NRPA Innovation Lab New Orleans | Professional Development Survey
I will say, it's wonderful to hear nice things about parks and recreation from folks outside our universe (as you'll see below in this week's guest post). You all do great work and as you gear up for busy summers full of camps, pools, splash pads, feeding programs, and more, know that your work does not go unnoticed.
To that end, I ran across this story about the Lyons family from Boston who visited and documented every park in their city. "My kids have seen the city as it really is and they're very comfortable with all different kinds of people," Ed Lyons told the NBC station. "They would never have felt that way if they'd stayed with us in [our local park]." Parks are the best way to get to know, to fall in love with, or just get re-acquainted with your city. So this summer take your kids, your dog, your friends, or just you and your smartphone, and see your city through a new set of eyes.
My family and I are starting our summer park adventure in our Petworth neighborhood. On behalf of a grateful public, and as a parent, thanks for all that you do in parks everywhere this summer, and as they say a picture is worth a thousand words.
Take Care, 
Kevin O'Hara
Vice President of Urban and Government Affairs
A Message from the United States Selective Service System:
Parks and Urban Recreation Centers, and the staffs that manage them, help to change lives every day. Whether a magnificent natural oasis or a recreation center offering a range of enriching activities, these places help to feed the soul. It is clear how much they inspire, build character, foster intellectual curiosity, promote physical activity, and provide a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of city centers.
What may not be immediately apparent is that facility directors and their staffs can also have great impact on the lives of young men with just a few words:
"Remember to register with Selective Service when you turn 18."
Most people know that registration is the law and a civic duty. What many don't know is that a man can jeopardize his access to important benefits – for life – if he fails to register by his 26th birthday. There are several life-changing benefits linked to registration, and the loss of these opportunities can have a profound effect on young men's success in life. These benefits include access to all federal student loans and grants, job training programs, and eligibility for millions of federal jobs, many state and municipal jobs, and an increasing number of contractor jobs. Additionally, immigrant men who wish to become citizens will have the process significantly delayed if they don't register.
While there is no penalty if young men register by the time they turn 26, after that, it's too late, and opportunities can become permanently lost. Tragically, the men most likely not to register are those from at-risk communities. Every month, our office receives thousands of calls, letters, and e-mails from thousands of men who can't get a job or college loan because, they say, no one ever told them how important registration would be.
And that's why we are turning to you. Each year, we meet with recreation and park centers around the country because our research and experience show that you and your staff are among the most effective messengers of important life information for young men. Working with consultants, we have developed a brief toolkit to make it easy to spread the word about registration – to young men themselves, their parents, and your peers in the community. We're not asking that you take time away from your other vital activities to share this information, but rather to incorporate it into the hundreds of things you're already doing to promote bright futures. It only takes a minute for a young man to register online at, and it will keep open a lifetime of opportunity.
To view the kit, and to provide feedback to us on how we could make it even more useful to you and your colleagues, please visit Thank you for your support, and for the invaluable services you provide to our communities.
Senator Donald M. Benton
Director, United States Selective Service System
With the needs of communities across the nation constantly changing, park and recreation agencies have to learn to adapt and grow. The best way to achieve that is through the professional development of the people who provide the park and recreation services. 
That's why NRPA, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Mississippi, is conducting a research project to study the current state of park and recreation professional development and to determine opportunities for improvements. The findings from this research will help NRPA and the academic community ensure that professional development opportunities, education and certifications meet the needs of park and recreation professionals today and into the future.
To show our appreciation for your participation, we are giving away two $50 Amazon gift cards and twenty $20 Amazon gift cards to 22 randomly selected participants who complete the survey by June 30.
Take the Survey
Join NRPA and your fellow park and rec leaders in the Crescent City to learn more about how other cities are, or are not, integrating parks into their resilience efforts. This Lab will focus on forward thinking planning and park development strategies that cities can use to maximize the value of their parks and opens spaces to combat the effects of rising sea levels, flooding, drought, extreme weather events and more. Attendees will participate in a discussion with architects, landscape architects and engineers to talk about innovative new designs; and through round table discussions, learn how other cities and park and rec agencies are addressing climate change-related challenges. Through site visits, see how New Orleans is working to maximize the value of parks and open spaces in service of larger city-wide resilience goals.
Learn More and Register
Trending Topics
FY18 Budget
Open Space Blog
The full details of President Trump's budget request for FY18 were released last week, which, if enacted, would mark a devastating divestment in programs critical to parks and recreation across the nation.
The White House's proposal could drive a wedge between local governments and their own employees when it comes to immigration policy.
The New York Times
A look at the people and programs at risk from the proposed budget.
United States Environmental Protection Agency
This report includes recommendations on the types of projects that are most likely to attract positive attention and funding, and which provide a wide range of benefits.
Here are five key facts city leaders should know about the president's decision to withdraw and its ramifications.
Local leaders won't sit idle as U.S. climate leadership wanes.
Next City
A group of businesses and municipal stakeholders is planning a "bee park" in the Royal National City Park.
Architects Liz Diller and Charles Renfro talk about their latest high-profile commission, a weather-bending (and politically charged) city park in the heart of the Russian capital.
The city is planning a major green makeover to combat the heat island and create a more welcoming place for humans and animals alike.
The New York Times
Robin Hood Waldkindergarten, which opened in 2005, is one of more than 1,500 waldkitas, or "forest kindergartens," in Germany.
Next City
As part of a citywide goal to become water self-sufficient by 2020, Santa Monica, California, unveiled a new water reuse system in a park this week.
Next City
Indianapolis will soon have an oasis in the unlikeliest of places: a grassy hill between two interstates.
Carving out space in Olmsted-designed Jackson Park for Obama's presidential library misses an opportunity—and sets a bad precedent.
Social Equity
Meeting of the Minds
While many agencies and their employees want to help homeless park users, there is a demonstrable challenge in addressing homelessness with compassion while staying aligned with our park and recreation mission. 
The Atlantic
Trainings and workshops geared toward eliminating people's hidden prejudices are all the rage—but many don't work. Now the psychologist who made the case for "implicit bias" wants to cure it.
This has been a great year for parks in America—but is this new generation of High Line-inspired parks embedding social injustice into our cities?
Sustainable City Network
How is a landscape architect or urban planner to approach community design that meets the needs of a city, developer or other client but also with appropriate sensitivity to the needs and desires of a community?
Author Mark Pendergrast on why a 22-mile path around the famously sprawling city could be a game changer.
In Other News
The Trust for Public Land
The Trust for Public Land's ParkScore® index is the most comprehensive tool available for evaluating park access and quality in the 100 largest U.S. cities.
National League of Cities
National League of Cities' annual State of the Cities report is a content analysis of mayors' own words.
Facebook Live
NRPA's Advocacy and Outreach Manager, Jayni Rasmussen traveled to Fairbanks, Alaska to see how they turned their event into a Park Champion event.
Through Meet Me at the Park, NRPA in collaboration with The Walt Disney Company understand the need to improve access to outdoor play — including trails, mobile play, play spaces and sports. Thanks to a grant from Disney, NRPA is excited to expand the Meet Me at the Park program and provide additional communities with increased access to play spaces in local parks for children and families across the U.S. As part of this program, park and recreation agencies in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. Territories are invited to share their best ideas on increasing access to play spaces for children and families. Agencies with the most innovative and impactful project ideas will receive grants to build their projects.
Terry Rynard, Deputy Director Kansas City Parks and Recreation
Through our 125 year history, our Park Board has resisted implementing closing parks. We have several areas where parking is prohibited at night and some parking lots and roads that are gated, but we have never agreed to limiting access to people. The phrase has always been, "parks are for people". We are getting a tremendous amount of pressure from our City Council to implement park closings at some of parks that are more prone to homeless and overnight camping. Please take a moment to provide some context for the folks at Kansas City Parks and Recreation.
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