APR Innovators: Tameka Crudup

tameka crudup standing in front of banner sign at shiloh center

APR Innovators is an Asheville Parks & Recreation series highlighting team members going above and beyond to bring huge value to community members through knowledge, connections, and insight that come from a desire to create the best city possible through the power of high-quality recreation programs and safe parks that welcome everyone.


When did you join the Asheville Parks & Recreation (APR) team?

I joined the APR team when I was 13 years old as a youth worker and then became a permanent staff member on August 15, 1996. I have grown from youth worker to Playground Leader to Teen Leader to Program Leader to Recreation Center Director to Recreation Facility Manager. 

In my current position as Recreation Facility Manager, I manage Linwood Crump Shiloh Community Center, a recreation complex with weekly and monthly programs and special events. The building includes a gym, fitness center, multi-purpose room with an auditorium stage, class rooms and meeting space, and a kitchen. Outside features include a ballfield, basketball courts, a playground and other play areas, a walking loop, and fitness course.

I also assist other Facility Managers with their facilities as needed and oversee and organize APR’s summer youth and teen camps and programs, giving support where needed. However, my number one focus is enhancing my staff and the participants we serve by supporting them and uplifting their quality of life by exposing them to new experiences, listening and valuing their input, putting team and community first, embracing differences, and using what we have to get what we want by embracing internal and external partnerships.


What inspired you to apply to join the team?

I grew up in parks and recreation, so my entire childhood was surrounded by programs, activities, and special events. The staff in APR’s recreation division was a part of life for myself and kids growing up in our community; it was considered a safe haven for us and it was all about the grassroots for me. Everywhere you turned, APR focused on helping, supporting, and building relationships by any means necessary while valuing each other. 

We had mentors in the recreation staff and in our community when we didn’t even know what the word “mentor” meant. It was true community, friendships, and family – and for that reason I knew that this was where I belonged.


Which accomplishments are you most proud of in terms of your work with the department?

I am most proud of the opportunity to work in East Asheville, North Asheville, Murphy-Oakley, Tempie Avery Montford, Harvest House, W.C. Reid, Stephens-Lee, Grove Street, Burton Street, West Asheville, and Linwood Crump Shiloh community centers. Working in so many of Asheville’s neighborhoods exposed me to a very diverse community that allowed me to diversify my skill level to provide recreational activities, programs, and special events to the unique communities I was serving; in turn, it exposed them to true family-oriented, friendly, and community-based recreational experiences that some had never experienced. This was my motivation: to keep everyone that I came in contact with full of excitement, joy, laughter, and involvement.


For you personally, what does it mean to work for the department?

To me, working for APR means changing the lives of others, providing them with interactive experiences, exposing them to different cultures, wearing multiple hats to meet the needs of others, supporting others, valuing diversity, working to give others the opportunity to truly fellowship with each other, and giving them an outlet to laugh and have joy without thinking about the day-to-day challenges that one may be facing.


How have you grown professionally by working with APR?

It has given me business experience to navigate past and current difficult situations, shown me how to accept others for who they are, allowed me to be vulnerable and step out of my comfort zone, and created many valuable relationships throughout my time here.


What do you do for fun when you’re not working?

I enjoy spending time with family and friends, dancing, reading, and trying to sing (knowing that I can not hold a tune, LOL).


How would you complete this sentence: I work for APR because…

It allows me the opportunity to change lives and expose people to a wide range of exciting programs, activities, and special events that offer community support and fellowship for years to come – in addition to creating and building long lasting relationships across communities.


Join Tameka and other parks and recreation professionals making significant impact as they work to build a strong, healthy, and happy place to live. Current opportunities to work with Asheville Parks & Recreation can be found online.