If you’re interested in making a difference in the community through volunteer leadership, consider becoming a park board trustee. The board consists of nine members, and five of those seats will be up for appointment later this month.

The park board of trustees was established in 1962. Then-Texas state representative and island native Babe Schwartz had the foresight to form a separate organization to allocate hotel occupancy tax revenues solely for tourism efforts.

In keeping with that, the park board’s mission today is to promote and support Galveston Island and its assets to foster an environment that establishes a great place to live and, in turn, an amazing place to visit.

The Galveston City Council appoints each park board trustee to serve a two-year term, with one seat designated for a city council member. The city council also conducts in-depth interviews of each candidate to better understand the value he or she will bring to the board. Ideally, those selected to become trustees are residents who are active in Galveston’s tourism industry, local business and the environmental community.

When considering this opportunity, realize that this isn’t a job to be taken lightly. This volunteer position is time-consuming and requires thoughtfulness and perspective. But the rewards are great. The park board helps to manage Galveston’s tourism product and provides ways to benefit the island’s residents and visitors alike.

Park board trustees give much time to the organization with an average commitment of more than 30 hours per month. They play an extremely important role in guiding and shaping the organization and its initiatives, which requires thoughtful research and preparation prior to each board meeting.

In addition to attending monthly park board meetings, trustees also serve on one or more of the organization’s advisory committees (beach management, tourism development and parks and amenities). Additional commitments include specially called meetings, joint meetings with the city council, board retreats, industry events, open houses and workshops.

In other words, park board trustees are heavily involved in the organization’s decision-making and that involvement directly impacts the health of Galveston’s tourism economy, the preservation of the island’s coastal environment and the well-being of islanders.

“For more than 50 years, the nine members of Galveston’s Park Board have helped shape Galveston’s tourism product,” park board CEO Kelly de Schaun said. “Their efforts, coupled with the work of the organization’s staff, has resulted in attracting millions of visitors to the island’s beaches, historic sites, family attractions and more. And, they have been instrumental in considering issues that help to improve the quality of life for Galveston residents.”

Park board trustee applications and further details can be found at forms.galvestontx.gov/Forms/BoardApp.

Park board meetings are typically held at 1:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 601 23rd St.

Mary Beth Bassett is the public relations director for the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Park Board of Trustees.


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