As we close out 2021, we take a moment to look back on the challenges we faced and overcame, we remember the colleagues and loved ones we lost, and we celebrate the good work our field has done for millions of people in communities across the country.
On the final episode of Open Space Radio for the year, our host Cort Jones reflects on the 13 most-downloaded episodes from 2021 and shares inspiring messages from guests of each episode.
Park and recreation professionals, whether working closely with partners or acting on their own, provide older adults with a wealth of resources, social activities, opportunities to serve others in the community, and most importantly, support aging in place.
Keeping your youth sports participants, staff, referees, coaches and other volunteers in the loop in every aspect of your program is key and can only help your operation. Here are some tips to be a great communicator within your program.
As this holiday season finds the NRPA staff spread throughout the United States, we wanted something that could close those miles between us. Thanks to the inspiration given to us by the Durham Parks and Recreation: Play More! blog, we hosted our first annual Nailed It! NRPA-Style: Gingerbread Park competition!
We’re rolling out an exciting new approach to online education at NRPA in 2022, with a jam-packed schedule of insightful Talks, engaging Clinics and interactive Sandboxes to keep you learning with your peers throughout the year.
Adults in the U.S. recognize the importance of parks and recreation in their community even if they do not consider themselves park users. One group, however, is an untapped champion for parks and recreation — parents.
If you run a well-organized program and you are a great communicator, parent complaints will be at a minimum. However, sometimes things will happen that are out of your control causing a parent to complain. Here are seven steps to handle a complaint effectively.
In our year-end edition of NRPA Parks Snapshot, we are looking at the challenges affecting park and recreation agencies as our nation continues to recover from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic — particularly those that impact funding, staffing and programming.
As mainstream recreational programming widens to welcome more children with special needs, Tim Herd offers some of the simple strategies he and his wife and learned in raising their young son, who has Asperger's Syndrome.
What does the guilty verdict of three white Georgia men for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery mean for communities of color in the way we use parks and trails?
On this episode of Open Space Radio, we’re replaying one of our Coffee Talks from the 2021 NRPA Annual Conference with Luis Romahn, president, CEO and founder of Parques de México and the National Association of Parks and Recreation Mexico.
Proper supervision of your campers is of the utmost importance to ensure the safety of your participants and should be taken very seriously. Here are 10 tips to make sure your counselors are displaying great supervision.
To glimpse the future, it’s often helpful to look back to the past. So, to understand where we — park and recreation professionals — fit, let’s take a brief stroll through our recent history.
On the latest episode of Open Space Radio, we’re chatting with Jenny Bruso, founder of Unlikely Hikers, which is a diverse, anti-racist, body-liberating outdoor community featuring the underrepresented outdoorsperson.
Given the unique role that public parks play, it is important that park and recreation professionals understand the extent of homelessness, its root causes, how they can approach the issue with empathy and be a contributor to local solutions.
In its six years of publication, the NRPA Engagement With Parks Report has demonstrated that people in nearly every city, town and county across the U.S. place a high value on the programs and services that park and recreation professionals deliver to their local communities.
Youth sports planning can come in many forms and most all plans are open and customizable to how your agency operates. Here are some tips on different plans you should have in place within your youth sports programs.
On Friday, November 5, Congress passed a historic investment in our nation's infrastructure via the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. These are some of the provisions that may be of interest to NRPA members.
On the latest episode of Open Space Radio, we're celebrating the #HikeYourTurf campaign with Merrell ambassador Mirna Valerio, a.k.a "The Mirnavator." Tune in as she discusses her passion for running and the outdoors, as well as what compelled her to begin sharing her story through her blog, Fatgirlrunning.
This November, NRPA is thrilled to once again partner with Merrell for the second annual Hike Your Turf campaign. All month long, NRPA and Merrell are working together to encourage folks to redefine “hiking” and “the great outdoors” by simply getting outside in their local community.
Our profession faced a new normal during the past year and a half and programs like the Parks for Pollinator BioBlitz proved extremely helpful in getting our communities outside to experience nature safely.
Each year, NRPA conducts an annual survey of 1,000 U.S. adults focusing on the general public’s interaction with and opinions of parks and recreation, resulting in the Engagement With Parks Report. This is the first in a blog series exploring the results of the 2021 Engagement With Parks Report.
On the latest episode of Open Space Radio, we're replaying one of our Coffee Talks from the 2021 NRPA Annual Conference with NRPA Vice President of Education and Chief Equity Officer Autumn Saxton-Ross.
Two splash pad projects in Huntington, West Virginia, and Alton, Illinois, focus not only on providing a water play experience integrated with environmental stewardship educational components, but also on ensuring these spaces are inclusive for all members of the community regardless of ability.
Learn the latest on how the American Rescue Plan funds are being used and how to access them to maximize social and economic recovery in your community.
Park access is not just about reducing travel distance to a park; it is a much more complex and multi-faceted issue that requires a variety of creative solutions.
On the latest episode of Open Space Radio, we're replaying one of the Coffee Talks from the 2021 NRPA Annual Conference, featuring Brodrick Clarke, vice president of programs at National Summer Learning Association; Daniel Hatcher, director of community partnerships at Alliance for a Healthier Generation; and Allison Colman, NRPA director of health.
On the latest episode of Open Space Radio, we’re joined by Lysa Ratliff, CEO of KABOOM!, an organization that unites with communities to build kid-designed playspaces that can spark joy and foster a sense of belonging for the kids who are often denied opportunities to thrive.
We are proud to share the results of NRPA’s latest rebranding process and share our fresh, new logo with you, as well as give you a quick overview of the evolution of the NRPA logo.
This year, at the 2021 NRPA Annual Conference, in support of our families, friends and colleagues, here are a few actions you can take to support the LGBTQIA+ community and LGBTQIA+ rights.
On this episode of Open Space Radio, we're joined by Mitchell Silver, who recently wrapped up a seven-year tenure as parks commissioner for the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, and will be giving a keynote presentation at the 2021 NRPA Annual Conference.
NRPA partnered with Justice Outside to create a resource that provides a process, resources, as well as case studies, to help professionals thoughtfully explore how to engage in community building work around natural resources and conservation efforts.
Every August, MENTOR — the National Mentoring Partnership — provides education and resources to boost advocacy efforts in support of the field’s policy priorities. Known as Advocacy August, MENTOR amps up its impact by sharing ways to get educated on how to be an effective grassroots advocate, learn more about MENTOR’s legislative priorities and take action today!
On this bonus episode of Open Space Radio, you get a sneak peek at the guests who will be joining us for this year's Coffee Talks at the NRPA Annual Conference.
Like other parks departments nationwide, Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources in North Carolina canceled all of their regular sports programming for kids in the spring of 2020 because of the pandemic. But they still offered programs to help kids in their community get active — all while working to bring back athletic opportunities for the fall.
Libraries and park and recreation agencies are increasingly leveraging their unique resources, strengths and assets to collaborate and work towards the shared goals of advancing equity, promoting health and wellness, closing the opportunity gap, and building environmental and community resiliency.
On this episode of Open Space Radio, hear New York Times bestselling author Kwame Alexander read our Park and Recreation Month Community Poem — one poem comprised of your poetry submissions!
Collaborations and partnerships between organizations and universities came together during COVID-19 to provide creative and innovative solutions to safely provide recreation, nutrition education and intergenerational opportunities to 120 homebound Centra PACE older adults in Lynchburg, Virginia.
With strict COVID-19 restrictions in place, in-person programming was virtually impossible — and on top of that, Tukwila Parks and Recreation had to let all of their part-time staff go. But this shift led to some positive changes in how the department interacts with the community.
On the latest episode of Open Space Radio, we're joined by two other park and recreation podcast hosts — Becky Dunlap of Let's Talk Parks and Paul Gilbert of Strategic Leadership — to discuss how the rise of podcasting and digital content is benefitting park and recreation professionals.
"The Friendly City” is a motto that the city of Harrisonburg, Virginia, takes to heart, and Mike Hott, the city’s landscape supervisor is helping make it friendly for pollinators, as well. Learn how they will leverage the Parks for Pollinators BioBlitz in their city wide pollinators program.
Hosted by the Farmers Market Coalition, National Farmers Market Week (August 1-7) is an opportunity to show how much value markets bring to communities.
Whether it’s inviting your elected officials to check out the spaces or programs you manage, pitching a story to your local news outlet, or celebrating Park and Recreation Month, these toolkits will help you communicate your mission to build a healthier, more resilient community.
The August issue of Parks & Recreation magazine is out now, and on today’s bonus episode of the podcast, we’re diving deeper into one of this month’s feature stories, titled, “A River Runs Through It.”
On the latest episode of Open Space Radio, we’re joined by Jennifer Holmes, who is helping to provide swim lessons and water safety education to rural areas of Charleston County, South Carolina, after her son, Genesis, tragically died in a drowning accident in 2014. We’re also joined by Gina Ellis-Strother, the chief administration officer for Charleston County Park & Recreation Commission.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic, researchers and youth shared an understanding that wellbeing is tied to a sense of belonging that extends to online spaces.
Looking for ways to provide an exciting, new activity to your local community? Esports provides a multitude of options for educational and recreational engagement via athletics, education and even future careers.
An update on new guidance from the Department of the Treasury, which details allowable uses for the “Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds” — the $350 billion in funding for cities, counties and states to help blunt the economic impact of the pandemic and assist those most impacted.
The new Alliance for a Healthier Generation Self-Care Summer Toolkit includes simple ways to prioritize health this season. In celebration of Park and Recreation Month and the theme of "Our Park and Recreation Story," here are five storytelling activities from the toolkit.
On the latest episode of Open Space Radio, we’re joined by Peyton O’Conner, AICP, CPRE, CNP, CYSA (they/she), the parks and recreation director for Buncombe County in Asheville, North Carolina, to discuss building LGBTQ+ inclusive environments in parks and recreation.
Following a record-breaking year of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, park and recreation professionals have a unique opportunity to positively influence norms, practices and policies to create a youth sports culture that is inclusive and welcoming to all.
In partnership with Special Olympics, NRPA has developed three key resources specifically detailing ways in which park and recreation professionals can ensure that facilities and programs are inclusive and welcoming to all, especially those with intellectual disabilities.
On the July bonus episode of Open Space Radio, we're chatting with Jenna Brinkman and Craig Pattenaude of Cosumnes Community Services District and David Phommavong, the father of the child in the cover photo of the July issue of Parks & Recreation magazine.
Whether it be partnerships to help inform strategies and offerings, assessments to delve into the wants and needs of community members, or establishing new practices and policies to ensure the voices of those who have not always had a seat at the table, community engagement and decision-making authority is key to program sustainability — and more importantly, to advancing equity and community health and wellbeing.
On the latest episode of Open Space Radio, we’re joined by Mickey Fearn, who has been a park and recreation professional for more than 50 years, to discuss his extensive career in equity-related work.
NRPA recently developed two resources to help you explore what workforce development is, what it can be for the field of parks and recreation, and how we can reflect on developing or renovating equitable community-based workforce development programs. Learn about and access the resources here.
Tim Herd, CPRE, CEO of Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society, believes that we can't merely insist that parks and recreation is essential, we must intentionally demonstrate it — and prove it!
Naomi Osaka, one of the world’s greatest tennis players, was thrust into the spotlight this past weekend during the French Open — not for her 125 mph serve, but for her decision to withdraw from the competition to prioritize her mental health and well-being.
Coaches play a vital role in creating a positive sports experience for youth. In addition to keeping kids safe on the field, coaches and other adults in a child’s life significantly impact a child’s social and emotional development.
On this episode of Open Space Radio, we're joined by Chris Mosier (he/him), a trailblazing athlete, coach and the founder of TransAthlete.com, to discuss transgender inclusion in sports and how park and recreation professionals can take action on more inclusive policies.
The Delores Fenwick Nature Center serves the City of Pearland, Texas, a small community just south of Houston. Here's how its staff are planning to make their future BioBlitz events more equitable.
In the latest Parks Snapshot survey, we learned that many more summer offerings and events will be available to communities across the country in 2021, with most agencies delivering a robust set of summer events and amenities.
The June issue of Parks & Recreation magazine is out now, and on today’s bonus episode of Open Space Radio, we’re diving deeper into one of this month’s feature stories, “Mental Health Care in a Pandemic.”
Since 2007, Hill International, Inc. has managed hundreds of construction contracts for the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to help build, enhance, restore and protect the Big Apple’s parks and public spaces.
Today's episode of Open Space Radio is a bittersweet one, as we bid farewell to one of our co-hosts, Roxanne Sutton, before she embarks on a new adventure.
As kids grow and develop, they play in different ways and have different abilities and limitations. For this reason, playground equipment is often designed with a specific age group in mind so it can keep kids interested and maximize safety. Age-inclusive playgrounds have equipment and features for all age groups of kids.
The chlorine shortage that has been reported recently may cause some headaches for aquatics professionals, but shouldn’t lead to major disruptions. Stock up on needed supplies without overbuying and your summer should be just fine.
Here are best practices from the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program on how park and recreation agencies can support coaches in ensuring youth safely return to play.
Here are seven cost-effective ways you can improve your parks and playgrounds from Little Tikes Commercial.
Background Investigation Bureau, the exclusive background screening provider of NRPA, provides what you need to know to be efficient in your on-boarding practices and keep your community safe.
On this episode of Open Space Radio, we're replaying one of our Coffee Talks from last year's NRPA Virtual, when we were joined by Kenny Weigandt from Willamalane Park and Recreation District in Oregon, and John DiSpaldo, a regional preparedness liaison for FEMA, to discuss being prepared for disasters due to a changing climate.
Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on what you’re sensing and feeling in the present moment, without passing any judgment or allowing interruptions. BOKS, a free physical activity program for kids and families, has just launched a new Mindfulness & Movement Flows resource designed to take the planning out of mindfulness activities.
As bills aimed at preventing transgender youth — particularly transgender girls — from participating in girls’ sports continue to appear in state legislatures, here are some best practices, resources and learning opportunities as it relates to transgender inclusion in youth sports.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted and emphasized the critical role park and recreation professionals play in supporting access to healthy food for community members, especially during times of crisis. This #ThankAHungerHero Day, we’re taking a moment to celebrate the essential role of park and recreation professionals.
Climate.Park.Change. is a pilot toolkit created by Sasaki in partnership with NRPA. This toolkit compiles data on how climate change is affecting park and recreation spaces and offers physical design and community engagement solutions to address climate impacts and other challenges.
We asked NRPA's Conservation, Health and Park Access teams for some summer activity recommendations — check out a few of their ideas highlighting fun ways you can spend time together as a family and make new memories this summer.
As the country now looks to reopening and recovery, afterschool and summer programs, which decades of research have shown are able to help meet the academic, social, and emotional needs of students, will continue to be a valuable resource.
On the latest episode of Open Space Radio, we're discussing how the Climate for Health Ambassador Training, taking place this June in partnership with Climate for Health, will benefit park and recreation professionals at all experience levels.
When the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department began planning what Earth Day would look like in 2021, they decided to take a new approach. What if they planted pollinator habitats instead of trees?
On the May bonus episode of the podcast, we’re talking with Clement Lau, AICP, a departmental facilities planner for the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, about park and recreation planning with equity at the center.
To support continued meal access during COVID-19, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has extended key nationwide waivers that will allow park and recreation professionals across the country to adapt and adjust operations to provide meals to children in a variety of ways.
This Earth Month we’re excited to be working with MISTER G to promote a series of online workshops and a livestream virtual concert for kids of all ages. You are invited to register for the workshops and concerts for free and utilize them in your childcare and out-of-school time programs or however you see fit.
NRPA's new resource, Elevating Health Equity Through Parks and Recreation: A Framework for Action, guides local park and recreation professionals in applying an equity lens when designing, implementing and evaluating programs and services.
On this episode of Open Space Radio, we're joined by Abby Hirsch, an athlete for Special Olympics Minnesota, to learn about her story and what inclusion and accessibility mean to her.
The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation is starting a community engagement and outreach process to develop a needs assessment to address regional recreation, beaches, rural areas and open space.
As Congress begins to consider funding for the fiscal year 2022, the House Committee on Appropriations — the committee overseeing this process — has announced “Community Project Funding,” which is a revised version of “earmarks,” or federal funding for congressional district-specific projects.
On the latest episode of Open Space Radio, we’re joined by Dr. Samose Mays, the director of Bryan County Parks and Recreation and the Georgia Recreation and Park Association district two commissioner, to learn more about his story of adversity, resilience and how parks and recreation saved his life.
Recent conversations with the CDC, American Camp Association and other national out-of-school time organizations, as well as newly released studies highlighting the effectiveness of multi-layered prevention measures in camp and childcare settings, have confirmed that while summer camp programs will continue to have significant prevention and mitigation strategies in place this year, they can safely operate (yay!).
Learn about the successes of a Parks for Pollinators BioBlitz in Peoria, Arizona, and join us to raise awareness of pollinators nationwide by hosting a Parks for Pollinators BioBlitz in your community this September and you could win one of three $1,000 prizes or one of three Scotts Miracle-Gro prize packs to help with your pollinator habitats or programs!
Park and recreation professionals continue to play a vital role in the community when it comes to testing and vaccination distribution. In the latest NRPA Parks Snapshot, we find 82 percent of park and recreation agencies across the country supporting these efforts.
The April issue of Parks & Recreation magazine is out now, and on today’s bonus episode of the podcast, we’re diving deeper into one of this month’s cover stories, “Protecting the Land and Its History.” We're joined by Sara Sinclair and Stephanie Lozano about the importance of land acknowledgment and amplifying Indigenous voices.
To help park and recreation agencies maximize the economic relief opportunities provided by the American Rescue Plan, NRPA's public policy and advocacy team has prepared a summary of the relevant provisions of the bill.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on just how essential parks and recreation is to our communities and has forced agencies to get creative – to adapt and reimagine programming and other offerings as we all adjust to new norms following the pandemic.
Park and recreation agencies are uniquely suited to serve as community nutrition hubs, connecting all members of the community to programs and services that improve health outcomes.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently extended waivers that allow all children to continue to receive free nutritious meals through the summer.
We're two days away from the one-year anniversary of COVID-19 being declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, and on today’s episode of Open Space Radio, we're joined by Jesús Aguirre, NRPA board member and superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation, and Allison Colman, NRPA's director of health, to discuss the impact the pandemic has had on parks and recreation.
To educate the public and build confidence around the COVID-19 vaccines, The Ad Council and COVID Collaborative have launched the “It’s Up to You” campaign. Through the campaign, various toolkits, creative assets, and other resources are available to support messaging for community-based organizations and employers.
Youth are one of the most powerful yet under-utilized community groups. So, how can park and recreation professionals engage with youth in their community to serve as leaders, inspire change, and support critical life skills and career readiness?
President Joe Biden has declared a federal emergency in Texas as the state starts to recover from the recent disastrous winter weather event and subsequent overwhelming of the state’s energy grid, and park and recreation professionals in the state are answering the call to support their communities and keep them safe.
Playgrounds have always been a racial justice issue, so let’s treat them like one.
On this episode of Open Space Radio, we're talking with the three women who created the "Women in Parks and Recreation” Facebook group, which is made up of more than 8,000 women working in the park and recreation profession.
On the March bonus episode of Open Space Radio, we’re joined by Neelay Bhatt, vice president of PROS Consulting, and Roslyn Johnson, director of Baltimore County Recreation and Parks, to talk about TEDxCollegePark’s event, ‘An Equal Future,’ which is taking place virtually on March 19.
These trends from GameTime indicate the industry's direction in the upcoming year while simultaneously calling attention to innovations from 2020.
Quality, community-based sports will be more important than ever during the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Park and recreation departments have a greater opportunity to market their role in this area given the likely desire by parents for more local and affordable sports offerings.
In celebration of February being Heart Health Month, Walk with a Doc has teamed up with Fresh Avocados – Love One Today® to offer a brand new, virtual Grand Canyon Adventure. This virtual event will last two weeks and is free to participate in!
On the latest episode of Open Space Radio, we're talking with staff from Jefferson Memorial Forest and the Urban Conservation Corps at YouthBuild Louisville about the work they're doing to foster equity and address systemic racism in the outdoor spaces in their city.
Park and recreation professionals continue to play a vital role in the community when it comes to coronavirus (COVID-19) testing and vaccination distribution. In the latest Parks Snapshot, we learned that nearly 4 in 5 park and recreation agencies across the country are supporting these efforts, among others.
When people pass by a community park sprouting colorful, inviting play structures, they might recall the fun, carefree days of childhood and smile. Park and recreation professionals go beyond just those memories.
Daniel L. Dustin, Ph.D., a professor of outdoor recreation studies at the University of Utah, shares some of the principal lessons he has learned during his 43-year tenure in higher education.
On this episode of Open Space Radio, we're replaying one of our Coffee Talks from the 2020 NRPA Annual Conference: A Virtual Experience (NRPA Virtual), "Park Equity and Racial Justice," featuring Glenn Harris of Race Forward and NRPA's Vice President of Education and Chief Equity Officer Autumn Saxton-Ross.
On the February bonus episode of Open Space Radio, we’re joined by Michael Biedenstein, past chair of the NRPA Young Professional Network, and Hayley Herzing, NRPA’s senior member of membership, to talk about the inaugural 30 Under 30 program, which recognizes the 30 best and brightest park and recreation professionals under 30 years old.
Play, playgrounds and recreation areas remain crucial to both personal and community development and we need more of them. With a new year upon us, let’s plan to explore even more and advocate for the spaces that are always there for us.
On the latest episode of Open Space Radio, we're joined by three teenagers who saw a need in their community for a safe, legal place to participate in their favorite activity - skateboarding. They took it upon themselves to start a grassroots movement to create a skatepark, and the results will inspire you!
January is National Mentoring Month, a time to recognize the value and impact that mentors have on our youth.
What types of intergenerational fun can be had that promotes good nutrition and healthy eating? Here are some ideas to help get the creative juices flowing!
Anne-Marie Spencer of PlayCore shares how the show "Good News: in Parks" is bringing park and recreation professionals together, sharing good news and offering an opportunity to learn from one another.