Marci Darlington started a new gig Tuesday as parks and rec director for the village of West Jefferson.
West Jefferson council members approved her hiring at their meeting Monday night.
“Marci is one person in the village with many ideas she has worked tirelessly to get going,” councilman Doug Eakins said. “I’m sure we’ll see our parks and rec department diving into things we hadn’t thought of before.”
Darlington, known foremost as the founder and decade-long organizer of the area’s Make a Difference Day, was one of eight individuals to apply and five to be interviewed for the new position which pays $20,000.
She is also a PAX good behavior program partner in local schools and is involved with several area groups working to address drug and alcohol addictions. Her family is working to launch Catalyst2Change, a nonprofit that will support a similar mission.
Taking on the parks and recreation director duties also aligns with those greater goals, she said.
“If we want to keep youth out of trouble, we have to offer them things to do in the summer and when they’re out of school,” Darlington said.
While working as an activities coordinator for Arbors West nursing home, she organized concerts in the park to provide a space for residents to interact with the rest of the community in an effort to reduce the stigma associated with nursing homes.
It’s an idea that could be re-purposed, she said.
“The community really liked that,” she said of the concerts in the park.
Darlington is also looking into other activities that could be hosted at the pool and potential adult leagues, such as volleyball.
“It’s always fun to plan to get people involved,” she said. “We have resources, we just need to utilize them better.”
During the winter months, she plans to focus on seeking out grants to update equipment and launch new programming.
Darlington and her husband, John, have lived in West Jefferson since the mid-1980s. Between them, they have five children, nine grandchildren and two dogs.
Council members created the parks and recreation position last month by combining the duties of three positions — parks and recreation manager, pool manager and events coordinator — which have typically cumulatively cost the village $30,000.
Darlington plans to have office hours, likely on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Village officials are working to set her up with an official email address.
Until then, reach her at village hall.
Reach Audrey Ingram at 740-852-1616, ext. 1615 or via Twitter @Audrey.MP.