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Seattle Parks utilizes Webex to bring their services to the public

Seattle Parks and Recreation (Seattle Parks) needed to make the same change a year ago as many organizations: how do they deliver in-person services to the public, without being in person? Due to the pandemic, Seattle Parks was required to shut down in-person trainings, classes, and social hours at all their community centers.   

By utilizing Seattle Information Technology’s (Seattle IT’s) Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC) project offerings, such as Webex meetings and Cisco audio/visual equipment, these public events became virtual and were able to take place. Webex meetings are open to the public, as long as they have the link to join, events are available to anyone who signs up. The public can join via phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer.    

Yoga and martial arts instructors

“Webex has been key to Seattle Parks and Recreation being able to continue the best parts of our programming in a socially connected but physically distant manner,” said Senior Recreation Program Coordinator Moshe Hecht.  “Without it, we would not be doing any programming to speak of.”  

Seattle IT built two broadcast studios utilizing Cisco Webex equipment. These studios allow the presenters, teachers, and trainers at Seattle Parks the opportunity to use Seattle IT’s equipment to continue their programming. The equipment is simple enough for anyone to use, even those who have never used conference room or audio/video equipment in the past. This equipment allows the presenter to change camera angles, play music and interact with participants as if they were in a room together.   

“I have been amazed at how well seniors have adapted and even embraced virtual programming,” said Recreation Specialist Robin Brannman. “These are adults that are comfortable with typewriters and land lines and they have had to learn and use words like browser, app, and download. It has been a joy watching seniors exercise in their own homes.”  

Many of the programs offered by Seattle Parks create a social activity for the residents of Seattle. With the pandemic, social distancing and self-quarantine requirements, many people have lost the ability to connect with their community and their friends. With the addition of Cisco Webex and Webex meetings, the social hours, classes, trainings and programs have allowed members of Seattle’s communities to connect, laugh, exercise, read, play games, and have fun once again!  

Some of the programs offered include Lifelong Recreation: Virtual Coffee Hour, Virtual Bridge (the card game), Circuit Training, Fabulously Fit + Floor, Restorative Yoga, and Soul Line Dancing. They also offer specialized programs like Trivia, Hanna’s Kitchen, Art with Savannah and more! To learn more about Seattle Parks offerings and to sign up for events and classes, visit the Seattle Parks website.