Summertime…I love this time of year. I love being outdoors more, the feel of the sun on my skin, being in water, and even the work that comes from having a garden and flower beds.

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”
Audrey Hepburn

That quote reminds me of something I was inspired to post earlier this month on my personal Facebook page. (Does anyone under 50 still use that?) I shared some pics of a variety of blooming flowers.

Having just seen a new batch of graduation photos from colleagues all over the country (and even in Canada), I know that many of you can also relate to the parallels between our work and gardening.

The work we do often requires a leap of faith; when we provide trainings, development opportunities, and have one on one talks with students, there frequently isn’t an immediate return on investment. We hope some of it sinks in. But, often, you aren’t really sure until weeks, months, or years later. When you see them graduate, land that great job, or come back to visit that they tell you—directly or indirectly—how much influence working in campus rec had on them. Our work and our Association truly is believing in tomorrow and tomorrow’s leaders.

“We might think we are nurturing our garden, but of course it’s our garden that is nurturing us.”
Jenny Uglow

Of course, that is why most of us are in this field. It is rewarding to work in our gardens at home. But it can often be just as rewarding to work in our community’s campus recreation gardens. Personally, I feel like I get so much more in return for the work I do. I learn and grow and thrive as I help others to do the same. Working with students helps keep me young—both at heart and physically. As an educator, I believe we should lead by example and so I try to work out more often than I would if I served other populations.

Summer is a time to rejuvenate, both personally and organizationally. Sure, we still have a lot going on during the summers; but for many of us it is a bit slower overall and certainly has a different feel to it. It’s a great time for our staff to reflect on our programs, services and policies to see if they can be improved. It’s also a great time for us collectively to look at the things we have going on in our lives to see what can be improved.

“Nature often holds up a mirror so we can see more clearly the ongoing processes of growth, renewal, and transformation in our lives.”
Mary Ann Brussat

I encourage you to not let the opportunity pass you by this summer. Relax. Reflect. Renew! Wellbeing is not a destination; it is a journey. We should be constantly changing, trying, failing, learning, and growing toward who we can be as our best selves. As people, as leaders, as family members, as members of a global community. I challenge you to find at least one area of your life you want to reflect on and find ways to grow this summer.

Maybe it’s reading a good book—I recommend Fierce Leadership by Susan Scott. Maybe it’s exploring a new place. Perhaps it’s attending a NIRSA institute. Or, maybe it’s adopting a new puppy to the family (oops I did it again). Whatever you choose, don’t forget to enjoy the journey and enjoy your time in the sun!

“Live in the sunshine. Swim in the sea. Drink in the wild air.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • For more information, contact NIRSA President, Ken Morton .
Director of Campus Recreation at | NIRSA Profile

Kenneth W. Morton is currently the Director of Campus Recreation at Stephen F. Austin State University and is a Past President of NIRSA. Ken can be reached at