NRPA Statement on Pride Month

(June 30, 2023)

Kristine Stratton, president and CEO of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) issued the following statement:

At the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), equity is at the center of all we do. Our mission is to create a future where all people benefit from quality parks and recreation, including members of the LGBTQ+ community. As Pride Month comes to a close, we celebrate the important role that parks and recreation plays in our communities to welcome and include all people — regardless of race, income, ability, age, nationality, gender identity, gender expression or any other identity.

As park and recreation professionals, it is our role and responsibility to offer safe spaces for all, where everyone has opportunities to participate, contribute and benefit. Park and recreation professionals are continually making efforts to ensure the LGBTQ+ community feels safe and can fully participate in park and recreation offerings.

This is why we chose our year-long theme, “Where Community Grows” for 2023 — to lift up the important role parks and recreation play in helping all communities grow and in creating inclusive and welcoming spaces and programs across the United States. This message — especially for LGBTQ+ community members — is imperative, as the Human Rights Campaign recently declared a state of emergency for the LGBTQ+ community, based on anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been signed into law this year.

NRPA will continue to provide education, support and resources to park and recreation professionals across the country so that every community can be strong, healthy, resilient, vibrant, and most importantly, inclusive. Using resources, such as our Equity in Practice learning series, Equity Language Guide, Community Wellness Hubs toolkit, Elevating Health Equity Through Parks and Recreation: A Framework for Action, and Inclusive Resources for Youth Sports, local park and recreation agencies can support their LGBTQ+ constituents, and deliver health and well-being for all people. NRPA also will leverage these resources to ensure park and recreation agencies have the tools necessary to cultivate supportive work environments for LGBTQ+ staff.

Beginning tomorrow, July 1, NRPA and communities across the country will celebrate Park and Recreation Month. Since 1985, people in the United States have celebrated Park and Recreation Month in July to promote building strong, vibrant and resilient communities through the power of parks and recreation. Throughout the month, NRPA will share stories of how communities have grown through the power of parks and recreation, thanks to the more than 160,000 full-time professionals — along with hundreds of thousands of part-time and seasonal workers and volunteers — that maintain our country’s local, state and community parks.

Parks and recreation will always welcome everyone, and we know that our “Where Community Grows” message will reverberate throughout the country. At NRPA, we often say that “difference meets on the playground,” and the same message can be said for the open spaces, trails and fields that park and recreation professionals manage. As we mark the end of Pride Month, our support for and celebration of the LGBTQ+ community will continue year-round. We commit to continuing our mission to ensure everyone has access to a great park. Happy Pride Month. 



About the National Recreation and Park Association

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is the leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to building strong, vibrant and resilient communities through the power of parks and recreation. With more than 60,000 members, NRPA advances this mission by investing in and championing the work of park and recreation professionals and advocates — the catalysts for positive change in service of equity, climate-readiness, and overall health and well-being. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit