Foundations of Racial Equity Certificate Program

Applications are currently OPEN for the FEBRUARY 2023 cohort of Certificate 1: Foundations of Racial Equity.

Please submit your application here. Applications to close on October 31, 2022.

As a leader in parks and recreation, you’ve already done the generic diversity training. Ready for something more – something actionable?  To keep up the long-term effort to ensure that local parks and recreation agencies like yours have what you need to dismantle inequitable systems, join us for our latest initiative, the Equity in Practice Certificate Program. 

The Equity in Practice Certificate Program is based on the reality that we can all perpetuate racism – and we can all take action to dismantle it. This certificate program will provide a high-quality professional development experience that uses a race equity lens to examine ways that various identities are marginalized, specific to the needs of P&R, with a tangible focus on action. The program will be divided into three sequential cohorts, each building upon the necessary skills from previous cohorts to culminate in being a DEI leader in your agency. 

Applications are currently OPEN for the FEBRUARY 2023 cohort of Certificate 1: Exploring Racial Equity in Parks and Recreation. This first certificate is designed for any individuals who have already begun to learn about equity and cross-cultural issues, whether personally or professionally, regardless of your position or role. It will consist of 12 weeks of hands-on and interactive learning in a supportive, cohort-style environment, including 6, two-hour live working sessions and 30-minutes of self-guided work each week. This initial cohort will introduce and stress fundamental terminology, concepts, and approaches for equity work in your agency and community. It will be capped at 20 participants, so submit your application today! Applications to close on October 31, 2022.  

Important Dates: 

  • Tuesday, Feb. 14th from 1-3 pm EST 
  • Tuesday, Feb. 28th from 1-3 pm EST 
  • Tuesday, Mar. 14th from 1-3 pm EST 
  • Tuesday, Mar. 28th from 1-3 pm EST 
  • Tuesday, Apr. 11th from 1-3 pm EST 
  • Tuesday, Apr. 25th from 1-3 pm EST 

What to Expect from the Foundations of Racial Equity Certificate Program:

As a result of participation in the cohort, outcomes for participants include: 

  • I ask myself – and others – key questions about identity and equity when planning services and developing policies. 
  • I acknowledge ways I – and my agency – may contribute to forms of inequity in the communities we serve. 
  • My colleagues and I have a shared vocabulary and greater confidence talking about race in the context of our work. 
  • I work to identify relationships that are missing from my work and agency. 

Examples of key content include, but are not limited to: 

  • Comparing common language and definitions for race, racism, white supremacy, and privilege with past experiences. 
  • Exploring the impact of historic racism on P&R policies, programs, and relationships. 
  • Practicing communication skills when talking about race and equity, such as giving and receiving feedback, expressing empathy, and using “I” statements. 
  • Developing an equity action plan to implement in your agency after Fellowship completion. 
Below is an overview of content that will be covered in the first cohort: Exploring Racial Equity in Parks and Recreation: 
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Frequently Asked Questions

Can multiple people from the same agency apply?

YES! Participants will not be limited by agency. In fact, we strongly encourage that multiple people from the same agency apply so that you can work together to localize content and make an even bigger impact on your agency and community. 

How do I know if this program is for me?

Have you already been exposed to the foundational concepts of DEI but are looking for training opportunities beyond that? Are you looking to move from “why this is important” to “what can be done about it”? If so, this program is for you! Specifically designed for folks in parks and rec who have already started their DEI journey, this program will build on that foundation to put your learning into action.  

What does this certificate get me?

By the end of the first certificate, “Exploring Racial Equity”, cohort participants will have completed an agency-focused Equity Action Plan, giving them the confidence, skills, and tasks necessary to promote equity through their work and community. After completing this first certificate, participants also have the option to continue to Certificates 2 & 3. Graduates of all three certificates will be equipped with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to serve as DEI Leaders within their communities, as well as the ability to facilitate the first two certificate curricula at their agencies. 

What’s different about this program, as opposed to other DEI programs?

Not only will this program be specific to equity issues within the parks and recreation field, but it will also focus heavily on skill development using a racial equity lens. This is not your typical “awareness-based” DEI program. We’re focused on action. Equity work within parks and rec is very local; therefore, this program provides opportunities for the application of equity work to be local. Using a racial equity lens to examine opportunities for equity advancement, this program will also look at how other marginalized identities can be represented and better served by their local agencies.  

What can I expect my participation in this program to look like?

Connect with the content.    
You will connect with content that feels relevant to you, as a current professional in the Parks and Recreation field. You'll explore the content in modules and make meaning of it in your context. You can review the content on-your-own (outside of our workshops), share it with colleagues, and use in your work following the program.   

Connect with self.    
You will spend some time with your own thoughts. You will reflect on what is offered, connect it to what you already know, and decide for yourself how to use it moving forward. You will weigh the skills and concepts offered against what you believe is right and true, based on your own experience.    

Connect with others.    
You will balance solo time with useful group time. You will be invited to talk with others from your own agency about the ideas, skills, and tools from the cohort. You will be encouraged to exchange questions and insights with those from other agencies. You will be asked to share stories and experiences so others can learn from progress made for greater equity in your corner of the field – and you’ll, in turn, learn from colleagues where they work. 

Why a focus on racial equity as opposed to equity more broadly?

NRPA has made a careful and informed decision to center racial equity, and within that, to focus on anti-Blackness as a lens for building skills that can be applied across many historically- excluded communities. Through conversations with professionals in the field, it was clear that racism often feels the hardest to discuss, yet is the most salient barrier in serving our communities. By leading with race, we can intentionally make connections across identities, equipping professionals with the skills to tackle discrimination in all its forms and promote equity across race, gender, age, ability, class, and other demographic lines. 

Are there any requirements outside of the application form?

The application requires a letter from your supervisor demonstrating their support of your engagement in this cohort, as well as an awareness of the time commitment. We also ask that you submit your most recent resume as part of the application materials.

Do I have to attend all 12 weeks?

Due to the module and sequential nature of this program, it is imperative that you can attend all 6 virtual sessions, as well as engage in 30 minutes of self-guided work outside of sessions. All live, virtual sessions are 2-hours in length.