I attended last year’s National Legislative Forum as part of the NRPA’s Young Professional Fellowship.
In reflecting on my time in Washington DC, I compiled a list of what I found most important for any park and recreation professional or citizen as they consider attending:
1. Simply, it is important - Go here and see all the park and recreation projects that the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has funded since 1965. This coupled with several other programs and grant programs are critically important and need champions. We in parks and recreation understand the profound impact of our (and the legislators’) communities. National Legislative Forum is the time to deliver that message.
Michael Biedenstein (left) with Missouri Parks and Recreation professionals
meeting with Congressman Wm.Lacy Clay (back center) at the 2012 NRPA Legislative Forum
2. Great educational sessions - Last year’s sessions featured prominent speakers from the Trust for Public Land, CDC and Urban League Institute along with NRPA staff. The sessions prepare you for meetings with law makers and staff and invigorate participants to be a champion for the cause of parks and recreation. This year’s sessions prove to be equally exciting and educational.
3. Networking, networking, networking - Participants are among the brightest and most committed professionals and citizens in the industry. In this smaller setting, it is much easier to network and even meet many of the members of the NRPA Board of Directors.
National Legislative Forum is a whirlwind three days. It is exciting, fun and exhausting all at the same time.
In the normal work setting, I occasionally find myself getting lost in the daily grind of emails and reports. After last year’s National Legislative Forum, I left energized and refocused on the bigger picture of why I do my job: to help enrich people’s lives and make stronger, healthier communities.
Written by Michael Biedenstein, CPRP, Recreation Program Coordinator at the City of Eureka, MO. He manages @YoungProf_NRPA as the Social Media Chair for the Young Professional Network.