It’s critical that we get creative to ensure the future of parks and recreation. Traditional, old-fashioned advocacy techniques simply cannot be relied upon any longer. Thankfully, NRPA’s membership consists of an extensive network of park and recreation professionals and advocates, all uniquely positioned to take an innovative approach to advocacy.  Instead of relying on standard advocacy techniques, our members can take advantage of compelling resources:  beautiful parks, quality programming, and a deep connection with their communities.  Anyone can interact with their Congressional offices with the occasional email. By inviting their members of Congress or their staff to see the essential services they provide first-hand, our members can create lasting impressions that are allowing them to build strong relationships with their federal elected officials and staff year-round.

This powerful storytelling, show-and-tell method is exactly what’s behind the Park Champion campaign, NRPA’s signature grassroots advocacy initiative. This innovative campaign is engaging park and recreation professionals, park advocates, and decision-makers across the nation in park and recreation advocacy. Through webinars with expert guest speakers, comprehensive toolkits, and staff on-hand, the Park Champion initiative is making it easy to bring Capitol Hill to a park near you.

In this third year of the initiative, Park Champions from across the county invited their members of Congress to exciting events already on their calendar. Members of Congress and their staff, eager to get out of their office and into the community to interact with constituents, jumped at the opportunity to get out to events in parks and community centers in their districts. Through impactful visits to everything from park dedications to summer meal programs, Park Champions are making a big difference, one event at a time.

Looking forward to 2018, we’re excited to continue the Park Champion initiative as a year-round effort. We’re excited to stand with our Park Champions and their networks, giving them the tools and support they need to bring Capitol Hill to a park near you. 

Make parks and recreation advocacy a priority this year sign the Park Champion pledge today!

Learn and Grow

Webinars
Throughout 2018, the NRPA Public Policy team will be holding an exciting new series of monthly webinars designed to educate new and veteran Park Champions on how to be effective parks and recreation advocates. Each webinar is designed exclusively for park and recreation professionals and advocates and feature expert guest speakers. Browse the Park Champion webinar archives.

Speak Up

NRPA’s CQ Engage tool makes it easy to take action. In just a few moments and the simple click of a button, Engage allows you to send messages to all of your Congressional offices to stand up for the parks and recreation issues that matter most. Check out NRPA’s Engage site and write an impactful message to your members of Congress today. 

Activate Your Networks

NRPA is over 60,000 strong, but behind each member agency, there are hundreds to thousands of dedicated volunteers and advocates standing by, ready to support parks and recreation in their communities. Many agencies that want to advocate for their agency and community are often strapped for time and capacity. By building partnerships with their networks that engage supporters in parks and recreation advocacy, agencies can amplify their voice and ensure that Congress continues to value the importance of parks and recreation. NRPA is developing a tool to help you build strong advocacy partnerships with your volunteer networks, friends groups, and local organizations.

Let's Stay In Touch

A main tenant of the Park Champion initiative is building strong, lasting relationships with your members of Congress and their staff. A great foundation for this relationship can be made by hosting a Park Champion event, but it’s crucial to maintain that relationship through continued engagement and additional Park Champion events. NRPA’s staff is on hand to help you keep up your relationship and ensure that your member of Congress’ continues to notice the importance of your agency’s work to the community you serve. 

Help Us Meet Our Goal

We were blown away by the incredible Park Champion events across the country in 2016 and 2017. In 2018, we’re building on that momentum. You can help us meet this goal and make a difference for the future of parks and recreation by hosting a Park Champion event. 

2018 Park Champion of the Year Award

Park Champions who host at least one member of Congress and/or their staff at an event highlighting their parks and programs between September 1, 2017 and August 31, 2018 are eligible for the 2018 Park Champion of the Year Award. The winner(s) of the 2018 Park Champion Award will receive a plaque and recognition at NRPA’s Annual Conference in Indianapolis and lodging and roundtrip airfare for two in their agency to travel to Washington, D.C. in the spring of 2019 to attend the 2019 Park Champion Advocacy Summit and advocate for parks and recreation on Capitol Hill. 

We're Here For You

The NRPA Public Policy team strives to provide our members with all the tools they need to succeed as a Park Champion from their home turf. Webinars, toolkits, and comprehensive resources like fact sheets and one-pagers are all available at your fingertips. But if time and capacity is an issue for your agency, the coordinator of the Park Champion initiative, Jayni Rasmussen, is available to help you brainstorm, design your advocacy strategy and plan your Park Champion event. Available by e-mail or phone anytime, feel free to reach out to Jayni at jrasmussen@nrpa.org or 440.522.9162. 

Sign the Park Champion Pledge

 

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