Reflecting on the Past, Preparing for the Future

December 26, 2019, Department, by Gina Mullins-Cohen

Gina Mullins Cohen Standing Pond 410

January is a special time of year when we return from spending time with loved ones and reflect upon the people, places and events that shape our lives. Now, with happiness and gratitude top of mind, we turn our thoughts to the future, excited for what’s to come in the new year. In this issue, we do just that. We delve into topics that have permeated our recent work and values, including social justice and the brave leadership of all of the park and recreation professionals in our field. We also look ahead at the many up-and-coming park and recreation trends.

Our cover feature, beginning on page 30, “Top Trends in Parks and Recreation 2020,” written by NRPA’s Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Rich Dolesh, provides his annual predictions about what will be trending in parks and recreation in the coming year. Ranging from topics of technology to health and from a tone of serious to humorous, this year’s predictions — as always — are certain to provide accurate insights into what your agency should be keeping on its radar.

Next, the feature story on page 36, titled “Pricing Strategies That Combat Social Injustice,” by contributor John L. Crompton, Ph.D., reveals the ways that pricing strategies play a role in social justice and how park and recreation agencies can amend their pricing strategies to employ equitable practices across their offerings to best serve their communities. “‘Distributive justice’ frequently is used as a synonym for ‘social justice,’” he says, “[and] government entities are the primary institutions with responsibility to put distributive justice into operation.”

Author and NRPA board member Dr. Joshua T. Medeiros, Ed.D., CPRP, AFO, shares the story of how a social media post by the City of Bristol Department of Parks, Recreation, Youth and Community Services (Connecticut) prompted a community-wide discussion about the park and recreation industry’s role in social equity. This feature, “Indigenous Peoples’ Day or Columbus Day: Lessons in Leadership and Risk-Taking,” on page 40, discusses how leadership can step up and take a stand to set an example for both their staff and the larger community. “In a risk-adverse municipal climate, my gut reaction was to not approve the post…” Dr. Medeiros says. “After some consideration, I decided ‘playing it safe’ was not the right choice in this situation.”

Here, at NRPA, we are excited to start the new year by continuing to celebrate and support the exceptional profession and people we serve, the good work you have accomplished and all the great things you have yet to do. I know I am feeling refreshed and ready for the start of a wonderful new year — I hope you are too.

Gina Mullins-Cohen is the Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Publishing and Editorial Director of Parks & Recreation magazine.