Mel Johnson

Templeton Community Services District

Contact Details

Templeton Community Services District


Why have you chosen to run for the CPRS State Board of Directors?

I have been a member of District 8 for several years now and have enjoyed the experience tremendously. Working with other local professionals has built a positive network I have relied upon more often than not. Having served in a variety of roles on that board, I am interested in seeing what the next step looks like and how the skills I have acquired over the years can apply to the State Board.  Participation on the State Board seems like an obvious next step and an experience that will foster opportunities for both learning and growth. I have the necessary skills for working in a group led, team environment that prioritizes the goals for CPRS as a whole. Additionally, setting policy and direction for the organization is an area in which I feel I can offer a positive impact.

What personal attributes, skills, or knowledge would you bring to the State Board of Directors if elected?

I have spent my career in Parks and Recreation at a small agency which requires a wide breadth of knowledge and the wearing of multiple hats to accomplish the variety of tasks required in a thriving department. Working in this environment demands diplomacy, effective communication, flexibility, and decision making skills with the best interest of the community as a priority. These are all among my most well-developed skills. One our primary responsibilities in my agency is related to youth programs, specifically youth sports programs. As anyone with experience in youth sports can attest, there is an enormous amount of mediation, problem solving, practicality, cooperation, and patience required for a successful program to operate. I have direct experience in creating and updating by-laws for various organizations, I have a keen eye for editing text, and find enjoyment in writing wordsmithing. I have been told repeatedly that I have the ability to make people feel important, like part of the team, and to encourage their participation in a variety of endeavors that might initially seem outside of their comfort zone by focusing on the attributes best suited to them. In a personality assessment of leadership styles, my highest ranking attributes are in enthusiasm, optimism, sincerity, understanding, compassion, teamwork, and stability. This is what I can offer the board, if elected.

What is the greatest challenge our profession faces and how will you lead to address that challenge?

The primary challenge I see facing our profession is one of economics and the rising costs to deliver the services we provide.  From  land acquisition for public facilities, to staffing costs for operations and programs, building and maintaining new park spaces, and more, the costs associated with our profession are at an all time high and we are all left finding ways to stretch the dollar farther in an effort to maintain the bottom line. I have spent my career in the interesting position of working in an affluent community with a severely underfunded parks and recreation department, requiring a great amount of flexibility and out of the box thinking to meet the demands of a growing community who does not understand how we are funded or the constraints that lack of funding places upon us. This has led to a series of ongoing educational campaigns for our community, a demand for creative problem solving as it relates to funding sources, and a great amount of experience chasing donations and grant resources. As a leader, it will be imperative to continue the work of CPRS on this front utilizing all of the tools available to us as members. From the advocacy work on the A-Team to the California Action Plan, it is critical that we educate our members about the resources available to them. It is my hope to continue to encourage this work if elected to the State Board.

Please share relevant leadership experiences outside of your work environment.  

CPRS District 8 Board Member since 2016. I have served as Legislative Rep, Recreation Section Rep, Rec Therapy Rep, Secretary, and the Presidential Series. I was lucky enough to lead District 8 through Covid and be re-elected as President in 2021 so I could have the more traditional experience as President. During my time as President, we won the Board 100 Award for our 2021 Fall Forum (Live and IN PERSON!). I have served as the Junior Olympic Commissioner for USA Softball of Central California in District 5 since 2017. I am also currently the President of this region for the second time, the first was 2017-18. I am a member of North County Leadership Class 2 (2017) with the Atascadero/Templeton/Paso Robles Chambers of Commerce. I continue to assist as requested for a variety of these experiences with past, current, and future classes. Since summer of 2023, I have become a volunteer with the San Luis Obispo Gay and Lesbian Alliance with their Queer Youth Meetups as a Facilitator/Mentor for the youth of the community. I volunteer for our local high school as an announcer for softball games since 2019. I have been the lead judge for their Homecoming Parade since 2018. I have also served and their local judge for the annual Mock Rock and Talent Show competition since 2016.I have sat on dozens of interview panels for several agencies in our area as a professional courtesy for positions ranging from staff assistants to coordinators. I enjoy the process and will assist whenever time permits.