Tipping Points

December 1, 2014, Department, by Gina Mullins-Cohen

Gina Mullins-Cohen, NRPA's VP of Marketing, Communications and PublicationsWhere is that corner, the one that you turn heading off in a new and irreversible direction? Is it to be discovered out there in the near or distant future, waiting to appear in sabotage without warning? Is it simply a slow-to-realize plan coming to form as you close in on it, walking step by step toward an elusive image — an ideal?

This issue of Parks & Recreation speaks to such concepts — the revelation holding the ability to trip up the well-intended and the best-laid plans or the dream that changes a course of direction forever. 

NRPA’s CEO and President Barbara Tulipane interviews Paul Gilbert, executive director of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, in this must-read feature. Gilbert, who has written a book addressing the ambitions of professionals in the field of parks, recreation and tourism, asserts that park and recreation agencies can only continue to flourish by continually reinventing themselves as in an entrepreneurial organizational model. Do you agree? 

Rich Dolesh, NRPA’s vice president of conservation and parks, addresses the new and more limiting safety standards for playground surfaces recently adopted by an ASTM subcommittee in his Operations article. If these new conditions are finally approved by ASTM’s Committee on Standards, they could have critical bearing on our public playgrounds throughout the nation. The principles intend to lessen the chance of injury in playground falls, and Dolesh asks the tough questions dogging the industry in this developing story.

We also give you one final look at NRPA’s 2014 annual convention. This special section provides a roundup of the education sessions, the award presentations, the exhibit hall and the opening general session, each a reminder of the progression of opportunities available now and in the future for park and recreation professionals.

Our goal at NRPA is to provide answers and seek out solutions. Solutions that work when you reach that point in the future that might trip things up, and answers so when opportunity comes, you will be prepared to seize it. Your NRPA membership, the content in this magazine, and the networking opportunities and education provided from NRPA’s annual convention provide these solutions and answers. The social and moral awareness established through NRPA’s Three Pillars of Conservation, Health and Wellness, and Social Equity have been established to offer hope and afford ongoing opportunities of positive, irreversible change.

Gina Mullins-Cohen is NRPA's Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Publishing and Editorial Director of Parks & Recreation Magazine.