The Growing Influence of Young Professionals in Parks and Recreation

By Colton Patak | Posted on March 20, 2024


As someone working in the park and recreation field, you may feel like more experienced industry professionals often drown out your voice. However, it’s important for young professionals to share their insights and ideas because they bring fresh perspectives and innovative approaches to the industry. Moreover, statistics show that the number of young professionals in parks and recreation is increasing, with a growing number of individuals under the age of 35 joining the field.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 32% of recreation workers are under 35 years old and this number is expected to rise in the coming years. This trend is a positive one, because younger professionals can contribute valuable perspectives and ideas to the industry.

Writing blogs, articles and social media posts are great ways for young professionals to share their thoughts and ideas. A survey by HubSpot found that businesses that blog receive 97 percent more links to its website, and those with active blogs generate 67 percent more leads per month. Therefore, writing and publishing content can help young professionals gain visibility and influence within their field.

In addition to written media, young professionals can also write for industry publications, like Parks & Recreation magazine and other publications covering the field. Writing for these publications can help young professionals reach a wider audience and gain recognition for their work.

Social media is also a powerful tool for young professionals in parks and recreation. A study by Pew Research Center found that 90 percent of adults ages 18 to 29 use social media, making it an ideal platform to connect with others in the industry and share ideas. By leveraging social media platforms, like Twitter and LinkedIn, young professionals can build their networks and reach a wider audience with their message.

Overall, it’s essential for young professionals to share their ideas and perspectives in the park and recreation industry. As the number of young professionals in the field continues to grow, there is a need for fresh ideas and perspectives to drive innovation and improvement. NRPA is dedicated to supporting young professionals and providing opportunities for their voices to be heard. The NRPA Young Professional Network has a committee specifically focused on publications, led by co-chairs Rachel Smith and Colton Patak (myself), who are committed to creating opportunities for young professionals to share their ideas and opinions with the broader community.

To get your voice heard, you can attend industry conferences and networking events, reach out to publications or organizations, and create content for blogs and social media. By taking these steps, you can share your ideas and help shape the future of the park and recreation profession.


If you are interested in having your voice or idea heard, please fill out the survey below:

Want to get involved in YPN? See below:


Colton Patak is the co-chair of publications for NRPA's Young Professional Network