Married to: David. Children are daughter, Jenna 7, and son, Ryley 4.
Occupation: Program coordinator with Maryville Alcoa Blount County Parks and Recreation.
Kelly Forster has worked at Maryville Alcoa Blount County Parks and Recreation for 11 years. She was hired on as program coordinator in April of 1998. In her position, she has become a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to organizing fun activities for people of all ages who enjoy what Parks and Rec has to offer.
“Basically I can program any type of activity I think the community is interested in. I plan, market and implement those programs, get the instructors, decide on cost, determine liability, set up facilities. It’s basically a job that does lots of planning.”
Forster organizes different camps, classes and activities. “I direct the 5K runs we have and some of our holiday activities. It covers a large gamut of things. We have people who will call and are interested in us offering a certain type of class. I’ll research it and, if it will be in demand, we go from there.”
The program coordinator said she enjoys her job in part because of the variety it brings. “It’s a really fun job,” Forster said. “It is not the same throughout the year. It changes. I’m never doing the same thing all the time.”
Forster said people in this area are trying to be more active, especially now as more people learn about childhood obesity. “We’re seeing more children who are getting involved in the programs, so we are therefore offering more programming for children.”
The program coordinator said that while Parks and Rec does have programming for adults, often parents tell them they’re so busy with their children, they often don’t have time to participate themselves. “We’re looking more toward wellness. People need to be able to find those outlets better. That is one direction we’re going to move to in the next few years - providing more activities for families,” she said. “It could take the form of offering something for adults so they are not just sitting and waiting for their children to finish a class. They can be a structured program, or just use of the walking track. We just want to offer more variety for the family.”
Forster said it appears that more and more people now realize Parks and Rec offers more activities than just softball and soccer. “They realize we offer dog obedience classes, road races, classes for a wide variety of activities,” she said. “We’ve marketed ourselves better so people realize we do all sorts of things. We’re interesting in knowing what they want to do so we can better program.”
The program coordinator said her job is rewarding because she gets to see people having fun. “They’re relieving stress, they’re smiling. It’s so rewarding to see people do that, especially now, with all the bad news that’s out there,” she said. “Recreation is always something I’ve loved so it’s a natural place for me to be. I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.”
25 Random Things About Kelly Forster
1. I love chocolate, especially dark chocolate.
2. Exercise is my hobby, and I love to be active and busy.
3. I love and appreciate many genres of music and could not imagine life without music.
4. I was born a “city girl” in Lafayette, Ind., home of Purdue University and moved to Tennessee when I was 11. I like to claim I’m a Southern girl though, and I have picked up the slight Tennessee “twang” over the years to prove it.
5. I was voted “Most Athletic” in high school and once held the 1-mile run record for the fastest female.
6. I used to be a bit shy in personality, but that all has changed as I have gotten older.
7. I absolutely love a good laugh and love to be a part of something that makes people smile.
8. In times of trouble, I turn to God for help. I could not imagine life without Him.
9. I like to be reminded of the “warm fuzzies” in life, and with that, I like to surround myself with good, happy, wholesome people who like to contribute to the betterment of society.
10. I don’t have much patience for selfish, self-absorbed people and pray that I will never ever be that way.
11. I hate green beans that have been frozen. They are chewy and absolutely not tasty.
12. I failed my driver’s license test the first time I went to get it for not coming to a complete stop before making a right turn. The “not-so-friendly” instructor never said a word at the time. She just stamped “Failed” on it when we went inside and ripped up my test in front of me. It has taken several years to get over that.
13. I got caught by one of those red light cameras last year in Knoxville for not completely stopping before I turned right on red. I guess the rolling stop sign deal came back to haunt me.
14. I do not like unexpected loud popping noises - balloons, gun shots, opening a can of biscuits - yes, I said a can of biscuits.
15. One of my embarrassing moments in life was when I went into a men’s restroom, “used the facilities,” and came out on a guy who was luckily just washing his hands. You would think I would have noticed the urinals right away as I passed by them, but somehow I didn’t.
16. I witnessed my grandmother dying last year, and it was one of the most powerful and spiritual experiences I have ever had. It truly touched my spirituality, and I am forever grateful to have been there.
17. I believe we all have a purpose in life. We just have to dig deep and be patient at times in order to figure out what it is. I also believe it changes from time to time.
18. I am afraid of heights, but yet I like to challenge that fear somewhat.
19. I have absolutely horrible handwriting, and I can’t seem to do anything about it. (The term “serial killer” handwriting has been used around me several times.)
20. I appreciate the wisdom of older people and think that most old people are just adorable.
21. I am “superwoman” when it comes to the thought of defending or protecting my family.
22. I am a night owl and not a morning person.
23. I try to wake up each day looking forward to what it will bring. I can say that life is pretty good overall. I don’t like things to get me down, and if they do, I don’t stay down long.
24. I absolutely love the mountains and the peaceful countryside. Being in these areas helps my mind to relax, and I am thankful that we live in such a beautiful county.
25. I absolutely love my career choice. It is a rewarding job where you get to add a little fun to people’s lives. I enjoy going to work every day.