30 Years of Summer Fun

July 1, 2015, Department, by Gina Mullins-Cohen

NRPA Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Publishing and Editorial Director, Gina Mullins-CohenThis year, in addition to NRPA celebrating its 50th anniversary, NRPA’s Park and Recreation Month also observes its 30-year milestone.

To honor this special occasion, we held a Park and Recreation Month photo contest for the cover of our July 2015 issue. We received more than 170 submissions, but sorting through the photos and categorizing them was not the difficult part. The tricky part was selecting the finalists because most of the entries were not just good — most of them ranged from very good to great.

First, we pared down the images by making sure the overall composition would work for our cover. Could we position the magazine logo without cutting off elements within the photo? Did the photo speak to the power of parks and recreation, or did it speak subtly to a theme of one or all of NRPA’s Three Pillars: Conservation, Health and Wellness and Social Equity? Lastly, would the image make you, our member-reader, open it up and read?

The decision was tough, but we finally settled on 12 finalists to post on our Facebook page so you could vote for your favorite. The winning photo, seen on the cover of this issue, was submitted by Colleen Hook, manager at McAllen, Texas’s Quinta Mazatlan World Birding Center. We agreed with the voters on this winning entry. This single photo addresses many of the countless wonders awaiting discovery within a park. It instantly shows how critical it is for kids to connect with nature and it addresses the need for children to explore the great outdoors and to study, appreciate and understand wildlife. This photo, pretty much, says it all.

Summer is in full swing by July and our July issue is filled with great summer reads. Roxanne Sutton, NRPA’s senior marketing and communications specialist, talks Park and Recreation Month and highlights the vital role parks serve in our lives in “Sharing the Power of Parks in July.” You’ll also find details about our winning cover photo and four of our runners-up. NRPA Director of Grants and Partnerships Jimmy O’Connor’s overview of this year’s Parks Build Community project, Joe Kneip Park, in North Las Vegas, gives insight into all the exciting changes in store for this deserving community park. Finally, NRPA Education Manager, Conferences and Schools, Tom Crosley gives us a sneak-peek at a handful of education offerings slated for the 2015 NRPA Annual Conference.

Summer is the busiest season for park and recreation professionals, but I know as you read this issue you will discover at least one more reason why parks and recreation matter to everyone.

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