How One Utah Parks and Recreation Department Utilizes Pidj’s Community Text App

Busy parks and recreation departments take a lot of time and effort to run and successful programs require constant communication with the community. While some departments still rely on phone calls and emails to deliver program updates and information, some savvy departments have made the switch to a community text app.

Two-way SMS Improves Community Engagement

For Tia Uzelac, Pidj’s community text app is an invaluable coordination and communication tool. As the Arts and Special Events Coordinator for Farmington City Parks and Recreation, she regularly coordinates community events and needs to be able to communicate with thousands of people at any given time. Tia uses Pidj’s Bulk SMS feature to do just that, sending out important event information to upwards of 8,000 people with a single text.

As good as Pidj is at dealing with the big picture – it’s even more valuable to Tia when the big picture shrinks down from communicating with thousands to one-on-one conversations. Thanks to Two-way SMS, community members can respond to Tia’s texts with questions, concerns, or issues and she is able to answer questions directly and solve any problems as they arise.

A Novel Use of SMS Keywords

Farmington City Recreation Coordinator Emme Paget’s hands-down favorite feature of Pidj’s community text app is SMS Keywords. She’s got her hands full overseeing all of the rec department’s youth programs, as well as the tennis, baseball, and softball programs. Emme also manages the new softball complex.

With so many balls in the air, Emme relies on SMS Keywords to keep parents informed about their kids’ programs. Instead of reaching out to parents individually or through bulk SMS, she can make day-by-day updates to program information and simply let Keywords take over to automatically answer parents’ questions or respond to inquiries with up-to-date program information.

Having used SMS Keywords to help manage communications about existing programs, Emme found a creative new way to use her favorite community text app feature during Covid. In an effort to reengage the community, she set up a scavenger hunt using Pidj’s SMS platform. Instead of the traditional scavenger hunt format, she sent out texts with photos to the participating scavengers. The participants replied with preset keywords when they reached each new location until they completed the scavenger hunt. It was a novel use of SMS Keywords, for sure, and – according to Emme – it worked out perfectly.

SMS Surveys in Action

Sylvia Clark, another Recreation Manager at Farmington City Parks and Recreation, has dove into the deep end of SMS Surveys. As the Pool Manager, Sylvia likes to check in with both her swimmers and their parents regularly. She’s found that Pidj’s SMS Surveys are a quick, easy, and effective way to get honest feedback – particularly from parents whose kids take swim lessons at her pool. At the end of every lesson, Sylvia now sends out an SMS survey to see how the instructors did and if there are any ways they can improve the program. To help encourage participation, Sylvia sweetens the pot by offering a free pool pass in exchange for completing the survey.

Pidj is Hip with the Teens

Like many other recreational pools around the country, Sylvia’s pool staff is largely made up of teenagers working part-time around school and other activities. And also like most teenagers around the country, her staff prefers to communicate via text. Pidj’s community text app makes it easy for Sylvia and her team to communicate in groups and one-on-one about everything from scheduling to policy changes to pool closures.

SMS Tags and Building Programs

Gymnasium Manager and Program Coordinator Linda Weeks regularly uses Pidj’s various SMS features to get timely information about fitness classes and gym programming out to the community quickly and efficiently. For Linda, though, Pidj is also forward-thinking in its application.

While Farmington Parks and Recreation has a ton of programs for community members of all ages, there is always room for growth. That’s where SMS Tags come into play. Any time Linda is asked about a program or activity that doesn’t yet exist within the rec department, she creates a Tag to start a contact list for anyone who shows interest in that activity. For example, Farmington doesn’t currently have a junior pickleball program but she has received some interest. Now with SMS Tags, anyone interested in junior pickleball can join the list and will be updated with any related information if interest grows and a program is created.

Community Text Apps Make for Better Parks and Recreation

If you ask any of Farmington City’s Parks and Recreation program managers, community text apps like Pidj are the perfect communication tool for parks and recreation departments. From Bulk SMS and Two-way SMS to Keywords, Surveys, and Tags, Pidj’s SMS features make communicating with their community members simple, effective, and – dare we say – fun.

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