it,” she said.
“I'm not going into it with any false ideas. I know how much work it is and everything, but definitely being able to reconnect with people that I've worked with in the past, that'll be good.”
Bailey’s main goals as director are to both promote community recreation and to find ties binding together the City with members of the community, helping out with community events or programs and bringing together people with different ideas.
“My goals are really that I want to see the City - the employees and the management and the council and everything - really reconnect to our community. I want to see our parks and recreation department reinvigorated. I think we have the potential to offer a lot of great experiences to the people that live in our community and the people that visit our community,” she said.
“I think the biggest thing is going to be reestablishing the relationships with our user groups and our volunteer groups, just our community members in general, recreating or reestablishing that connection by becoming more involved at a community level.”
Bailey’s appointment comes at a crucial time for recreation in Flin Flon. The City is still planning to build a replacement for the Flin Flon Aqua Centre and is still getting fully back up to speed following the pandemic, with some programs still not yet at pre-COVID-19 levels. Those challenges, she said, are part of why she wants to do the job and help local recreation thrive.
“I feel good about it. I think it's important. I think people see recreation and leisure as just fun - and it is and that's awesome, but it's what makes people want to live and stay in a community and raise children here and retire here and visit here,” she said.
“I think people, maybe in the past or people that don't understand it, have seen it as kind of a plain thing, but how important it is to our overall health, our mental health, our engagement that we have in our community. I think it's a great thing that there's a focus on that right now and that people are starting to understand the importance that it holds.”
Bailey is also the first born-and-raised Flin Flonner to hold the job in several years - she feels her background within the community can be an asset for the job.
“I think we live in a unique community and that not everybody understands that. I am from here, my mom was from here, grandparents are from here. I have a long line of Flin Flonners. The stories that I heard when I was younger, the things that my mom experienced, the things that my grandparents were involved in here, whether that be Trout Festival or other community events. I want to see that kind of stuff come back,” she said.
“I think that's something unique that I can offer versus someone coming in who doesn't have that attachment to the community or that knowledge of our history.”