Why 50,000 is a Great Number for Parks and Recreation

By Lauren Hoffmann | Posted on June 3, 2015

In case you missed the announcement, NRPA reached a pretty significant milestone last week — we now have 50,000 members! That’s huge!  

50,000-Member-CakeBesides this being big news in and of itself, the fact that we reached this magnitude of size during our 50th year makes it that much more special.

NRPA President and CEO Barbara Tulipane, CAE, made the announcement to members on May 28, and she outlined three ways the growth in membership is significant for park and recreation professionals, citizen advocates, industry suppliers and more.

1. As we grow, our collective power to elevate the essential role of parks and recreation with the public grows as well. With more of us in parks and recreation operating at the highest standards and professionalism and embracing the Three Pillars — conservation, health and wellness, and social equity — we will demonstrate such an incredible impact among our communities that cannot be ignored.

2. Networking opportunities expand which means more diversity, and more ideas and solutions to share — helping to move the field forward. If you’ve got questions that need answers, a challenge you want to address or you are looking for fresh inspiration to help your agency have success, look no further than the 50,000 members of this organization. Reach out via NRPA Connect and join one of the networks/groups or attend one of NRPA’s signature events — the NRPA Annual Conference or schools — to build a strong network of varying ideas and experience you can count on.

3. When it comes to advocating on Capitol Hill, numbers rule and our voice just got louder! As we continue to grow, we add significance and power to our messages, especially among elected officials. When we bring our voices together to advocate for certain programs, or when we share the impact of the work we do in communities, our 50,000 voices boom.

Here are some other fun facts about our 50,000 membership milestone:

  • In the last three years our membership has more than doubled in size.  

  • Going back a little further and looking at the data from 10 years ago to now, NRPA has had an almost 200 percent increase in members

  • The 50,000th person to become a member was Suzanne Williams-Piper, Financial Manager at Austin Parks and Recreation Department (a NRPA Premier agency).

As Barbara shared in her email, most importantly, this milestone means NRPA will continue to support you — providing and growing the resources you need for your agency, your own professional development and for your community.

We couldn’t have achieved this wonderful milestone without the strong support of all of you. We hope you can celebrate in this achievement just as we are here!

What do you think is a benefit of having a membership of 50,000 park and recreation professionals? Leave a comment below or tweet us @NRPA_News #NRPA50.

Lauren Hoffmann is NRPA's Director of Marketing and Communications.