The Park Champion™ Initiative (PCI) is NRPA’s signature grassroots advocacy training program that provides our members with the information, skills and experience needed to be effective advocates for parks and recreation. The PCI will engage and educate NRPA members about the importance of actively advocating for their agency and communities, cultivating future industry leaders that will build influential relationships between constituents and government officials at the local, state and federal level. 

As Park Champions™, NRPA members serve as year-round ambassador or their community to their elected officials. With the support of the NRPA Public Policy and Advocacy team, Park Champions™ learn how to be effective advocates through combining data and storytelling, building inclusive coalitions, and sharing these best practices with their communities. 

This train-the-trainer model enables Park Champions™ to build the movement of parks and recreation across the country, starting in their communities.  

NRPA will serve as a resource hub and strategic partner, empowering members to bring learnings back into their communities and sustainably mobilize local park and recreation movements.  

What are the program requirements? 

Participants in the PCI training program are required to: 

  • Prerequisites 
    • Have an active NRPA membership in good standing 
    • Desire to become an active advocate for the field of park and recreation 
  • Commitments 
    • Attend at least 5 of 8 sessions to get full credit, completing all relevant assignments 
    • Sign up for NRPA’s advocacy alerts  
    • Participate in the Park Champions™ community on NRPA Connect 
    • Commit to organizing or participating in local advocacy event(s) on behalf of your respective park and recreation agency 
    • Commit to organizing or participating in a local Park Champion™ Initiative training to share your knowledge with others in your community 
    • Help identify future PCI program participants

Is there a cost to this training program? 

No. This PCI cohort is included as part of an NRPA membership. 


How can I sign up? 

Fill out the Future Park Champion™ Participant Interest Form. We will notify you when enrollment opens for future cohorts! See below for the yearly cohort cycle and look out for future enrollment emails.

Yearly Schedule

Cohort Cycle


Sign Up


September-November August
Winter January-March December
Spring April-June March


Park Champion™ Initiative Schedule 

The Park Champion™ Initiative (PCI) program will consist of an 8-week series of targeted training, webinars, group exercises and bite-sized learning modules. The program will proceed as follows: 

  • Prework: Participants will receive preparatory materials ahead of each training session on NRPA’s learning management system. To be completed asynchronously.   
  • Activity: PCI training sessions will take place on Thursdays from 2-3 p.m. EDT/11 a.m. - noon PDT. To be completed asynchronously.  
  • Discussion: After select training sessions, participants will respond to a reflection prompt on the PCI page of NRPA Connect. To be completed asynchronously. 
  • Office Hours: NRPA’s Public Policy and Advocacy team will hold optional virtual office hours following each training session to provide PCI participants with the opportunity to review that week’s materials, ask questions about the training topics, and get assistance in the development of their action plans. To be completed as needed. 

Spring 2023 Cohort Weekly Schedule



Time (EST)

Training Topic

1 Thursday, April 20, 2023 2:00-3:00 p.m. Kickoff
2 Thursday, April 27, 2023 2:00-3:00 p.m.


3 Thursday, May 4, 2023 2:00-3:00 p.m. Storytelling
4 Thursday, May 11, 2023 2:00-3:00 p.m. Community Power Mapping
5 Thursday, May 18, 2023 2:00-3:00 p.m. Layering Federal Nutrition Programs
6 Thursday, May 25, 2023 2:00-3:00 p.m. Coalition Building
7 Thursday, June 1, 2023 2:00-3:00 p.m. Adult Learners
8 Thursday, June 8, 2023 2:00-3:00 p.m. Creating Your Own PCI Training

Who can I contact if I have any questions?  

Please reach out to NRPA Public Policy and Advocacy staff at with any questions.

News Stories