From classes to coaching — Moscow Parks and Rec offers UI students both work and play

University of Idaho students planning to stick around Moscow this summer can look no further than F Street to find a place to work, play and maybe even go birding.

Moscow Parks and Rec, specifically the Hamilton Indoor Recreation Center (HIRC), is offering jobs for college-aged adults through the coming months, as well as ample court space, a swimming pool and activity classes.

UI student Kelbi Irvin, who started working at the HIRC last year, said she loves to see all of the fun class opportunities come through the facility.

“This birding class is so fun, because a lot of older couples come in and they’re just so cute,” Irvin said. “I just love how excited they get when they go out and see the birds.”

From swimming to sewing lessons, the HIRC, one of many Moscow Parks and Rec facilities, offers a place for everyone in the community — even college students — to learn new things or just chill out, Irvin said.

“It’s really relaxed and people come there to hang out and play ball and get their stresses out, and I think that’s pretty cool,” she said.

Irvin said even though the university has the Student Recreation Center (SRC) on campus, the HIRC is another practical — and free — option for students looking to get away from the typically crowded SRC.

“As far as usability goes, there’s a lot more court space a lot of times in the evenings,” she said. “(My friends and I go to the SRC) to play volleyball a lot and we usually have to wait or ask people to move.”

Irvin applied to work at the HIRC after several on-campus jobs fell through due to the prioritization of work-study students. When Moscow Parks and Rec hired her, she helped organize elementary school soccer, but now works the front desk and oversees operations inside the HIRC.

Irvin said Supervisor Greg Morrison likes to hire college students over high schoolers because they have a few years on the teens who regularly use the facility. Though she said she doesn’t identify as an extrovert, it didn’t take long to love her position at the HIRC.

“I think it’s an incredible place to work,” Irvin said. “I didn’t really know what to expect when I was going into it, but the environment is seriously so friendly. At first, I was worried because I’m not super outgoing, but they all just welcomed me. I just belonged there.”

Morrison said despite the many jobs Moscow Parks and Rec offers, few UI students apply — something he said is “very frustrating.”

“You’re dealing with kids, you’re managing programs, you are dealing with parents whether it’s in a positive or a conflict area,” Morrison said. “Just going to school and getting your degree is not something somebody will hire you for. They want to know what else you’ve done. Even an engineering student should be out looking for something extra.”

These jobs include being a lifeguard, a summer camp organizer or a maintenance worker in the parks, Morrison said. He said student employees can easily make enough money to support themselves through the summer.

Morrison said Moscow Parks and Rec comes out with a new brochure about every four months, which details the various upcoming rec-league sports, camps and classes. He said members of the community come to him with class ideas based on what they specialize in — for instance, birding.

“I typically take just about anything that’s legal,” Morrison said, laughing. “We’re up for just about anything and everything that people would like to try.”

From pick-up volleyball and basketball games, to competitive horseshoe leagues, Morrison said the HIRC always has something going on.

“We’re here for the public, and students are part of the city,” he said.

Lyndsie Kiebert can be reached at arg-news@uidaho.edu or on Twitter @lyndsie_kiebert


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