New Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue Visits D.C. Rec Center
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July May Have Brought the Heat to D.C., but NRPA's Public Policy Team Brought the Heat to Park & Rec Month

 

NRPA's Public Policy Team has been hard at work during this year's Park & Recreation Month, ensuring Congress and the Administration does not lose sight of all the great work park and recreation agencies are doing every day throughout the country for America's families. We kicked off the month with a Summer Camp on Capitol Hill, where around 400 kids, congressional staffers and members came to D.C. Parks and Rec's Garfield Park for some fun activities and a healthy typical summer meal that kids would be served in their community.

 

Then, NRPA sponsored an Outdoor Alliance for Kids event on Capitol Hill to brief 80 Hill staffers on the importance of supporting policies and legislation (funding) that support connecting kids to the outdoors. Finally, just last week, NRPA and the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) were honored to host the new Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Sonny Perdue at the local D.C. recreation center, Turkey Thicket, to see summer meals in action. Turkey Thicket is just one example of sites across D.C. and the nation that is offering free breakfast and lunch, thanks to the USDA's Summer Food Service Program, to children either enrolled in their camps or coming to simply play at their recreation centers this summer.

 

On top of these events, we had Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Rep. Nikki Tsongas (D-MA) introduce H. Res 406, a bi-partisan resolution recognizing the value of parks and recreation to our nation. Additionally, Rep. Nanette Barragan (D-CA) and Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) introduced the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Grant Program Act (H.R. 2943) that would help set aside additional oil and gas drilling dollars specifically for urban parks.
 
Finally, as you may be following in the news, the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has certainly been a whirlwind of a process this summer, the details of which are still very much undecided. We are tracking the movement of a potential repeal bill currently being debated in the Senate and will update you as soon as we know more.
 
As Congress now heads home for August recess, there's an entire month of opportunity to invite your U.S. representative and senators* out to see your parks and programs first-hand. Using the step-by-step Park Champion Advocacy Toolkit, you can easily invite your members of Congress to an event on your calendar or a tour of a park or project.  For help organizing your event, reach out to Jayni Rasmussen, NRPA's Advocacy and Outreach Manager.
 
*The Senate Majority Leader has delayed August recess for the Senate by two weeks. If you'd like to increase your chances of having your senators out, be sure to look at a weekend on the third and fourth weekends of August. As of now, the House has not delayed its recess.
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NRPA and the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation were honored to host the new Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Sonny Perdue at Turkey Thicket Recreation Center, to see summer meals in action. The Secretary, a big fan of breakfast, helped serve a healthy breakfast of yogurt, granola and fruit to the Young Explorers (ages 3-5) of Turkey Thicket's summer camp. Turkey Thicket is just one example of sites across D.C. and the nation that is offering free breakfast and lunch to children either enrolled in their camps or coming to simply play at their rec centers this summer. These meals are made possible by the USDA's Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).
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The Department of the Interior announced which communities will receive $13.3 million through the ORLP — a program funded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The program seeks to identify new ways for expanding outdoor play in areas with great need, as well as promoting the development of new or enhanced partnerships for outdoor recreation. In addition, Rep. Nanette Barragán has introduced legislation that would protect the ORLP and dedicate up to $25 million from the LWCF toward these types of projects. In a guest post on Open Space, Rep. Barragán goes into detail about the bill and asks you to reach out to your member of Congress asking them to support the bill as well.
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To kick off Park and Recreation month, NRPA hosted a Summer Camp on Capitol Hill, where around 400 kids, congressional staffers and members came to DC Parks and Rec's Garfield Park for some fun activities and a healthy typical summer meal that kids would be served in their community.  From yoga, life size Connect 4, a canoe photo booth and a naturalist, kids of all ages were given a little taste of what a park and rec summer camp can be.
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It's been a little over 10 years since the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act or "GOMESA" was passed. Those 10 years represented Phase 1 of the bill and now we're entering Phase 2 which also represents a new funding stream for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) State Assistance Program. On NRPA's Open Space blog, the Public Policy team breaks down the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) and what it means for LWCF State Assistance.
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