Tag: organization

Pandemic causes travel organization AAA to urge members to reconsider Thanksgiving travel plans

An organization that’s been in the travel promotion business for 100-plus years is advising people to reconsider their holiday plans, have just small gatherings and perhaps stick closer to home this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Nationwide, AAA expects about 50 million people to travel this Thanksgiving season. In Colorado, the organization anticipates there will be about 897,000 travelers. Those numbers could be even lower as people monitor the surge in COVID-19 cases and the restrictions being reimposed to slow the spread, AAA said.

Gov. Jared Polis and other officials are urging people to work from home. Neighboring New Mexico has imposed a two-week shutdown of a broad spectrum of businesses as Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham warned the health care system is at a “breaking point,” the Albuquerque Journal reported.

Skyler McKinley, spokesman for AAA Colorado, said the organization is taking its cue from the experts this holiday season.

“As a membership organization, we have a responsibility to keep our members safe,” McKinley said. “If you talk to two sets of people, the experts in infectious diseases and the folks on the ground — at county health departments, in state government — those two groups of experts are saying now is not the time to travel.”

Economic troubles caused by the loss of jobs and business are also behind the AAA’s forecast of the lowest Thanksgiving travel volume in four years and the largest yearly decline since the Great Recession.

Car trips are expected to drop nationwide by about 5% this Thanksgiving, but increase in the West roughly 2% from Thanksgiving 2019. McKinley said.

One bit of good news is that those venturing out on the roads will pay less for gas. The national average price is expected  to be $2.11 per gallon, the lowest seasonal price since 2015. Colorado, motorists can expect to pay an average of $2.18 per gallon, down from $2.79 at this time last year.

AAA says air travel will likely drop by 47% nationally and nearly 45% statewide, with only 34,000 Coloradans traveling by airplane.

A survey by AA found that 73% of Coloradans are comfortable traveling in their own vehicle, compared to 28% percent who are comfortable taking a commercial flight.

Denver International Airport is anticipating a 36% decline in traffic from the 2019 Thanksgiving season, spokeswoman Emily Williams said in an email. The Sunday before and the Sunday after Thanksgiving are projected to be the busiest days, with about 50,000 people expected Nov. 29, which would be the airport’s busiest day since mid-March, she said.

“The airlines are taking every precaution that they can to protect travelers,” McKinley said. “The bottom line that we hear from the White House coronavirus task force and from governors is that if you’re going to gather, no matter how you get there, really limit the number of folks you’re going to see.”

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Bryan County parks and recreation leader founds organization to boost minority representation

BRYAN COUNTY, Ga. (WSAV) — A local parks and recreation leader says he wants to increase minority representation in the field through his newly founded national organization.

Dr. Samose L. Mays, Bryan County’s Parks and Recreation Department director, started the Minority Recreational Leadership Academy in October.

 Mays says he teamed up with several other parks and recreation leaders from places like South Carolina, Texas and California to kickstart the organization.

He says Minority Recreational Leadership Academy has been in the works since 2017.

The Minority Recreational Leadership Academy’s mission is to provide support to minority recreational professionals in areas including career advancement, academic empowerment, internships and mentoring within the parks and recreation industry.

Mays says prior to becoming a parks and recreation director, he had been a college dropout who later refocused himself to give his education another shot.

“I majored in parks and recreation, ended up getting a job in Bryan County in 2014 and quickly became a director,” Mays told WSAV NOW. 

“A couple years in, people started reaching out to me asking, you know, ‘how did you become director so fast being a minority,’ and how they could move up in parks and rec,” Mays said.

“I decided to found the Minority Recreational Leadership Academy to try to help minorities to rise in their career fields in parks and rec, and to learn how to be leaders and how to make a difference,” he said.

Mays says he’s uncertain of the exact reason for the apparent lack of minority representation in the field, but he hopes that he will change that through his organization.

“I want to be a person who can help others do the same things I’m doing but in a much shorter time,” Mays said. “It took me about 10 years to figure it out, but I think with people coming out of college with organizations like this and the leaders that we represent, I think they can help people move up a lot faster.”

Mays says there are plenty of potential career opportunities within the broad field of parks and recreation.

“You have maintenance, coordinators, athletic directors, athletic supervisors, summer camp staff and directors,” he said. 

“There are just so many different areas and people don’t realize it, and if you have a sports management degree, a recreational degree or a public administration degree, there’s a place for you in parks and recreation,” Mays said.

The Minority Recreational Leadership Academy is still in its early stages. Mays shares that this month, the organization started off with an introductory newsletter featuring the steering committee’s backgrounds and an overview of their mission and vision. 

It will be a quarterly publication that people can view and subscribe to on the organization’s website.

Mays says he and his fellow leaders will begin accepting members in about six months.

“One thing about our organization is we want to know what our members can do for the profession, not necessarily what we can do for the members, so that’s

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Vacation hoarding could become a problem at your organization: Here’s how to avoid it

Employees are avoiding taking vacation during the pandemic. As leaders we need to address the behaviors behind this phenomenon to avoid burnout and an end-of-year rush.

Man posing in bathtub

Image: nito100, Getty Images/iStockPhoto

Just when you thought you’d seen enough hoarding and panic buying for one lifetime, having witnessed store shelves devoid of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, face masks, lumber, and even coins, another hoarding epidemic is sweeping many organizations: vacation hoarding. While there are few reliable statistics on how workers use their vacation time, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that 73% of US workers have access to paid vacation time, and anecdotally, according to a recent article, many of them are refusing to use that vacation time.

SEE: COVID-19 workplace policy (TechRepublic Premium)

I’ve certainly been guilty of this phenomenon; despite a rather generous amount of paid vacation time, I’ve used very little of what I’ve been allocated. Like many workers, a significant portion of my vacation time each year is “use it or lose it,” in that any unused time disappears without any monetary equivalent. Like many workers, the uncertainty of the current environment had me banking days for reasons that ranged from hopes that the economy would reopen and cancelled vacations could be taken, to concerns about my family or me getting sick and requiring vacation time for recovery.

Isn’t unused vacation a good thing?

It’s easy to take a cynical view that employees not using their vacation, especially under a “use it or lose it” regime, is a good thing for the overall company. Vacation time is essentially a cash equivalent, where the company continues to pay workers despite the fact that they’re not working, and unused vacation is akin to employees willingly returning a percentage of their paycheck each month. However, there are two potential problems with employees hoarding their vacation hours.

First, a significant motivation for providing employees with paid vacation time is preventing burnout at work. Time away from the office can do wonders to reinvigorate employees during “normal” times, and these days the ability to recharge is even more important. This is doubly concerning since should conditions improve, there could be an explosion of economic activity in early 2021. If your company is full of employees operating in a zombie-like state due to mental and physical exhaustion just as the phones start ringing and you need their focus most, you run the risk of adding missed opportunity to the damage already wrought by COVID-19.

SEE: How companies are getting employees to take vacation this summer rather than hoard PTO (TechRepublic)

Secondly, at most organizations that reset the “vacation clock” on a calendar-year basis, you run the risk of a vacation rush at the end of the year. Employees who have been delaying plans may suddenly book that time away from the office, leaving you with a year end brain drain and skeleton staff. If the remaining staff are already suffering from burnout, asking them to pick up the work of their vacationing colleagues

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