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  • Contains 0 Component(s)

    Coming June/July 2024! This learning product will cover effective communication techniques, principles of empathy and inclusivity, conflict resolution strategies and cultural competence — all tailored to the unique context of parks and recreation. These areas are essential for professionals and volunteers to create inclusive environments, address conflicts constructively and engage diverse communities effectively, ensuring that park and recreation spaces are welcoming and accessible to all.

    Coming June/July 2024! Be curious, not judgmental. Approach difficult conversations head-on and empathetically, not to assign blame but to better understand and create a welcoming work culture internally and inclusive experiences externally. The learning product "Uncomfortable Conversations in Parks and Recreation" delves into navigating the challenging discussions that surface in park and recreation settings and beyond. 

    Leveraging insights from lived experiences on six continents with global organizations such as Disney, Olympics and TED / TEDx and utilizing communication lessons and social psychology, this course is designed for individuals working or volunteering in these areas. The curriculum emphasizes how to handle topics like inclusivity, environmental stewardship and cultural awareness with sensitivity and effectiveness.  

    The goal is to empower learners with strategies for constructive dialogue and empathy, ultimately fostering an environment in park and recreation spaces where everyone feels welcome and a sense of belonging. This is vital for promoting community cohesion and ensuring equitable access to public amenities. 

    This talk is available for 1 year after release date.

    Learning Objectives:

    1. The learners will be able to implement effective communication strategies to facilitate open and respectful dialogues about sensitive issues in park and recreation settings, ensuring conversations are inclusive and productive. 

    2. The learners will be able to apply principles of empathy and cultural competence in their interactions with colleagues, stakeholders and the community, fostering an environment of understanding and respect within park and recreation management. 

    3. The learners will be able to apply equity-focused assessment techniques to identify and mitigate systemic barriers within park and recreation environments, ensuring facilities and services are accessible and welcoming to all community members. 

    Neelay Bhatt (he/him)

    Founder & CEO

    Next Practice Partners

    Neelay’s career on six continents includes Disney, The Super Bowl, The Olympics, and years of consulting, public speaking and training. 

    He champions “Ideas Worth Spreading” as the curator for TEDxIndianapolis, TEDxIndianapolisWomen and TEDxCollegePark and his role on the NRPA Board served to ensure “no child was left indoors”. He continues to give back by serving in a leadership role for the 2024 NBA All-Star and 2024 US Olympic Swimming and Diving Trials. 

    As the Founder & CEO of Next Practice Partners, he combines inclusion and innovation to help agencies prepare for “what’s next” through planning, training, and technology solutions. 

    Over his 25-year journey, he has keynoted worldwide, trained and coached Olympic Gold Medalists, Indy Car Race Drivers, Oxford Physicists and start up CEOs to tell their story and discover their WHY, developed the business plan for the first internationally certified cricket stadium in the US, and co-created the world’s largest municipal customer service & leadership training initiative for Chicago Park District’s 3000 employees. 

    He is an alumnus of the Harvard Kennedy School and #1 ranked Sports Management Program at Ohio University and his Master and Strategic planning work with Atlanta, Charlotte-Mecklenburg County, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Miami, Norfolk, San Diego etc. have recommended parks, arts, and sports facility development and improvements totaling over $2.5 billion, shaping a more innovative and inclusive future for all.

    As a first-generation immigrant raised by three women and a father who always showed up, he hopes to model the same for his two kids. These life experiences are woven into his keynotes on Innovation and Next Practices, the Power of One, and creating Magical Customer Service Cultures, and have inspired executives, professionals, startups, and students from Charlotte to China and from Switzerland to New Zealand.

  • Contains 0 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Coming August 2024! In this learning session, Ms. Mellen will inform attendees about her cross-agency position and guide them through the yearlong planning process that the Wilmette Park District embarked upon over the past year. This planning process involved an assessment of current District practices, an external assessment of nearby communities, patron outreach via surveys, table talks, feedback forms, and the formation of an internal staff steering committee – all of which culminated in the creation of the district's inaugural sustainability plan.

    Coming August 2024! In February 2023, the Wilmette Park District welcomed its first sustainability coordinator, Lucy Mellen. Explore the unique breadth of a sustainability coordinator role, extending beyond the Park District to encompass the Village of Wilmette, the public library, the local township, and the school district. Discover how Wilmette Park District was able to utilize this role to partner with diverse stakeholders over the past year to develop the district's inaugural sustainability plan, fostering a holistic approach to environmental stewardship and community engagement. 

    This talk is available for 1 year from release date!

    Learning Objectives:

    1. Analyze the components involved in developing a comprehensive sustainability plan for a park district, considering the interconnectivity with other community entities. 

    2. Understand the key components and methodologies involved in developing a comprehensive sustainability plan, including assessing current practices, conducting external evaluations, engaging stakeholders through various outreach methods, and forming internal committees to facilitate the planning process.  

    3. Analyze the collaborative strategies used by the Wilmette Park District to leverage the sustainability coordinator role in partnering with various stakeholders to develop a comprehensive sustainability plan.  

    Lucy Mellen

    Sustainability Coordinator

    Wilmette Park District

    Lucy Mellen graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor's degree in Environmental and Sustainability Studies. Following graduation, Ms. Mellen was the heat relief coordinator for the City of Richmond, IN, where she managed the city's grant funded Beat the Heat Program. In this role, Ms. Mellen created the city's first Heat Management Plan.

    Ms. Mellen started her role in Wilmette in February 2023. Her responsibilities are divided among five entities in Wilmette: the local township, the library, the school district, the Park District, and the Village government, with the majority of her time dedicated to the latter two entities. Since starting, her primary focus with the Park District has been developing their first Sustainability Plan.

  • Contains 0 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Coming July 2024! As park and recreation professionals, it can be difficult to understand analytics and how you can improve your content based on past performance. Learning what does and does not matter will help you advance your overall skills in social media management.

    In the realm of social media, it all starts with content creation. But how do you quantify the results of your posts? It's important to collect data and format it properly for future use and potentially expanding your skills. With more than three years of social media management experience, the leader of this session will provide useful information for beginner-level content creators on formatting your data and understanding what information is most important to glean from with analytics. 

    Learning Objectives:

    1. Learners will better understand basic analytic terminology and the metrics to track at the beginner level. 

    2. Learners will be able to craft summaries of past post-performance data to share with their team. 

    3. Learners will gain insight on which overlooked analytics to track and watch to improve content. 

    This talk is available for 1 year from release date!

    Adam Kelly (he/him/his)

    Marketing, Branding, and Design Assistant

    City of Goose Creek

    Adam Kelly is a two-time award-winning Marketing Assistant for the City of Goose Creek – South Carolina’s eighth-largest municipality. Adam plays a key role in the promotion of City Recreation events, and creates content for a wide range of programs. Specializing in digital photography, social media management and branding, Adam is passionate about creating timely, fun content as he uses his creativity to reach every City resident. 

    The 2020 North Greenville University graduate was an intern for the City of Charleston Recreation Department’s marketing team before joining Goose Creek. He enjoys sharing his experiences in parks and recreation, and especially enjoys helping every City reach its potential in leisure, entertainment and recreational messaging.

  • Contains 9 Component(s)

    Find previously live Park Access Network content here! Park and recreation professionals have the tools and resources to lead localized, anti-racist solutions that advance the multitude of benefits derived from equitable park access and climate-resilient park systems. The Park Access Network is an open community bringing together diverse professionals to facilitate conversations and best practices among peers to drive systemic changes that advance equitable and resilient park access.

    Find previously live Park Access Network content here! Parks and recreation create stronger, more resilient communities that can adapt to and better recover from environmental, social and economic challenges. However, significant racial and socioeconomic disparities affect access to parks, including the number of quality parks, proximity of parks and connection to safe, inclusive, culturally-relevant parks and programs. Moreover, Black, Indigenous and people of color and low-income communities receive fewer resources and support to prepare for, respond to and recover from the impacts of climate change.

    Park and recreation professionals have the tools and resources to lead localized, anti-racist solutions that advance the multitude of benefits derived from equitable park access and climate-resilient park systems. The Park Access Network is an open community bringing together diverse professionals to facilitate conversations and best practices among peers to drive systemic changes that advance equitable and resilient park access.

  • Contains 4 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Released June 2024! Embark on a journey with a diverse panel of three seasoned professionals to explore how to establish a more inclusive park and recreation system, rooted in the ideals of the diverse communities served. This initiative begins with strategic investments in each community with the goal of fostering positive change, engagement, mutual respect, and addressing the unique needs of all constituents.

    Join us in the pursuit of creating a welcoming and diverse park and recreation system that reflects the ideals of the communities it serves. Our approach involves a targeted investment in each community and laying the foundation for transformative change, heightened engagement and the cultivation of mutual respect. This endeavor is dedicated to identifying and meeting the specific needs of all constituents, ensuring that our services are inclusive and comprehensive. Attendees will have the invaluable opportunity to be guided by a panel of three professionals, which presents a wealth of diversity in education, cultural backgrounds and professional experiences. Together, we will explore innovative strategies for professionals and their organizations to invest in services that truly cater to the diverse tapestry of people within their communities, fostering a more connected and inclusive society. 

    Learning Objectives:

    1. Learn how to effectively use your provided services to reinvest in your diverse constituents, employees, community partners and policymakers.

    2. Gain new ideas and strategies to avoid categorizing services, instead developing and investing in a range of diverse community services to meet the needs of all residents.

    3. Identify tools that will help you develop an organizational philosophy to guide your services, basing it on the idea that all people need opportunities that inspire and improve their quality of life.

    This talk is available for 1 year from release date!

    John Stutzman (he/him)

    Recreation and Leisure Service Director

    City of St. Peter

    John Stutzman is a Parks & Recreation practitioner with over 16 years experiences, at various levels of leadership, for both large and small Minnesota communities. He takes great pride in sharing his passion and enthusiasm for recreation, leadership development, and the outdoors and with others, especially the future work force. He is a professional who sees the importance of creating innovative and inclusive ways to meet the needs of a community. John holds a BS in Recreational Sports Programming, a Masters in Recreation Management–Professional Development, and is a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional.

    Maria Cepeda (she/her/hers)

    Downtown Events and Facility Coordinator

    Huntersville Park and Recreation

    Young professional working as a Special Events Coordinator for Town of Huntersville Park and Rec Recreation in North Carolina. Previously worked for Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation as Senior Recreation Specialist, creating programs and events for the community of Charlotte. After undergrad, she did her internship with the Woodlands Township in Texas. Board member of Hispanic Professionals in Park and Recreation advocating for Hispanic/Latino professionals in the field.

    Hillary Roemersberger (she/her/hers)

    Director, Recreation Services

    Apex Park and Recreation

    Hillary Roemersberger has worked in Parks and Recreation for 16 years. She currently works as the Director of Recreation Services with Apex Park and Recreation District located in Arvada, CO. In her role she is responsible for the oversight of Fitness and Wellness, Licensed programs, and Aquatics as well as multiple recreation centers. Hillary holds a BS in Health and Exercise Science, a Masters in Recreation, Sport, and Tourism, and is a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional.

  • Contains 4 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Released May 2024! Family Health & Fitness Day is all about promoting health and wellness through parks and recreation. This online learning event will inform agencies of the importance of NRPA's Family Health & Fitness Day campaign and provide examples of how they can celebrate and promote this day in their local communities.

    Celebrated the second Saturday in June, NRPA's Family Health & Fitness Day campaign is a celebration of the essential role local parks and recreation plays in keeping individuals, families and communities healthy and active. This online learning event will describe the importance of Family Health & Fitness Day, including how this day promotes the lifelong health and well-being benefits parks provide. This webinar will also share best practices and tips around elevating the recognition of this celebration in local communities, as shared through the lens of NRPA's Marketing Specialist, Christina High. Lastly, this online learning event will share "from the field experience" from Sacramento County Regional Parks, which will share fun and creative ways park and recreation agencies can celebrate Family Health & Fitness Day in their communities. 

    Visit NRPA's Family Health & Fitness Day webpage to engage with our resources around Family Health & Fitness Day. https://www.nrpa.org/events/fa...  

    Learning Objectives:

    1. The learners will be able to describe the essential role park and recreation professionals play in keeping communities healthy and active. 

    2. Attendees will be able to plan, promote and implement programs and events in celebration of Family Health & Fitness Day in their own communities on June 8. 

    3. Participants will be able to reference the Family Health & Fitness Day Outreach Toolkit for further information on planning, promoting and measuring the impact of Family Health & Fitness Day events. 

    This talk is available for 1 year from release date!

    Cina Makres (she/her/hers)

    Program Specialist

    National Recreation and Park Association

    Cina Makres (she/her) is a Program Specialist with the National Recreation and Park Association. Currently, Cina supports NRPA grantees and provides technical assistance within the organization's youth mentoring and nutrition security portfolios. Cina also manages NRPA's Family Health & Fitness Day campaign efforts to ensure that park and recreation professionals have the tools and resources needed to promote healthy living in their local communities.

    Prior to joining NRPA, Cina completed her Bachelor of Science in Public Health from the University of Maryland. Cina has previous experience working with maternal health, global health, and physical activity and nutrition.

    Christina High (she/her/hers)

    Marketing Specialist

    National Recreation and Park Association

    Christina High is NRPA’s marketing specialist, overseeing NRPA’s social media channels. Additionally, Christina is co-host of the Open Space Radio podcast. Through her role, she is responsible for creating content, storytelling, managing campaigns, and using tools to optimize marketing strategies across platforms. Christina is a passionate advocate for equitable outdoor access and nature connectedness. This drives her creativity and allows for quality, engaging storytelling.

    Liz Bellas (she/her/hers)

    Director

    Sacramento County Regional Parks

    Liz Bellas has been a parks professional for over 29 years.  She was appointed as Director of Sacramento County Regional Parks in January 2019, but has served many roles within the Department, including recreation operations, master planning, budget and fiscal officer, and park management.  

    She possesses a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation Administration and a minor in Business Administration from California State University, Sacramento.

    She has been married to Cliff Bellas for 24 years, and they have three adult children. Her hobbies include gardening, hiking, and trail riding.  She is passionate about fulfilling the mission of Sacramento County Regional Parks: enhancing the health, enjoyment and quality of life in the region by acquiring, managing, and protecting park and open space lands; educating the public on the uses and values of leisure time activities, and the cultural and natural history of the County; growing and linking a system of regional parks, trails and open space in Sacramento and neighboring counties; providing a broad range of recreational activities for the community’s diverse populations; and providing stewardship and protection of Sacramento County’s regional park system through partnerships, planning and community involvement.

  • Contains 4 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Released March 2024! This session on park and recreation system planning will provide an overview, methods, and best/next practices for park and recreation planning. This includes long-range system (master) planning, strategic planning, visioning and comprehensive planning for parks, recreation facilities, trails, open space/natural areas, recreation programs and services, public art, etc. The goal is to help agencies shift from rote plans that are the same for every community to customized, community-based and outcome-driven park and recreation planning.

    This comprehensive discussion delves into vital aspects to empower park agencies in steering effective planning initiatives. Beginning with the essential question of why planning is crucial, the exploration covers key factors such as Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) accreditation, grant eligibility and funding prioritization, while providing an insightful overview of various plan types and emphasizing the significance of inclusive and equity-based planning. This online learning event further delves into engagement techniques geared towards delivering community-supported outcomes, followed by a focus on the technical analysis involved in a needs assessment. Subsequently, this discussion explores recommendations and policy development, delving into the intricacies of Capital Improvement Plans (CIP) and action planning. Additionally, it addresses crucial facets like implementation strategies and offers practical insights on how to initiate the planning process, including Requests for Proposal (RFPs), consultant hiring, in-house planning, scheduling and more. This comprehensive guide equips park agencies with the knowledge and tools necessary to navigate and succeed in their planning endeavors. 

    Learning Objectives:

    1. Learn best practices for conducting an outcome-driven long-range planning process. 

    2. Describe 3-5 tools and techniques that will ensure your park agency is successful in increasing community, political, and funding support for implementation. 

    3. Identify ways to champion resiliency, economic vitality, equity, access, and community connections through planning and urban design. 

    This talk is available for 1 year from release date!

  • Contains 12 Component(s)

    The Park Champions Initiative is NRPA's signature grassroots advocacy training program that provides members with the information, skills and experience needed to be effective advocates for parks and recreation. Through this asynchronistic version, members will have the flexibility to complete the online training at their own pace!

    The Park Champions Initiative is NRPA's signature grassroots advocacy training program that provides members with the information, skills and experience needed to be effective advocates for parks and recreation.

  • Contains 4 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Released April 2024! Discover innovative water conservation strategies in park and recreation management as Spokane, Washington, showcases a creative funding solution. Learn how investing strategically not only saves millions of gallons of water annually but also enhances park system quality, ultimately boosting revenues.

    In a world where 71 percent of the Earth's surface is water, the imperative for water conservation resonates daily in cities across America. This holds especially true for park and recreation departments that heavily depend on water for greenscapes, urban treescapes, facilities and programming. Uncover the success story of Spokane, Washington, where a pioneering funding solution was implemented, resulting in the preservation of millions of gallons of water annually. The initiative not only contributes to sustainable water usage but also elevates the overall quality of the park system, proving that strategic investment can yield both environmental and financial dividends. Join us in exploring this case study, where the seemingly paradoxical concept of spending money to save money and make money becomes a powerful strategy in the realm of water conservation for parks and recreation. 

    Learning Objectives:

    1. Identify water conservation opportunities, strategies and partnerships to form a water conservation plan in your community. 

    2. Identify creative funding sources to build out your strategic capital plan. 

    3. Identify ways to implement the plan and measure success. 

    This talk is available for 1 year from release date!

    Jason Conley (he/him)

    Interim Parks and Recreation Director

    Spokane Parks and Recreation

    Jason currently serves as the Interim Parks and Recreation Director for Spokane Parks and Recreation Department and has over 24 years of employment history with the City of Spokane. Prior to re-joining the City, Jason was the Director of Safety, Security, Transportation and Risk Management and was the District’s Safety/OSHA/WISHA Officer with Spokane Public Schools for over 8 years. During this time, Jason worked on 7 GC/CM school projects for Spokane Public Schools as a member of their Capital Projects team. Jason has a double major Bachelor of Arts degree from Eastern Washington University in Management, and Human Resource Management. As a career public servant, Jason has a passion for enriching leisure opportunities in his community.

    Fianna Dickson (she/her)

    Communications Manager

    Spokane Parks and Recreation

    Fianna is the communications manager for City of Spokane Parks & Recreation. Her prior public relations and marketing experience includes non-profit air medical, heart disease research/education, and healthcare risk management. She holds a master’s degree in communication and is an adjunct professor of public relations at Gonzaga University.

  • Contains 2 Component(s)

    Released April 2024! Family Health & Fitness Day is all about promoting health and wellness through parks and recreation. This online learning event will inform agencies of the importance of NRPA's Family Health & Fitness Day campaign and provide examples of how they can celebrate and promote this day in their local communities.

    Released April 2024! Celebrated the second Saturday in June, NRPA's Family Health & Fitness Day campaign is a celebration of the essential role local parks and recreation plays in keeping individuals, families and communities healthy and active. This online learning event will describe the importance of Family Health & Fitness Day, including how this day promotes the lifelong health and well-being benefits parks provide. This webinar will also share best practices and tips around elevating the recognition of this celebration in local communities, as shared through the lens of NRPA's Marketing Specialist, Christina High. Lastly, this online learning event will share "from the field experience" from Sacramento County Regional Parks, which will share fun and creative ways park and recreation agencies can celebrate Family Health & Fitness Day in their communities. 

    Learning Objectives:

    1. The learners will be able o describe the essential role park and recreation professionals play in keeping communities healthy and active. 

    2. Attendees will be able to plan, promote and implement programs and events in celebration of Family Health & Fitness Day in their own communities on June 8. 

    3. Participants will be able to reference the Family Health & Fitness Day Outreach Toolkit for further information on planning, promoting and measuring the impact of Family Health & Fitness Day events. 

     

    Cina Makres (she/her/hers)

    Program Specialist

    National Recreation and Park Association

    Cina Makres (she/her) is a Program Specialist with the National Recreation and Park Association. Currently, Cina supports NRPA grantees and provides technical assistance within the organization's youth mentoring and nutrition security portfolios. Cina also manages NRPA's Family Health & Fitness Day campaign efforts to ensure that park and recreation professionals have the tools and resources needed to promote healthy living in their local communities.

    Prior to joining NRPA, Cina completed her Bachelor of Science in Public Health from the University of Maryland. Cina has previous experience working with maternal health, global health, and physical activity and nutrition.

    Christina High (she/her/hers)

    Marketing Specialist

    National Recreation and Park Association

    Christina High is NRPA’s marketing specialist, overseeing NRPA’s social media channels. Additionally, Christina is co-host of the Open Space Radio podcast. Through her role, she is responsible for creating content, storytelling, managing campaigns, and using tools to optimize marketing strategies across platforms. Christina is a passionate advocate for equitable outdoor access and nature connectedness. This drives her creativity and allows for quality, engaging storytelling.

    Liz Bellas (she/her/hers)

    Director

    Sacramento County Regional Parks

    Liz Bellas has been a parks professional for over 29 years.  She was appointed as Director of Sacramento County Regional Parks in January 2019, but has served many roles within the Department, including recreation operations, master planning, budget and fiscal officer, and park management.  

    She possesses a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation Administration and a minor in Business Administration from California State University, Sacramento.

    She has been married to Cliff Bellas for 24 years, and they have three adult children. Her hobbies include gardening, hiking, and trail riding.  She is passionate about fulfilling the mission of Sacramento County Regional Parks: enhancing the health, enjoyment and quality of life in the region by acquiring, managing, and protecting park and open space lands; educating the public on the uses and values of leisure time activities, and the cultural and natural history of the County; growing and linking a system of regional parks, trails and open space in Sacramento and neighboring counties; providing a broad range of recreational activities for the community’s diverse populations; and providing stewardship and protection of Sacramento County’s regional park system through partnerships, planning and community involvement.