New Key Pen Parks employee seeks to connect people, parks

Alice Kinerk Christina Hallock Courtesy photo

Christina Hallock may only recently have started work as Key Pen Parks' marketing coordinator/recreation specialist, but she's been contributing to a better quality of life for Key Peninsula youth and families for years.

With her children in PSD schools and her husband, Ric, coaching multiple sports through Peninsula Athletic Association, Hallock has long been a familiar face around local ball fields.  Additionally, in 2005, Hallock worked with a group to bring a community-accessible playground to Purdy Elementary. She's also been on the planning committee for the Maritime Gig Fest, Gig Harbor's signature event, for multiple years.

Now, after nearly a decade making a living in corporate marketing, she loves that her new job keeps her closer to nature. Since starting the job on Nov. 10, Hallock has enjoyed looking out the window to see fields and forest. Applying her professional skills to help the community is pretty great too, she said.

Hallock takes a logical, businesslike approach to improving the recreational offerings of Key Pen Parks. “We will see what the populations are that do not have activities geared to them, see where the needs are, and develop camps, classes and things to meet those needs,” she said.

After taking part in the annual Breakfast with Santa event at the Key Center fire station, Hallock is interested in partnering with other local organizations such the Red Barn, and possibly restart the Park PALS program as well.

Park PALS (short for people who all love to serve) is a program that gives older kids and teens a chance to volunteer in parks.  She said the youth volunteers are instrumental in making many parks programs possible, but during the interim between recreation specialists, Key Pen Parks had been too understaffed for anyone to organize and supervise them.

Among her immediate goals, Hallock plans to make changes to the Key Pen Parks website, especially working to improve the site's online registration system. According to her, for some time now, residents who attempt to enroll for park programs online have had trouble doing so.

“That's something that has damaged Key Pen Parks credibility,” Hallock said. “We're actively working to fix that,” she added.

Another priority is to let people know about all the beautiful, varied, multi-use properties the Key Pen Parks has. These include waterfront, miles of walking, hiking, biking and equestrian trails, ball fields, exercise courses, picnic shelters, conservation areas and more. “These are destination parks. I don't think people are aware of all the wonderful outdoor spaces that are available to them,” Hallock said.

Key Pen Parks Executive Director Scott Gallacher also spoke about the new staff member.

The job title had been changed from recreation specialist to marketing coordinator/recreation specialist.“We reevaluated the position based on the current needs of our organization and felt that we needed to add a marketing component. Christina's skill set met those needs,” Gallacher said.

While admitting she still has some work to do figuring out what all the responsibilities of her new job are, Hallock has been settling in quickly with her co-workers.“The people I work with are great,”Hallock said, adding that another item on her to-do list is a fresh coat of interior paint for the office.  Although they haven't yet decided on a shade, her goal is to paint the walls a “happy color.”