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Program Manager

Rockford, Illinois 61101
United States
Please to view contact information for this job!
Date Posted: 12/08/2023 | Last Updated: 12/08/2023
Manager - General, Therapeutic Riding Program
Positions Available:
Full Time
Annual Salary Range:
$75,000 - $79,999
Minimum Education Level:
Four Year Degree
Horse Breeds Associated With This Job:
Any Breed
Languages Required:
Any Language
Drivers license required?
Commercial drivers license required?
Own car required?
Pets allowed?
Non-smoker required?
Live on site?
Will pay to relocate?
Height/Weight Specifications
(For riding positions only)
Height:   ft   in
Weight:   lbs
About The Facility
A brand new indoor equine center is currently being constructed at Lockwood Park in Rockford Illinois. The Perks Family Equine Center will contribute to the wellbeing of youth living with mental health issues, social-emotional challenges, and developmental disabilities, as well as cognitive and physical challenges. Qualified community therapists will partner with Lockwood equine professionals to provide services. The center will include:
» Multi-purpose areas for programming designed to prepare participants with transitional activities, sensory tools, and visual cues, which increase appropriate behaviors.
» The ability to provide year-round programming, regulating environmental factors such as temperature and sounds that significantly impact an individual’s ability to participate.
» Lighting and sound controls to alleviate unwanted sensory stimulation during learning activities.
» Accessible features to provide ample space for activities.
» A designated observation area allowing key individuals to provide emotional support and encouragement to participants with defined boundaries
Job Description
Title: Program Manager
Department: Lockwood
Status: Full Time
Office Location: Perks Family Equine Center (PFEC)
Reports To: General Manager, Lockwood Park and Trailside Equestrian Center
FLSA Status: Exempt
Position Description:
The Program Manager will report to and work closely with the General Manager to oversee the expansion, growth, and maintenance of recreational wellness and Equine Assisted Therapy programs offered at the Perks Family Equine Center. The Program Manager is directly responsible for recruiting, hiring, and managing all related program personnel and is expected to operate under minimal supervision with considerable latitude for independent judgement and actions in assigned responsibilities. The Program Manager will participate in and support outreach efforts and special events. Must be an energetic, self-motivated, and adaptable person with a strong service orientation toward all facets of the organization.

Agency Vision: To be the best urban parks and recreation system in North America, as measured by national standards and the citizens we serve.
Agency Mission: The Rockford Park District is in business to “help people enjoy life” by providing a quality park and recreation system.
Vision & Planning System: The District aligns itself and all its resources to achieve its purpose, vision, mission, and priorities. This successfully drives the strategic plan, operational plans, and performance goals.
Policy Management & Operations System: Every team member serves as an active contributor in the development of the team’s operational plan; develops job strategies and plans that support the team’s operational goals; identifies timetables for completion; plans daily work activities in an organized manner ensuring effective utilization of time and resources in the completion of job tasks.
Leadership by Values System: Leadership by Values can only be achieved if all team members believe in and live by these shared values: accountability, integrity, passion, agility, relationship oriented, results driven, service oriented, respectful, and innovative. While all team members share these essential values, our culture is enriched by and welcomes the diverse supporting values of its team members.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Statement: The Rockford Park District is committed and accountable to being a place where everyone is invited and belongs, as demonstrated by being an inviting, equitable, and inclusive environment, respectful of all people, embracing diversity, creating accessibility and valuing all team members, partners and community members for their unique experiences and backgrounds.

Definition: Sustained by long-term, positive, exceptional relationships with stakeholders and team members as our hallmark of success.

Definition: To work together to achieve the mission, vision, and shared values of the Rockford Park District.
Connectedness: Departments are truly interconnected to support the mission and vision of the Rockford Park District.

ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS include the following. Other duties may be assigned

Leadership by Values

Establish and maintain a high level of citizen confidence and support.
Demonstrates the principles of One Team, One Goal in daily interactions with staff and guest.
Establish and maintain exceptional relationships with all internal team members and external stakeholders.
Ensure a welcoming culture that cultivates inclusivity, equity, diversity, and belonging for all people and aspects of our organization.

Fosters a work culture that promotes open, frequent, and dynamic communication that stimulates teamwork. 
Provides on-site supervision for operations assigned and acts as manager on duty.
Assist and make recommendations to recruit, hire, schedule, train, supervise, mentor, and evaluate seasonal team members and volunteers.
Prepares and participates in scheduled meetings and trainings and assists staff in the development and implementation of staff meetings.

Operational Excellence

Supervises, coordinates, and provides day-to-day management of the Perks Family Equine Center (PFEC) services and programming.
In conjunction with the General Manager, develops and implements appropriate short and long term goals related to therapeutic programming and equestrian related operations.
Oversees daily facility operations including hiring, training, and continued development of PFEC team members.
Develops, maintains, and refines a training and preparation structure for Equine Specialists, Program Assistants, Intake Coordinator, and volunteers through whom the bulk of equine assisted programming and educational services of the Equine Center are provided.
Maintains best practice operating procedures to maximize participant and staff safety while interacting with equines.
Develop relationships with and maintain contact with community organizations, agencies, and related professional organizations to provide awareness of programs offered and reduce barriers to access of services.
Responsible for management and oversight of scheduling of various programs in conjunction with partnering agencies and patrons.
Responsible for working with the General Manager to maintain and operate the facility in support of therapeutic and recreational programs provided at the facility.
Supports the PFEC programming through organization of services, content, facilitation, education, research, and outcome reporting.
Supervises the PFEC Intake Coordinator, Equine Specialists, Equine Trainer, and Program Assistants.
Collaborates with the General Manager on budget development, purchasing, and facility upkeep and planning.
Ability to interact effectively with the community, local market and network with mental health providers.

Responsible for envisioning and developing programs and services that promote psychological well-being, create an educational environment, and address mental health issues through equine assisted activities.
Ensures the highest standards of professional and ethical approaches to all areas of programming at the Equine Center (e.g., scope of practice, quality of training, quality of services offered, documentation procedures).

Responsibilities include planning, assigning, and directing of work, providing feedback, addressing and resolving complaints.
Knowledge of group therapy theory and practices, group processes, therapeutic relationship processes, age specific growth and development.
Ability to clearly summarize therapeutic information via written correspondence and best practice records documentation.
Provides staff education related to facilitation skills development and in the orientation of new employees.
In conjunction with the General Manager, develop and implement appropriate short and long term goals related to therapeutic programming and equestrian related operations.
In order to accommodate facility operational needs, the Program Manager may be required to work some weekends and evenings.

Organizational Development

Researches and analyzes recreation needs and resources. Implements new programs or updates existing programming based on findings from industry research, staff, and patron feedback.
Oversees the development, expansion, and elevation of equestrian riding-based activities offered to the public.
Develops new and creative programs and/or activities to expand revenue generating opportunities for the park. 

Performance Management/Development

In collaboration with the Human Resources Department, recruits team members for the operation.
Monitors and evaluates the performance of team members and evaluates their performance. 
Manages staff by providing coaching, encouragement, direction to team members, and effectively address issues in accordance with District policies and procedures.
Provides training and development opportunities for team members that enhances skills, knowledge and abilities that strengthens the District’s culture.
Collaborates internally with operations to share information, direction, issues, concerns, solutions, etc.
Leads with a servant leader style and approach when interacting with internal and external customers.
Recommends and organizes team members and operations to meet current and future needs.
Required to attend and participate in District meetings, including Rockford Park District Board meetings, when requested.


Responsible for implementing all PDRMA procedures, policies, checklist, attend required trainings, and documents.
Maintains a working knowledge of department safety procedures. Attend safety training programs and educational in-service trainings as required.
Attend continuing education and certifications as deemed necessary.
Attend and participate in all staff meetings.
Adhere to all policies and procedures of the Rockford Park District and PFEC standard operating procedures.

Customer Satisfaction

Meet, greet, and communicate with parents and guardians, and collaborative organizations on a regular basis.
Provides quality customer service to all patrons, team members, volunteers, guests, and other District employees.
Receive and respond to internal and external customer questions and concerns.
Job Requirements
Bachelor’s degree or higher required in field related to Equestrian Business Management, Human Services, Family and Human Development, Sociology, or related field.  Master’s preferred; Minimum 3 Years of experience in a behavioral health; 3 to 5 years program management and supervision. Certified EAGALA Equine Specialist (within 1 year). Experience in working with youth and families.

Critical Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities:
To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily.  The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions:
Must be 21 years of age.
Ability to maintain confidential information.
Must be able to demonstrate self-control in crisis situations.
Knowledge of current mental health issues, protocols and best practices.
Demonstrated record of ethical practice.
Demonstrated expertise in suicide assessment and intervention.
Knowledge and experience in providing services to those affected by relationship violence, sexual assault/abuse, eating disorder behavior, self-injurious behavior, anxiety, and depression.
Proven ability to work independently or in a team environment with all levels within an organization consistently.
Ability to work under stressful conditions.
Experience and awareness of all safety concepts.
3 to 5 years minimum experience handling equine.
Some training, understanding, and experience in natural horsemanship techniques.
Willing to obtain EAGALA certification within 1 year.
Knowledge of supervisory skills and techniques.
Ability to develop, organize, and execute plans for programs and events.
Excellent customer service.
Ability to work in an active setting with staff and volunteers.
Ability to work a varied schedule that may include evenings and weekends.
Willing to adjust work schedule to accommodate changing priorities.
First Aid, CPR, and AED certification (can be obtained at the Park District).
Emulate the One Team, One Goal culture.
Ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously and function in a high stress environment
Possess strong analytical, problem solving, and decision-making skills and ability to exercise initiative.
Ability to travel as needed and maintain a valid driver's license.

Physical Requirements
The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions:

Medium work:
Exerting up to 50 pounds of force occasionally
Exerting up to 20 pounds of force frequently
Exerting up to 10 pounds of force constantly to move objects.
Stooping:  Bending body downward and forward by bending spine at the waist.  This factor is important if it occurs to a considerable degree and requires full use of the lower extremities and back muscles.
Kneeling:  Bending the body downward and forward by bending legs and spine.
Crouching:  Bending the body downward and forward by bending legs and spine.
Crawling:  Moving about on hands and knees or hands and feet.
Reaching:  Extending hand(s) and arm(s) in any direction.
Pushing:  Using upper extremities to exert force in order to draw, drag, haul, or tug objects in a sustained motion.
Lifting:  Raising objects from a lower to higher position or moving objects horizontally from position to position.  This factor is important if it occurs to a considerable degree and requires substantial use of the upper extremities and back muscles.
This is a physically active position that involves stamina. Long periods of time will be spent standing and walking.
Periodic eye and ear strain when working in the arena with horses and groups. 

Work Environment

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions:
Working indoors and outdoors most of the day. May be exposed to inclement weather conditions. Will work with chemicals occasionally while cleaning. Will experience work pace/pressure and large crowds during events.
Eligible for all Full Time benefits including: Medical, Family Coverage, Dental, Vision, Life, Health Spending Accounts, Flex Spending Accounts, & more.