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If the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we all have the ability to adapt and change course. But as park and recreation professionals, we already have mastered that skill! From rained out events to budgetary restrictions, learning to adapt is almost a prerequisite to the job. However, we know those skills didn’t come overnight, and for a young professional, it can be a string of tough lessons to learn without support and guidance.
That’s where the NRPA Young Professional Network (YPN) really shines. A national support group of young professionals from small towns to large urban cities, the YPN is open to park and recreation students and young professionals ages 35 and younger.
This is not your mom and dad’s networking group. These are early adopters who are ready to coach you through the steps of running an esports league, explain what Clubhouse is and how you can use it, provide real-world advice on certifications to assist you in your career development, and more.
The YPN hosts a monthly virtual conference call to discuss topics, like social media marketing, summer camps, diversity training or how to transition from being a student to a professional. In addition to these group learning opportunities, the YPN keeps its members informed of opportunities offered in the field, including webinars and grant opportunities offered by NRPA.
The best part of the YPN is the collective passion that each of its members bring to what they do. The inaugural 30 Under 30 is a recent initiative created by the YPN and Parks & Recreation magazine to celebrate 30 top young professionals who are making their mark in their respective communities.
These young professionals know it’s important to work hard and reward your hard work with a little fun. The group hosts monthly social nights for its members that include trivia nights and esports tournaments.
During a year when we all seem to be further apart, the YPN has been able to keep its members feeling connected and supported. Find out how you can get involved and learn more about upcoming conference calls, volunteer opportunities and resources by visiting connect.nrpa.org/YPN.
Brittany Jones is the Communications and Equity Manager for Safe Routes Partnership and Co-Chair of NRPA’s Young Professional Network.