2017 has definitely challenged our endurance for withstanding whatever Mother Nature has thrown our way, such as hurricanes, floods and wildfires. And, while we’ve seen the devastation caused by these tragic events and grieved for those who suffered great losses, we’ve also witnessed extraordinary acts of compassion and heroism — especially within the parks and recreation industry.
In fact, this month’s cover story, “Resiliency in the Face of Adversity,” on page 38, shows how park and recreation agencies survived the wrath of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, as well as the intense wildfires that burned out West, only to come back stronger and help their communities to heal and begin to rebuild. NRPA’s Rich Dolesh and Cort Jones examine this topic by going one-on-one with park and rec staff to understand the challenges they faced during these events, as well as the lessons learned that have helped them prepare for future catastrophes.
Social media played a key role during these harrowing events, as it enabled people to let their loved ones know they were alive or to alert others they were in need of assistance. Parks and recreation knows all too well the power of social media. What’s more, contributor Landon Schenck discusses the importance of establishing and implementing a thorough social media policy in your own agency in the article, “Creating Social Media Policies for Your Parks and Rec Department,” on page 44. He offers such tips as determining which employees may post to your social media accounts and ensuring all messaging is consistent with your community’s brand voice.
Our third feature this month on page 48, begs the question: “Who helps older adults?” According to contributor Corey Clark, Heritage Park Senior Facility in Henderson, Nevada, has certainly stepped up to the plate. This 29,667-square-foot center is able to meet the needs of its older adults by forming partnerships with other community service organizations. The key is having a separate office that connects older adults directly with community services, including Homebound Meals on Wheels, Meals on Wheels for Pets and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program.
Time and time again, park and recreation agencies have shown their resolve by facing challenges head on, leading their communities through tough times and finding the silver lining in the wake of tragedy and adversity.