Advisory Council Updates and FAQS

I was unable to make it to the meeting, what information was covered and where can I find it?

A soft copy of the meeting slides can be found HERE. 30 advisory council members representing 19 different councils attended the meetings. There was also representation from the ARC Board of Directors and employees of Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) and the Associated Recreation Council (ARC).

If you have any specific questions or would like to discuss the information from the slides in more depth, please contact Sebastian directly: [email protected], (206) 265-1378.

Will we have more opportunities to meet with other council members?

Sebastian will coordinate additional engagement opportunities focused on community building, efforts to reimagine recreation post COVID-19, develop new programming ideas and advance the citywide advisory council system. This work could include focus groups or small teams focused on improving advisory council member experience and effectiveness.

What is the role of advisory councils while centers are not operating at full capacity?

Advisory councils are made up of dedicated and passionate volunteers with a depth of knowledge and understanding of the unique partnership between SPR and ARC. Right now, your energy can be utilized to solicit donations to ARC’s General Fund, promote and participate in our virtual recreation offerings, appreciating staff on the frontlines, and connecting in a safe and healthy way with your neighbors. More ideas were shared on the Asks and Actions slide during the meetings.

What can we do right now to plan for when things reopen?

Currently, we are bound by the CDC guidelines and restrictions set forth in the planned phases of reopening. Your excitement and energy to reengage with community and bring together neighbors shows the dedication you have to your role as an advisory council member.

Even when we reach Phase 4, which may not be until 2021, we will be living by a different set of rules. Think about your most successful event or program and consider how it may have to be adapted to meet a more diverse audience while following new health and safety norms.

Watch for trends in recreational activities that include physical distancing and share those ideas with SPR and ARC staff; how can activities be adapted, what programs work well on a virtual platform, etc. The Big Day of Play event this summer will be a great example of potential strategies for your future events.

How do we reach community at a time when we need to remain physically distant and keep each other safe?

That is a difficult question and one that will take all of us to generate innovative ideas to build community during a time of physical distancing and uncertain health conditions. #SeattleTogether through the Department of Neighborhoods, showcases creative ways that neighbors have been staying connected during the pandemic.

We must remain conscious of which Phase we are in of the Governor’s reopening plan and appropriately follow guidelines. ARC and SPR are also limited to Mayoral approval for what they can do. So far, approval has remained conservative and focused on essential functions.

You as community members, not as representatives of ARC or SPR, have more freedom to connect with your neighbors. Connection is critical for everyone right now. As you connect with others, maintain safety by following guidelines set by CDC, public health and our local government.

How can ARC ensure the safety of staff beyond health screenings and following CDC guidelines?

Safety of our participants and staff is always our top priority. Unfortunately, we are never able to ensure 100% safety in our programs and at our locations.

COVID-19 has proven to be a very unpredictable virus that is difficult to contain. Each one of us takes a risk when we leave our homes. We strictly follow CDC guidelines and in partnership with SPR continually adapt our COVID-19 safety and response plan so it is responsive to the latest information and requirements.

Now that testing is free and available across Seattle, will you institute coronavirus testing requirements for staff and participants?

We are unable to control staff and participant exposure outside of the facility, so it is not feasible at this time to require regular coronavirus testing for admittance.

If a staff member or participant displays symptoms, does not pass the health screening, or states that they are living with someone who shows symptoms they are asked to leave immediately and to stay home until they are symptom free for 72 hours or they receive guidance from their primary medical care provider.

If a staff member or participant tests positive for COVID-19 they are asked to quarantine for 14 days and cannot return until they are able to show negative test results. In this case, all people who may have been in contact with that person are notified and the facility is cleaned according to the Washington State Department of Health and City of Seattle guidelines.

Free testing is available here:

King County announced that racism is a public health crisis. What is ARC doing to change its processes and systems and train its employees to end that crisis?

ARC has been engaged in race and social justice work through its partnership with the City of Seattle for several years. There are ARC staff and board members that lead racial equity trainings and work toward systemic change.

The organization is developing a five-year plan using the Race and Social Justice Initiative, Anne E. Casey, and Equity in the Center frameworks in collaboration with the ARC Board of Directors Race, Equity and Social Justice Taskforce. We also understand it is important to do this work in conjunction with SPR and the communities we serve so we have a representative on the SPR RSJI Change Team and will look to you as members of our community for ideas, support and accountability.

How can Advisory Councils work together to eliminate racism and increase equity?

In the past some councils participated in a sister council model in which advisory councils from opposite ends of the city partnered to support each other’s local efforts while working toward reducing budget disparities. We will explore this model again with input from advisory council members, ARC, and SPR staff.

Each of us have different levels of knowledge and understanding of the historical injustices in the USA and City of Seattle. It is important that we educate ourselves and continually grow in our understanding of the causes of inequities.

ARC will provide resources and develop training opportunities focused on understanding systemic, structural, and institutional racism and its impacts. Trainings are the first step in an action-oriented approach.

Next, community input will provide guidance for shaping an anti-racist and anti-oppressive recreation system. We are dependent on the voices of our advisory council members and the local community to help us reimagine what the future will look like and how to get there together.

Finally, ARC will work in partnership with SPR, the advisory councils, and our neighbors to perform the difficult and necessary tasks to change policies and procedures that contribute to inequity. Work of this nature takes time and ARC is committed to the journey.

Were all summer school-age childcare slots taken by families who work in emergency and essential services?

Emergency and essential service workers were provided the first opportunity to register for our summer childcare offerings. Next, the registration was open to families receiving a subsidy or scholarship and finally open to remaining families.

There is still space available in several locations across the city and ARC is working with community partners to fill those slots, including the City’s Department of Education and Early Learning. Availability is also posted on the State’s Department of Children, Youth, and Family website so social workers can access a list of our openings and fit children into those slots.

Since physical spaces are limited and childcare is a priority, will there be a loosening of rules for licensing spaces inside community centers?  How long does it typically take to license a space for childcare?

Public health guidelines limit us to how many people are allowed in the facility and ratios for childcare are determined by DCYF. At this point, because summer childcare is already operating at a loss it would be difficult for us to add more participants and increase the loss of revenue. Licensing a space takes a minimum of 90 days and is challenging in older buildings. There may also be competing needs for space as the City responds to the essential needs of the community.

What is Lifelong Recreation (LLR) doing to create opportunities for senior programming during the pandemic?

LLR staff were one of the first units to create virtual recreation opportunities for their participants. They partnered with the Seattle Channel to produce recreational activities aired on the Seattle Channel and are available online. Activities include guided walks, circuit training and cooking classes.

I think specifically about the Late-Night program. Especially in the times right now, our young men and women of color need more spaces they can be where they know they will be safe, know they can receive food and know they can be around people that care on a consistent basis. What is being done to address the needs of the teens this summer?

SPR is the lead on teen recreation opportunities in the parks, community and teen centers. ARC has occasionally provided financial support for staff, instructor, or supply costs when approved by the site advisory council.

This summer, SPR has proposed to the Mayor’s office to expand the Summer of Safety, SOS, program for teens across the city. This program provides recreation opportunities and free food for youth 18 years or younger in local parks. SPR staff will begin implementing the program as soon as they receive Mayoral approval.

Is ARC looking at any outdoor programming options as a creative solution to physical distancing requirements?

ARC is limited in its offerings as it must follow the requirements set by the City of Seattle. We are working closely with SPR to explore creative programming options and will support them as programming opportunities are approved.

Are you going to be working with the school district to provide academic assistance to children who are in your program and are required to do schoolwork online in the fall?

During our emergency childcare offerings this spring we did our best to support some level of help to students who had online schoolwork. Homework assistance has been a part of our childcare programs in the past and we will continue to offer that as part of our program moving forward.

This fall is yet to be defined by the school-district so we do not know exactly what the model will look like. We anticipate we will learn more in the coming weeks and make plans accordingly.

Will Loyal Heights Community Center be used as a shelter location?

SPR is offering shelter sites to help existing shelters in the city maintain social distancing requirements. Loyal Heights has been designated as a fourth shelter site to be utilized when capacity is met at the other three SPR locations.

How will programming opportunities be prioritized when centers reopen? Can we prioritize opening the low cost, low staff, low proximity services at the community centers, such as weights rooms? What criteria is being used to determine which community centers and programs will be reduced or cut as part of rebalancing the city budget?

As we look to fall, we know that childcare will be essential to what we do, and we will need to ensure that we have the capacity to meet childcare needs at the community centers and school sites. Once childcare needs are met there is a need to prioritize free and low-cost activities that meet the needs of youth, older adults, and residents with disabilities.

Programming opportunities will be focused in our geographic areas and the equity zones as outlined in the Office of Planning and Community Development comprehensive plan to ensure that we are providing opportunities for communities that may not have as much access as other communities. Specific programming options are not yet defined and SPR staff and advisory councils will be a part in helping define those options.

Thinking about how families use community center spaces; a lot of times it is a home away from home, a safe space or a second family. How will ARC move forward or brainstorm on how this can continue with new king county public health recommendations and requirements?

There is no clear answer.

Staff on both sides of the partnership are discussing creative solutions to our current circumstances. Opportunities for connection and community building is at the heart of ARC programming and a building block of community center operations.

It is important to keep that idea central to planning moving forward. ARC plans to engage Advisory Council members to help brainstorm how to create spaces that are a home away from home, while still following CDC guidelines, and will elevate your ideas to planning teams on both sides.

Will there be funding available to support reopening events and promotions?

We do not know when we will reopen or what that will look like. As we begin to near Phase 4 of reopening and learn of the Mayor’s proposed 2021-2022 budget, we will be better informed to begin planning. Until then it is difficult to determine what funding will be available and for what purposes.

How can we raise funds for our own center and next year’s event since this year’s was canceled? What resources are available to help councils raise funds? Is it ok for individual councils to have a GoFundMe or similar campaign with oversight by ARC?

We do ask that advisory councils notify our Development team if they are planning a fundraising campaign to ensure that councils are following 501c3 tax requirements and not duplicating the efforts of another advisory council. The simplest way to raise funds is to drive donors to the donation link on the ARC website: and encourage them to contribute toward the ARC General Fund.

The Development team will continue to solicit donations from corporate sponsor for large community events as they have in the past.

We are also exploring the use of Blackbaud Peer-to-Peer Fundraising™ developed specifically for non-profits as an alternative to GoFundMe. We will provide this information as soon as we have it available.

For more information and to begin a fundraising campaign please contact Sonia Doughty, ARC Development Director, [email protected].

Are we able to access and spend money now?

With no revenue being generated and summer school-age care expected to operate a loss, no additional spending outside of operational costs will be authorized.

Will the allocated charges from ARC to the individual councils be reduced?

The System Fees, such as the Par Fee, ARC Fee and Childcare Fees, are derived from Revenue.  Since many programs will not be operating or only partially operating there will be a reduction of the System Fees.  The amount reduced will be dependent on the strength or weakness of reopening over the next several months. 

Will ACs still receive their individual budget reports?

Advisory Councils will receive a Consolidated Financial Report each month for the foreseeable future.

Is there a chance ARC will run out of money?

We are in a difficult financial position. Without revenue we are forced to operate using reserves and small grants specific to an area of operation.

The ARC accounting team is working hard to develop cash flow projections and make necessary adjustments to ensure the sustainability of organization. The future is unpredictable, but we are doing everything we can to weather this storm.

With the loss of revenue and layoffs, why was a new hire for a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) position made?

A highly qualified CFO is of upmost importance to help ARC navigate this unprecedented economic challenge. 

ARC is the only non-profit of its kind in the nation.  It is deeply intertwined with SPR and most financial decisions are driven by the Master Services and Annual Services Agreements with SPR. For ARC to maintain the delivery of recreation and childcare programs, in partnership with SPR, a substantial accounting system is required. 

Under the leadership of Sharon Mauze, the ARC accounting team built a successful and intricate accounting department that continually adapted to the ever-changing needs of our community.  Sharon is moving forward with a well-deserved planned retirement and will be greatly missed.  Her successor requires a unique set of skills and experience to sustain ARC’s complicated accounting system. 

What is the Garfield Superblock project introduced by the Garfield Advisory Council?

The Garfield superblock located in Seattle’s Central District is shared by Medgar Evers Pool, play fields, Teen Life Center, Community Center and Garfield High School. The site boundaries are Cherry St. to the north, 23rd Avenue to the west and 25th Avenue to the east, and Alder St. to the south.   It is an effort to display the seven different ethnic groups that historically made up the Central Area.

Original Master Plan, 2005

Recent Improvements Survey, Feb. 2020

See the informational flyer: