A Letter From Our CEO — Reflecting on 2021
By Kristine Stratton | Posted on December 28, 2021
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.
The Year in Review: A Listen Back at Your Favorite Open Space Radio Episodes of 2021 — Episode 105
By Cort Jones | Posted on December 21, 2021
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.
Supporting Arthritis Interventions in Parks and Recreation: A Five-Year Story
By Tiff Cunin | Posted on December 20, 2021
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.
The Importance of Communication Within Your Youth Sports Program
By Jason Schaitz, MBA, CPRE | Posted on December 20, 2021
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.
Perfectly Imperfect: First Annual Nailed It! NRPA-Style: Gingerbread Park Competition
By Melissa May and Dianne Palladino | Posted on December 17, 2021
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!
New Year, New You, New NRPA Online Learning Opportunities
By NRPA Online Learning | Posted on December 17, 2021
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.
2021 Engagement With Parks Report: The Parent Advocate
By Melissa May | Posted on December 16, 2021
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.
Handling Parent Complaints Within Your Recreation Program
By Jason Schaitz, MBA, CPRE | Posted on December 15, 2021
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.
NRPA Parks Snapshot: 2021 Year-End Survey Results
By Kevin Roth | Posted on December 10, 2021
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.
Nurturing a Child With Asperger’s Syndrome
By Tim Herd, CPRE | Posted on December 9, 2021
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.
Addressing Social Justice From the Usage of Public Space
By Juan Antonio Sorto | Posted on December 8, 2021
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?
The Park and Recreation Movement in Mexico and Beyond — Episode 104
By Cort Jones | Posted on December 7, 2021
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.
Camp Administration: Supervision
By Jason Schaitz, MBA, CPRE | Posted on December 6, 2021
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.
Engagement with Parks Report: Looking Back to See the Future
By Austin Barrett | Posted on December 2, 2021
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.
How Unlikely Hikers Is Creating Community and Belonging Outside — Episode 103
By Cort Jones | Posted on November 23, 2021
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.
Understanding Homelessness: The Extent, Causes and Local Solutions
By Austin Barrett and Allison Colman | Posted on November 12, 2021
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.
2021 NRPA Engagement With Parks Report Shows Support for Parks and Recreation Is Universal
By Kevin Roth | Posted on November 11, 2021
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 Program Planning
By Jason Schaitz, MBA, CPRE | Posted on November 10, 2021
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.
Breaking Down the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
By Kyle Simpson | Posted on November 9, 2021
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.
Inspiring Others to Experience the Fullness of Their Humanity — Episode 102
By Cort Jones | Posted on November 9, 2021
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.
It’s Time to Hike Your Turf!
By Cassie Pais and Lauren King | Posted on November 8, 2021
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.
Third Annual Parks for Pollinators BioBlitz Reaches 3,000 People in 25 States
By Michele White, CAE, IOM | Posted on November 2, 2021
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.
Diving Deeper Into NRPA’s 2021 Engagement With Parks Report
By Melissa May | Posted on October 28, 2021
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.
Coffee Talk Replay: Continuing to Center Equity in All We Do — Episode 101
By Cort Jones | Posted on October 26, 2021
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.
Building Better Communities: Centering Equity in Water-Based Play Spaces
By Lyndsey Younger and Kathy McKenna | Posted on October 19, 2021
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.
American Rescue Plan Funds Now Flowing Into States and Local Communities
By NRPA Public Policy and Advocacy Team | Posted on October 15, 2021
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: More Than Just Proximity
By Clement Lau, AICP, DPPD | Posted on October 14, 2021
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.
Coffee Talk Replay: Out-of-School Time Programs: Essential for Health and Well-Being — Episode 100
By Cort Jones | Posted on October 12, 2021
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 a Mission to End Playspace Inequity for Good — Episode 099
By Cort Jones | Posted on September 28, 2021
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.
NRPA Unveils Fresh, New Logo at the 2021 NRPA Annual Conference
By Catrina Belt and Cort Jones | Posted on September 21, 2021
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.
Take Action to Support the LGBTQIA+ Community During the 2021 NRPA Annual Conference
By Autumn Saxton-Ross | Posted on September 15, 2021
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.
Leaving a Lasting Legacy in The Big Apple Through a Culture of Care — Episode 098
By Cort Jones | Posted on September 14, 2021
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.
New Resource to Help Engage the Next Generation of Environmental Stewards
By Michele White, CAE, IOM | Posted on September 13, 2021
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.
Park and Recreation Mentors in ‘Advocacy August’
By Lauren Kiefert, Dan McCarthy and Elvis Cordova | Posted on August 30, 2021
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!
Don’t Miss Coffee Talks at the 2021 NRPA Annual Conference — Bonus Episode
By Cort Jones | Posted on August 24, 2021
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.
Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources: Keeping Kids Safe and Active During COVID-19
By Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) | Posted on August 18, 2021
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.
Parks and Recreation + Public Libraries = Partners in Advancing Community Well-Being
By Allison Colman | Posted on August 11, 2021
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.
Our Park and Recreation Community Poem: Everything Around You… — Episode 097
By Cort Jones | Posted on August 10, 2021
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!
Collaboration and Intergenerational Programming to Promote Wellness and Healthy Aging
By Morgyn Manzer and Jill Juris, Ph.D. | Posted on July 29, 2021
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.
Tukwila Parks and Recreation: Keeping Community Members Active Outdoors During COVID-19
By Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) | Posted on July 27, 2021
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.
A Podcast for Any Chapter in Your Parks and Rec Journey — Episode 096
By Cort Jones | Posted on July 27, 2021
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 Buzz in the Burg
By Kelly Adams, Keith Thomas and Jeremy Harold | Posted on July 21, 2021
"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.
NRPA Celebrates National Farmers Market Week
By Maureen Neumann | Posted on July 21, 2021
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.
Three Toolkits to Reinvent Your Messaging
By Dan McCarthy and Cort Jones | Posted on July 20, 2021
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.
Enhancing Stewardship and Access to the Tennessee River — August Bonus Episode
By Cort Jones | Posted on July 15, 2021
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.”
The Genesis Project: How a Mother Is Keeping Her Son’s Spirit Alive — Episode 095
By Cort Jones | Posted on July 13, 2021
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.
Trading Open Spaces for Online Spaces – How Kids Are Socializing Now
By Chris Korbelak, CPRP | Posted on July 9, 2021
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.
Recreational Esports 101
By Ivy O'Shaughnessy and Greg Boehm | Posted on July 8, 2021
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.
American Rescue Plan: New Guidance for Park and Recreation Professionals
By Kyle Simpson | Posted on July 7, 2021
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.
Five Storytelling Activities From the New Self-Care Summer Toolkit
By Daniel W. Hatcher, MPH | Posted on July 2, 2021
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.
Fostering an LGBTQ+ Inclusive Environment in Parks and Recreation — Episode 094
By Cort Jones | Posted on June 29, 2021
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.
A Pathway to Trans Inclusion in Youth Sports
By Teresa Morrissey and Allison Colman | Posted on June 25, 2021
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.
Supporting Inclusive Health Through Parks and Recreation
By Maureen Neumann | Posted on June 22, 2021
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.
Our Park and Recreation Story: How One Family Finds Peace in Parks — July Bonus Episode
By Cort Jones | Posted on June 17, 2021
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.
Driving Food Access in Partnership and Power with Community
By Maureen Neumann | Posted on June 16, 2021
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.
Why the Essence of Equity-Centered Work Is Organizational Change — Episode 093
By Cort Jones | Posted on June 15, 2021
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.
The Importance of Community-Based Workforce Development
By Ayanna Williams | Posted on June 11, 2021
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.
Are We Building People — or Just Running Programs?
By Tim Herd, CPRE | Posted on June 7, 2021
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!
Why We Should Applaud Naomi Osaka's Mental Health Decision
By Allison Colman and Teresa Morrissey | Posted on June 3, 2021
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.
Why Training Park and Recreation Coaches on Social and Emotional Skills is Important
By Jon Solomon | Posted on June 2, 2021
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.
Creating a Culture of Transgender Inclusion in Sports — Episode 092
By Cort Jones (he/him) and Roxanne Sutton (she/her) | Posted on June 1, 2021
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.
BioBlitz: Making Nature More Equitable
By Katie Boughal | Posted on May 27, 2021
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.
NRPA Parks Snapshot: May 18-21 Survey Results
By Kevin Roth | Posted on May 21, 2021
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.
Caring for the Mental Well-Being of Our Staff and Communities — June Bonus Episode
By Cort Jones | Posted on May 20, 2021
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.”
Past, Present and Future with New York City Parks and Hill International
By Joseph Pooler | Posted on May 19, 2021
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.
It’s Not Goodbye, It’s See Ya Later! — Episode 091
By Cort Jones | Posted on May 18, 2021
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.
Age-Inclusive Play for Siblings Young and Old
By Miracle® Recreation | Posted on May 17, 2021
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 2021 Chlorine Shortage: Be Smart, But Don’t Panic
By Rudy Stankowitz | Posted on May 17, 2021
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.
How Park and Recreation Agencies Can Empower Coaches in the Return to Play
By Jon Solomon | Posted on May 12, 2021
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.
Park Improvements That Won’t Break Your Community’s Budget
By Little Tikes Commercial | Posted on May 11, 2021
Here are seven cost-effective ways you can improve your parks and playgrounds from Little Tikes Commercial.
How to Onboard New Volunteers Safely and Efficiently This Summer
By Background Investigation Bureau | Posted on May 6, 2021
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.
Coffee Talk Replay: Preparing for the Impacts of Climate Change — Episode 090
By Cort Jones and Roxanne Sutton | Posted on May 4, 2021
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.
How Mindfulness Can Improve Your Family’s Health
By Shea Pease | Posted on May 3, 2021
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.
Supporting Transgender Inclusion in Youth Sports
By Allison Colman, Teresa Morrissey, Autumn Saxton-Ross and Tiff Cunin | Posted on April 30, 2021
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.
Celebrating Park and Recreation Professionals on Thank a Hunger Hero Day
By Maureen Neumann | Posted on April 30, 2021
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.
New Toolkit to Assess Climate Threats and Park-Specific Strategies
By Jenny Cox | Posted on April 29, 2021
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.
Summer 2021: Safe, Fun, Healthy and Family-Friendly Activities in Parks and Rec
By NRPA Programs and Partnerships Team | Posted on April 21, 2021
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.
New Research Brief: The Evidence Base for Afterschool and Summer
By Nikki Yamashiro | Posted on April 20, 2021
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.
Addressing Issues at the Intersection of Climate and Health — Episode 089
By Cort Jones and Roxanne Sutton | Posted on April 20, 2021
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.
Columbus Recreation and Parks Department Celebrates Earth Month
By Betty Blockinger | Posted on April 16, 2021
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?
Equity-Centered Planning Is About More Than Just Metrics — May Bonus Episode
By Cort Jones and Roxanne Sutton | Posted on April 15, 2021
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.
Planning for Summer Meals Success
By Clarissa Hayes | Posted on April 14, 2021
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.
Free Earth Day Concert and Programming with MISTER G
By Roxanne Sutton | Posted on April 9, 2021
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.
New Resource Aims to Build a Fairer, Healthier World
By Alyia Gaskins and Tiffany Pertillar | Posted on April 7, 2021
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.
What Inclusion and Accessibility Mean to a Special Olympian — Episode 088
By Cort Jones and Roxanne Sutton | Posted on April 6, 2021
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.
Conducting a Regional and Rural Parks Needs Assessment
By Clement Lau, AICP, DPPD | Posted on March 24, 2021
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.
Time-Sensitive Federal Funding Notice: Local Community Project Funding (Earmarks)
By Elvis Cordova | Posted on March 23, 2021
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.
From Experiencing Homelessness to Becoming a Community Leader — Episode 087
By Cort Jones and Roxanne Sutton | Posted on March 23, 2021
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.
COVID-19: What Can We Expect for Summer Camp 2021?
By Allison Colman | Posted on March 22, 2021
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!).
Case Study: How One Successful Parks for Pollinators BioBlitz Led to Another
By Della Killeen | Posted on March 22, 2021
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!
NRPA Parks Snapshot: March 16-19 Survey Results
By Kevin Roth | Posted on March 19, 2021
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 Importance of Amplifying Contemporary Indigenous Voices — April Bonus Episode
By Cort Jones and Roxanne Sutton | Posted on March 18, 2021
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.
How the American Rescue Plan Will Help Parks and Recreation
By Kyle Simpson | Posted on March 12, 2021
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.
How Park and Recreation Departments are Reimagining Themselves During COVID-19
By Jon Solomon | Posted on March 12, 2021
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.
Introducing Parks as Community Nutrition Hubs
By Maureen Neumann | Posted on March 11, 2021
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.
USDA Extends Free Meals Through Summer 2021
By Dan McCarthy | Posted on March 11, 2021
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently extended waivers that allow all children to continue to receive free nutritious meals through the summer.
One Year Later: COVID-19 and Parks and Recreation — Episode 086
By Roxanne Sutton and Cort Jones | Posted on March 9, 2021
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.
New Tools to Support COVID-19 Vaccine Education for Communities and Employers
By Allison Colman | Posted on March 2, 2021
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.
Engaging Youth as Park and Recreation Leaders
By Maureen Neumann | Posted on March 1, 2021
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?
The Texas Energy Crisis: How Parks and Recreation Meet the Moment
By Dan McCarthy | Posted on February 24, 2021
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.
Why the Fight for Access to Playgrounds is a Racial Justice Issue
By Kevin Paul | Posted on February 24, 2021
Playgrounds have always been a racial justice issue, so let’s treat them like one.
Creating a Space for Women in Parks and Recreation — Episode 085
By Roxanne Sutton and Cort Jones | Posted on February 23, 2021
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.
Building ‘An Equal Future’ with TEDxCollegePark — March Bonus Episode
By Cort Jones and Roxanne Sutton | Posted on February 18, 2021
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.
GameTime’s 2021 Park and Playground Trends
By Kent Callison | Posted on February 12, 2021
These trends from GameTime indicate the industry's direction in the upcoming year while simultaneously calling attention to innovations from 2020.
How Parks and Recreation Plays a Role in COVID-Impacted Youth Sports
By Jon Solomon | Posted on February 10, 2021
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.
The Best Things in Life Are Free
By David Sabgir, MD, FACC | Posted on February 10, 2021
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!
Creating Opportunities for Underserved Youth in Louisville — Episode 084
By Cort Jones and Roxanne Sutton | Posted on February 9, 2021
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.
NRPA Parks Snapshot: February 2-5 Survey Results
By Kevin Roth | Posted on February 5, 2021
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.
Kids Just Want to Have Fun
By Lynn Pinoniemi | Posted on February 1, 2021
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.
Serving the Better Angels of Our Nature
By Daniel L. Dustin, Ph.D. | Posted on January 27, 2021
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.
Coffee Talk Replay: Park Equity and Racial Justice — Episode 083
By Cort Jones and Roxanne Sutton | Posted on January 26, 2021
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.
Celebrating Parks and Recreation’s Inaugural 30 Under 30 — February Bonus Episode
By Cort Jones and Roxanne Sutton | Posted on January 21, 2021
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 and Recreation Spaces — Vital Places in Our Communities
By Sarah Lisiecki | Posted on January 15, 2021
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.
How a Group of Teens Is Bringing a Skatepark To Their Community — Episode 082
By Cort Jones and Roxanne Sutton | Posted on January 12, 2021
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!
By Lauren Kiefert | Posted on January 8, 2021
January is National Mentoring Month, a time to recognize the value and impact that mentors have on our youth.
Intergenerational Nutrition: Community Members of All Ages Can Join the Fun!
By Dr. Danielle Hollar | Posted on January 8, 2021
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!
Good News in Parks – A Show that Celebrates YOU
By Anne-Marie Spencer | Posted on January 6, 2021
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.