By Brad Stager
Childhood experiences can sometimes lead to lifelong interests, or even a career choice. That’s how it has evolved for Christopher Harrison, who from his earliest elementary school days grew up spending a lot of time at Hillsborough County recreation centers and now works as an assistant recreation supervisor at Northdale Park & Recreation Center.
More than a job, what Harrison discovered through his early involvement in organized recreational programs may be more like a strong sense of purpose that has now helped him earn recognition as a Double-Goal Coach by the national youth sports organization Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA). Harrison is one of 25 coaches and youth mentors from across the nation that PCA recently honored with the designation.
According to its website, PCA provides training and other resources for coaches as well as athletes and families to promote a “positive youth sports culture.”
The title ‘Double-Goal Coach’ reflects the ideals of promoting achievement on and off the field, as well as guiding personal development within each individual, said Harrison.
“We want the kids we work with to become not only better athletes, but also better people,” he said.
Recognition by PCA for Harrison’s coaching success is well deserved, according to those at Hillsborough County Parks & Recreation who work with him. Colleagues Becca Mendoza and Adrienne Rouse praised Harrison’s work in a video released by PCA-Tampa Bay on its Twitter feed @PCA_TampaBay.
“Coach Chris really leads our culture of inclusiveness. He’s the advocate for all the children,” said Mendoza. “He knows that every child has a different ability level and he really works one-on-one with the children in order to find what their skill set is and find their strengths.”
Rouse expressed appreciation for the benefits that PCA’s Double-Goal Coach program offers to recreation professionals like Harrison, who are responsible for instilling a sense of ethics in the pursuit of athletic excellence.
“Chris Harrison is a perfect example of how that’s worked out,” said Rouse. “He’s able to parallel that competitiveness to teaching character traits that are going to be beneficial in these children’s future.”
National recognition is nice, but Harrison said he’s focused on the work at hand, keeping kids and families busy with activities from flag football to line dancing.
“I want every kid, when they’re here, to feel welcome, and we want everyone to come to our parks,” he said.