Thinking Strategically

August 1, 2016, Department, by Susan K. Trautman, CPRP

Susan Trautman, CPRPI am a planner and goal-setter by nature — it helps me get things done. So, last year, when development of NRPA’s three-year strategic plan began, I was excited to see that the focus would be on outcomes.

It’s hard to believe a year has already passed — it’s August, and here in St. Louis we are preparing for your visit to the NRPA Annual Conference in October.  As the sun sets on my time at the helm of NRPA’s Board of Directors, I’m compelled to think not of endings, but of new beginnings. The 2017-2019 strategic plan represents the beginning of a new chapter in NRPA’s storied history — one that looks and feels differently than its predecessors. Building off the great successes of our past, NRPA will focus on impacting communities by providing the tools, data, grants and access needed to develop healthy, sustainable and equitable communities. Through expanded efforts in education, advocacy, research and communications, you, our members, will be poised to positively affect countless lives in the communities you serve.

A plan this ambitious doesn’t come cheaply. It will take concentrated efforts to raise the $28 million needed to implement this three-year strategic plan, but, we’re confident the laudable goals for which we’re striving will compel funders to get involved. 

We know NRPA’s Three Pillars — Conservation, Health and Wellness, and Social Equity — resonate with members as clear conceptualizations of all the areas of public life touched by parks and recreation. Through research and feedback, we also know the park and recreation professionals’ most important goal is to best serve their constituents. To that end, the 2017-2019 strategic plan is about helping our members meet the needs of their patrons, whether that’s feeding hungry children, championing green, sustainable practices, or making sure every person can easily access a park or green space.

We are accountable to you, as you are to your communities. We want to work, hand in hand, with NRPA membership to connect 1 million kids to nature, increase access to physical activity for 1.5 million people and provide 3 million people with improved nutrition.  

These seem like big goals, but there’s one thing of which I am certain: As an individual dedicated to making a difference in our field, I can only make a real impact one neighborhood at a time. A united NRPA membership, working in concert with NRPA leadership and aligned with our new strategic plan, however, can touch millions of lives and help craft national policies that champion the goals for which we strive. 

United we stand — let’s get to work. 


Susan K. Trautman, CPRP, is the Chair of NRPA's Board of Directors