Expectations

  • Respond to Park Champion™ calls to action by engaging your federal elected officials and staff via phone calls, letters, sign-ons, and, most importantly, Park Champion™ Events (Park Champion™ Event: Any event with a member of Congress or staff present) 
  • Use the Park Champion™ Advocacy Toolkit to invite your members of Congress or their staff to your events (park dedications, program kick-offs, special events, etc.) that showcase your park and recreation agency and programs
  • Attend Park Champion™ webinars
  • Participate in the online Park Champion™ community on NRPA Connect

Benefits

  • Develop relationships with your members of Congress (U.S. senators and representative)
  • Showcase your parks, facilities, and programs
  • Learn valuable event-planning and advocacy skills
  • Strengthen volunteer support by mobilizing them in advocacy
  • Understand how federal funding affects local parks and recreation

2019 Park Champion™ of the Year Award

NRPA members who hosted a Park Champion™ event before Friday, August 31st, 2019, were eligible for the 2019 Park Champion™ of the Year Award. The recipients of the 2019 Park Champion™ of the Year Award will receive:

  • Roundtrip travel and lodging for two in their agency to travel to Washington, D.C. in spring 2020 to advocate for parks and recreation on Capitol Hill
  • An awesome, WWE-style Park Champion™ wrestling belt presented at NRPA's Annual Conference in Baltimore
  • Feature in NRPA's Parks and Recreation magazine and Open Space blog

Eligibility: A Park Champion™ event is any event at a park and recreation agency's park, facility, or program that is attended by a member of Congress (U.S. senator or U.S. representative) or their staff. 

Park Champion™ events shared before August 31, 2019 were eligible for the 2019 Park Champion™ of the Year Award.

 

Winners of the Park Champion™ of the Year Award

2019

Congratulations to the 2019 recipient of the Park Champion™ of the Year Award, Metro Parks Tacoma for the event with Congressman Denny Heck. The event showcased the grand opening of the Eastside Community Center which fulfilled the dream of Shalisa Hayes whose son, Billy Ray Shirley III was killed by gun violence. Metro Parks Tacoma worked with Hayes and Congressman Heck to find ways to fund the project.

2018

Congratulations to the 2018 recipient of the Park Champion™ of the Year Award, Darren Lewis of Mount Airy Parks and Recreation in Mount Airy, North Carolina! Lewis hosted Congresswoman Virginia Foxx at a ribbon-cutting for Mount Airy Parks and Recreation’s new pocket park.

Read more about their winning Park Champion™ event here.

2017

Congratulations to the 2017 recipient of the Park Champion™ of the Year Award, Som Subedi of Portland Parks and Recreation in Portland, Oregon! His event, WALK with Refugees, had staff from Senator Ron Wyden's office present. 

Read more about their winning Park Champion™ event here.

2016

Congratulations to the 2016 Park Champions™ Tracy Willette, Bangor Parks and Recreation and Deb Smith, Maine Recreation and Park Association. The event, Senior Little League World Series at Shawn T. Mansfield Stadium, had Senator Susan Collins, Congressman Bruce Poliquin, and staff from the office of Senator Angus King present.

Read more about their winning Park Champion™ event here. 

2015

Congratulations to the 2015 Park Champions™ Adriane Johnson and Ryan Risinger, Buffalo Grove Park District. The event, Dedication of Kilmer Park, had staff from the office of Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth present.

Read more about their winning Park Champion™ event here.

 

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