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  • Contains 2 Component(s) Includes a Live Web Event on 12/08/2022 at 2:00 PM (EST)

    Register now for this upcoming sandbox event.

    Register now for this upcoming sandbox event.

  • Contains 3 Component(s), Includes Credits Includes a Live Web Event on 11/10/2022 at 2:00 PM (EST)

    Register now for this upcoming talk worth 0.1 CEU.

    Register now for this upcoming talk worth 0.1 CEU.

  • Contains 2 Component(s)

    New to conference? Then you don't want to miss this! Students, new professionals or distinguished professionals can all learn from a crash course of NRPA Conference including the different events, networking opportunities and where your best resources are located. Make the most of your time over your time at this year's NRPA Annual Conference with these tips, tricks and secrets.

    New to conference?  Then you don't want to miss this!  Students, new professionals or distinguished professionals can all learn from a crash course of NRPA Conference including the different events, networking opportunities and where your best resources are located.  Make the most of your time at this year's NRPA Annual Conference with these tips, tricks and secrets. A nearly identical version of this session will be offered in-person at the Phoenix Convention Center at 5:00pm (local time) on Monday, September 19.

    Section #1 Off To A Good Start: Attendees will be asked to write down 3 goals to accomplish at Conference.

    Section#2 The Basics: Quick run-downs of specific events or programs and how to maximize the attendee experience at each.

    Section#3 Tips & Tricks: Best practices to get the most out of conference as a whole -- regardless of where the attendee is at.

    Section#4 Connect: The biggest long-term benefit of NRPA and Conference is Networking!  Attendees will get advice on getting an introduction, having a fulfilling conversation and building the strongest connections.  Attendees will then put into practice this advice to meet 3 other professionals in the session.

    Section#5 Back to "Work": Best practices about what to do post-conference.


    1. Identify the ways to maximize your time and impact at Conference through making schedules, picking the right sessions, and networking opportunities.
    2. Learn what to expect from Conference week -- both in education sessions and at the various networking events.
    3. Provide strategies for starting conversations and tips for amplifying your network while attending conference as well as solidifying connections long-term.

    Michael Biedenstein, CPRP, AFO (he/him)

    Volunteer and Awards Manager

    National Recreation and Park Association

    Michael is responsible for NRPA's national awards program including this Hall of Fame, the Parks and Recreation 30 Under 30, Spotlight Awards, Innovation Awards, and Scholarship & Fellowships. Michael previously worked 18 years in the field of parks and recreation in St. Louis, MO. Michael has presented 17 times over 11 years including a highly rated session at the 2021 NRPA Conference.

    Hayley Herzing (she/her)

    Senior Manager of Membership

    National Recreation and Park Association

    Hayley Herzing is currently the Senior Manager of Membership for the National Recreation and Park Association. She has worked for NRPA for six years and previously worked at the National Community Pharmacists Association. Hayley received her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications/Journalism from Shippensburg University. She enjoys spending time with her husband, son and dog.

    Kevin Witte (he/him)

    Recreation Manager

    Auburn (WA) Parks, Arts, & Recreation

    Kevin is the current YPN Network Chair and is excited to meet everyone at conference in Phoenix! Kevin is from Seattle, WA and spends his free time enjoying the outdoors. He currently serves as the Recreation Manager for Auburn, WA. If you see Kevin at the conference, please do not be shy. You will find he is a super outgoing and friendly guy.

  • Contains 3 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Join us for the third session in a series focused on innovation to learn about groundbreaking work that is helping improve communities. Learn more about San Francisco’s coronavirus (COVID-19) response and a waterfront development that addressed key issues of economic, cultural and physical displacement.

    During this third session in a series focused on innovation, join as speakers from the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and the A. Philip Randolph Institute San Francisco discuss key takeaways from two of their recent projects. Speakers will present an overview of the India Basin Equitable Development Plan (EDP) as a roadmap to maximize the benefits of the park project for the Bayview-Hunters Point community, and talk about the plan’s goal to address any unintended negative impacts development might have, including economic, cultural and physical displacement. In addition, learn about a new San Francisco case study Showing Up While Everything Is Shutting Down: A Story of Cooperation in San Francisco which details efforts to support children, youth and families through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

    Jacqueline Flin

    Executive Director

    A. Philip Randolph Institute San Francisco

    Jacqueline Flin was born in San Francisco, CA at the Presidio. She was raised with two brothers, by a active unionist father and an mother who immigrated from the Philippines and served in the U.S. Coast Guard. She received her B.S. degree in Cellular Biology from the University of California at Davis.  Flin began volunteering for the A. Philip Randolph Institute San Francisco as a youth leader participating in efforts to educate low-income communities about local elections and voting initiatives. She was then hired as a receptionist at the California Labor Federation, an organization dedicated to promoting and defending the interests of working people and their families for the betterment of California’s communities. After a brief career in the biological science field, in 2009, she returned to San Francisco in a leadership role as the Executive Director of the A. Philip Randolph Institute San Francisco.  

    In the time she served as Executive Director, she has expanded the organization’s capacity to offer public services that include: Workforce Development, Youth Career and Leadership Development, and Equity Development Strategies. She established public and private partnerships that support invest directly in the Bayview Hunters Point. She has a network of relationships with City and County departments, unions, local businesses, community based organizations, service providers, and residents. She is committed to building the community through organizing and leadership.  

    Phil Ginsburg (he/him)

    General Manager

    San Francisco Recreation and Park Department | City & County of San Francisco

    Phil Ginsburg is the general manager of the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department. With more than 4,100 acres and over 220 parks under its jurisdiction, the Recreation and Park Department stewards some of the most spectacular public spaces in the world, including Golden Gate Park, Coit Tower and the Palace of Fine Arts. Under Phil’s leadership, San Francisco became the first City in the United States where 100% of its residents live within a ten-minute walk of a park. Phil has led his organization through transformational improvements to the public realm and he has made equity and increasing access to public recreation and to nature, the department’s primary objective. Phil has built a financially sustainable model for San Francisco’s park system through ballot advocacy, the strategic use of public-private partnerships and philanthropy, creative revenue strategies, technology and administrative efficiencies. During his tenure, San Francisco has been consistently ranked one of the nation’s top five park systems. In 2019, Phil was appointed to the California State Parks and Recreation Commission by Governor Gavin Newsom. 

  • Contains 2 Component(s)

    NRPA speaks with Seattle Parks and Recreation about how they developed and integrated technology to help frontline staff lead their work with equity in mind. This on-demand recording will be available on September 6, 2023.

    This on-demand recording will be available on September 6, 2022.

    The Geographic Information System (GIS) Asset Management and Work Order (AMWO) Equity Project, led by Seattle Parks and Recreation, had an initial goal: help staff set equity-driven goals that could be used to prioritize routes, restructure existing routes, and plan out crew projects in historically marginalized communities. Through the development of a GIS mobile app, frontline staff could utilize the data and technology at their fingertips to achieve the equitable outcomes they were seeking. Join Jordan Ng and Jason Vining-Nakamura as they talk about the development and integration of their mobile app in addressing disparities in park maintenance.

    Teaching Objectives:

    1. Speakers will discuss the creation and development of the GIS AMWO project and how it came to be.
    2. Speakers will highlight the impact of their technology on reaching equitable outcomes, specifically when it comes to maintenance allocation.
    3. Speakers will provide a brief demonstration of their app and how it can influence help agencies better serve historically marginalized communities.

  • Contains 3 Component(s)

    Have you ever wanted to learn how to leverage federal funding to improve your community? Join us for this conversation with representatives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and NRPA! Get an overview of what’s available to your organizations and have the chance to ask questions about current and upcoming opportunities.

    During NRPA’s third, quarterly online learning event, hear from representatives of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as they cover the federal resources available for parks and recreation. Learn more about the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, an often-tapped program for park improvement in communities across the country. This event offers an opportunity to engage with federal administrative staff and pick their brains about how best to leverage federal funding for local communities.

    Erik Pechuekonis (he/his)

    Community Planning and Development Specialist

    U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Erik Pechuekonis is a Community Planning and Development Specialist who works with HUD’s Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program. He has been with HUD for 5-years and most of that time has been spent working on the Section 108 program. Prior to joining HUD, Erik served in Albania as a Peace Corps Volunteer where he worked with local municipalities on urban planning related issues. Before the Peace Corps, he worked as an urban planner at a local government in South Carolina. He has a master’s in City and Regional Planning from Clemson University and a Bachelors in Geography from University of Colorado Denver.

    Kyle Simpson (he/him)

    Director of Government Affairs

    National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA)

    NRPAs Director of Government Affairs. Kyle has been with NRPA for nearly 4 years. Prior to that he spent over 10 years on Capitol Hill in a variety of roles.

    Sean Dennihy-Bailey (he/his)

    Community Development and Planning Specialist

    U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Sean Dennihy-Bailey works tirelessly to support Community driven development across the country. As a Community Development and Planning Specialist, he brings several years of local economic development program administration experience to his work. He has worked closely with local community organizations, as well as local government agencies in both designing and implementing programs across New York City. Sean resolves to make our communities places of opportunity for all as he is driven by principals of equity and accessibility. He is a dedicated public servant and veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom. 

    Seema Thomas (she/her)

    Deputy Director for the Financial Management Division

    U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Seema Thomas is the Deputy Director for the Financial Management Division (FMD). She has worked on community development challenges for the past two decades. Her career has focused on developing and expanding innovative and inclusive initiatives to support communities from the neighborhood to the metropolitan scale, both domestically and internationally. Before joining FMD, she was an adjunct professor of urban sustainability at the University of the District of Columbia. In the past, she has consulted and worked for numerous organizations, such as the World Bank, DHS’s Science & Technology Directorate, Freddie Mac, the Urban Institute, and Oliver Wyman & Co.  She holds a BSE in Engineering, a Master’s in Urban Planning, and a Master’s in Public Affairs. 

  • Contains 5 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Playground safety isn’t just about the physical space and infrastructure. Park and recreation professionals also should consider how the social experiences of playground visitors can be improved through an equity lens. Join NRPA staff and playground experts for a conversation on how to promote positive experiences for anyone enjoying a playground.

    What do you think about when you hear: playground safety? While we typically think about physical infrastructure when examining playground safety, there is another layer we can’t overlook. During this learning event, we will discuss the history of the Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI) Certification while exploring the mental, social and emotional benefits of play. NRPA staff and playground experts will discuss the concepts of equity and inclusion as they relate to playground safety and discuss how park and recreation professionals can provide a safe space for the children in their communities to play and grow together. As children, we make so many memories on playgrounds that help shape us. And as park and recreation professionals, Certified Playground Safety Inspectors, playground manufacturers, nonprofit organizations and more, we play a critical role in creating a safe space for children to play and learn.   

    Leanne Lyons (she/her)

    ASPIRE ( Adaptive Sports, Programs & Inclusive Recreation) Supervisor

    High Point Parks & Recreation Department

    Leanne Lyons is the ASPIRE ( Adaptive Sports, Programs & Inclusive Recreation) Supervisor for High Point Parks & Recreation Department and a Licensed and Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist for the State of North Carolina. Leanne has an innate passion for working with and for individuals with intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities. Leanne manages programs including Special Olympics of High Point/Guilford, Miracle League of High Point, adaptive sports programs and more. In her personal life Leanne enjoys reading, writing poetry, hiking, exploring Diners, Drive in and Dives Restaurants, listening to Air One and K- Love radio station, and spending time with family and friends.”

  • Contains 5 Component(s), Includes Credits

    With the increasing scarcity of water resources, water conservation is key to maintaining our natural resources and fiscally sustaining our organizations. Join Jim Laiche of The Toro Company as he explores important elements of water conservation through irrigation operations and design.

    In the face of climate change, park and recreation professionals can take steps to conserve one of our most important natural resources: water. Join The Toro Company’s Jim Laiche for a discussion on challenges of maintaining water resources in a cost effective and environmentally sustainable way. Participants will explore basic design elements, including maintenance of proper water pressure, water flow and maximum capacity sprinkler performance. Learn about specific, recommended water conservation products as well as examples of sites using new technology that minimize water use while maintaining healthy vegetation. 

    Jim Laiche (he/him)

    Water Conservation Business Manager

    The Toro Company

    Jim Laiche received his BS in Horticulture and Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from Louisiana State University.  He has worked professionally as a landscape architect and design-build contractor prior to working with The Toro Company.  Jim has been a Regional Sales Manager, Golf Sales Manager and is now the Water Conservation Business Manager with emphasis on central control equipment.  Jim has taught hundreds of irrigation workshops at various national universities including LSU, UGA, Mississippi State University, University of Arkansas, NC State, Penn State, UVA and Virginia Tech. He has worked with many large institutions on reducing their irrigation water use, including Disney, University of Notre Dame, Central Park, General Mills, Yum Brands the US Capitol, Marriott and Darden Restaurants. He has obtained his landscape architect license, certified designer with the Irrigation Association, and Texas irrigator license. Jim was recently recognized by the American Society of Irrigation Consultants with the Roy Williams Memorial Award for contributions to the irrigation industry.  

  • Contains 5 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Every day, in communities across the country, park and recreation professionals are making their communities better places to live, learn, work and play through their role as stewards of Community Wellness Hubs. Learn more about NRPA’s vision for Community Wellness Hubs, explore ways park and recreation can improve health across seven dimensions of well-being, and hear from peers about the impact of their Community Wellness Hubs.

    How has access to parks and recreation influenced your personal health and well-being? How has it impacted your communities? Join NRPA for an exploration of the many ways parks and recreation influences health. Attendees will be guided through NRPA’s new Community Wellness Hub toolkit and its overall vision including key concepts, definitions and examples of health equity and systems change approaches across NRPA’s seven dimensions of well-being. Several agencies that have developed Community Wellness Hubs will join to share their lessons learned, the impact this work made on their community, and how they are sustaining their work moving forward.

    Allison Colman (she/her)

    Director of Health

    National Recreation and Park Association

    Allison Colman is Director of Health at the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). For over a decade, Ms. Colman has led the development and implementation of evidence-based public health initiatives and built cross-sector collaborations to advance innovative, community-driven, systems-change strategies that improve community health and well-being. Her work lies at the intersection of public health, social justice, and social change, with the goal of ensuring that all people have the opportunity to truly thrive.

    Austin Barrett, PhD (he/him)

    Evaluation Manager

    National Recreation and Park Association

    Austin Barrett (he/him) is an Evaluation Manager with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). Austin joined NRPA in 2021 and works to evaluate the impact of NRPA-facilitated grants and Association-wide activities. Prior to joining NRPA, he served for 3.5 years as a Data Analyst and System Administrator working to address homelessness in the Upstate of South Carolina. In 2017, Austin completed his Ph.D. in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management at The Pennsylvania State University. Before that, he worked as a Wilderness Ranger for the US Forest Service and an Interpretation Ranger with the National Park Service.

    Ayanna Williams (she/her)

    Facility Manager

    City of Ozark- Ozark Leisure Services

    My name is Ayanna Williams, I am a 37 year old mother of 3. I have lived in Ozark, Alabama approximately 6 years. I have truly enjoyed being a part of the community, knowing people, and being able to be a part of all the great people who want to help and see the best for our community. I went to school at Troy University for Psychology with minor in Applied Behavioral Analysis and my goal is to go further for my Masters as a BCBA.

    Shelly Strasser (she/her)

    Director of Recreation and Community Services

    West Allis-West Milwaukee School District

    Vhelly has been in the field of Recreation for over 25 years.  She is the Director for the West Allis-West Milwaukee Recreation and Community Services Department, where she has served in the role for the past 14 years. She leads a team of 14 full time staff and 300+ part time/seasonal employees in a community of approximately 64,000. Shelly is the current  President of the Wisconsin Park and Recreation Association.  

  • Contains 3 Component(s)

    To wrap up Pride month, join a conversation as we explore how public parks have served as both places of joy and spaces of resistance for the LGBTQ+ community.

    The month of June, otherwise known as Pride month, recognizes the impact that LGBTQ+ individuals have had on society locally, nationally and internationally. While current celebrations include parades, picnics, parties and concerts, Pride month started in honor of an act of resistance — the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan, New York. Join us as we talk with leaders and changemakers about the connection between Parks and Pride, and how we can continue to support equality and opportunity for LGBTQ+ people through our field.

    Teaching Objectives:

    • Panelists will point to specific moments in history where parks were integral to moments of joy and resistance for the LGBTQ+ community.  
    • Panelists will connect the relationship between access to parks and the visibility of the LGBTQ+ community.  
    • Panelists will provide recommendations for how park and recreation professionals can continue to support and advance the rights of LGTBQ+ people beyond the month of June.

    Becky Herz (she/her)

    Recreation Coordinator

    Cosumnes Community Services Department, Elk Grove, CA

    Becky Herz has been involved in recreation management for over 24 years. Her article “Gender Spectrum Inclusion for Recreation Professionals” was featured in Park and Recreation Magazine in October 2018.  Becky has also been published in Aquatics International and on National Public Radio.  She has presented on inclusion at the California Park and Recreation Society Conference, the America Score’s Soccer Summit, and a variety of local and on-line trainings.  She was the keynote speaker at the 2019 CPRS Recreation Therapy Institute.  Becky currently serves as a Commissioner for Sacramento County Regional Parks, and works as a Recreation Coordinator for Cosumnes CSD in Elk Grove, CA.

    Taylor Jeromos (she/her)

    Manager of Learning Production

    National Recreation and Park Association

    Taylor Jeromos serves on NRPA's Professional Development team as the Manager of Learning Production. Her career has focused on creating accessible programming, centering diverse narratives, and facilitating informal learning opportunities for people of all ages. She’s been a part of the education teams at a number of cultural organizations, including Frank Lloyd Wright's Martin House, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, and the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis.  

    Taylor earned a Master’s in Museum Studies and Public History at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and holds a Bachelor’s in Medieval and Gender History from Earlham College.

    Shalini Mirpuri (she/her)

    Senior Education Manager - Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

    National Recreation and Parks Association

    Shalini is the Senior Manager of Education - Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for NRPA. She is a passionate Educator who is focused on melding her love for parks with her commitment to social equity. Shalini believes that innovative education and inviting dialogue can build a shared investment in ensuring access to parks for everyone. She has been working on issues of equity for over 10 years in a variety of settings, including higher ed, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. She is particularly passionate about the intersection of gender-based violence and racial equality. Shalini holds a Masters in Education and an Education Specialist degree in Counseling from the University of Florida. 

    Jared Mummert (he/him)

    Community and Environmental Resilience Program Manager

    National Recreation and Park Association

    Jared Mummert is a Community and Environmental Resilience Program Manager at NRPA and a recent graduate from George Mason University's Schar School of Policy and Government with a Masters of Public Administration and Environmental Science and Public Policy. With nearly 5 years at NRPA, Jared has led work on community engagement, the history of equity in parks and recreation and creating equitable access to inclusive, resilient park spaces. Prior to his time at NRPA, Jared worked as a political and community outreach organizer on multiple campaigns, including organizing farmers in Maryland to close loopholes in the Clean Water Act, engaging Colorado voters in the 2014 midterm election and working to connect low-income families to national parks. Jared has also served in the Student Conservation Association, AmeriCorps, and the National Park Service as park ranger for multiple sites, including Grand Teton National Park. As an avid outdoorsman and public lands advocate, Jared integrates environmental justice into all of his work to ensure everyone has access to high-quality parks and greenspaces.