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Simon’s Rec and Parks Journey Has Been Rewarding

Although Beth Simon did not start her career working in recreation and parks, it was a passion she developed when she was a teenager.

“In my early career, I served as a nursing home administrator in Springfield. After having my second child in 1992, I stayed home for five years to raise my children,” Simon said. “In 1997, I started working for the City of Hilliard at the Senior Center. I immediately loved working for the community that I lived in.”

Now, after more than 26 years as a fixture of City staff, Simon will be retiring from her full-time position at Program Manager in 2024 – but plans to stay on in parttime capacity as the future Recreation and Wellness Center heads toward its 2025 opening.

Over the years, Simon has had several different roles and has led programming for adults, homeschoolers, and preschoolers. She has been responsible for the senior center, volunteers, Hilliard Station Park, and special events.

Though Recreation and Parks might not have been in her original career plans, her background played a big part in her interest in the profession.

“I grew up in Massillon, and the YMCA was like my second home,” she said. “I was a swimmer, and my brother was a diver, so we basically lived at the pool. I loved all the programming the Y had to offer, from the swim team to rec programs to leadership club.”

Her first job as a teenager also was at the Y as a lifeguard and swim instructor.

“I went on to swim for Kent State University, where I ultimately majored in Community Recreation in hopes of continuing to live out my passions at a Y or Recreation and Park Center. I feel so lucky that I’ve been able to spend my career here,” Simon said.

It has been a rewarding journey, she said.

“Much of my time has been spent working out of the Senior Center. I absolutely love meeting members who are new to Hilliard and seeing them make new friends, join new programs, and get involved in the community,” Simon explained. “Many of them move here to live closer to their adult children and grandchildren and don’t know anyone when they first arrive. It’s been incredibly rewarding to see how our programming can allow them to feel right at home.”

Simon and her husband, Scott, have lived in Hilliard since 1993. They raised two children, Becky and Trevor, in this community. Simon currently has two grandchildren.

“I’ve been here for more than 25 years, and the people I work with have truly become family. I’ve seen their families grow, and they’ve seen me go from being a mother of two young children to now a mother-in-law as well as a grandmother to two babies. I’ll truly miss spending every day with the team. But, I won’t be going far, as I plan to still work for the City as a part time employee for the next few years! I also am eagerly looking forward to joining the new community center once it’s built.”

She said she and her husband plan to do more traveling, especially to National Parks.

“I plan to take up pickleball like all of the retirees I know, and enjoy the exercise classes and new pool,” she said.

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