WESTMINSTER - Bryan Lyburn chose to shadow Lisa A. Sasala, Carroll's sports and special programs coordinator, because he has an interest in pursuing her career as a hobby.
"I'm not sure about it as a career right now," said the Westminster High School junior. "I think I'd like to help out with area projects and leagues."
Lyburn was one of about a dozen juniors and seniors who shadowed Carroll county government officials yesterday as part of an exercise for their political science class, which has been studying county government.
Seventeen-year-old Sarah Gilbert joined Lyburn in the county Department of Recreation and Parks. Their classmates, though, trailed officials from the county's Finance, Public Works, Zoning and Risk Management departments.
"They participate in whatever activities are planned for that particular day," said Donald Hahn, their political science teacher. "It has been successful in allowing students to observe meaningful activities. They learn what people do in these departments."
Besides explaining their job duties, both Sasala and Barbara L.
Gundina, Carroll's therapeutic recreation specialist, took their proteges on tours of some of the county's recreational facilities.
Sasala, for instance, drove Lyburn through the year-old Carroll County Sports Complex, giving him a brief history of the complex and some of the capital improvement projects on tap there. She also took him on a spin through the nearby Hashawha Environmental Center, where she pointed out the site of the new nature center.
"It looks great," Lyburn said of the sports complex. "I had heard about it, but I'd never seen it."
Gilbert tagged along with Gundina, who coordinates recreation programs for the county's disabled residents. The Uniontown resident said she chose to shadow the recreation department because "all the others are boring.
They're all political things."
Gundina took her student on a late-morning tour of the Carroll County Education Center, the school district's facility for special learning needs students. The center also is used by the recreation department for adult and family activities.
Afterward, the pair visited the Westminster Senior Center, where Gilbert observed disabled senior citizens playing scaled-down versions of basketball and soccer. The Department of Recreation and Parks provides the instructor for the program.
"This is pretty neat," Gilbert said. "This is in line with what I'm learning in school."
Although the students' day ended in early afternoon, their work is not yet over. They are expected to present oral reports about their activities to the rest of their class.
"It's generally very positive," Hahn said. "I usually see a positive change in their attitude toward county government. It's usually something they thought was boring. The change is noticeable in their presentation to the rest of the class."