Online Courses

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We know that today's park and recreation professionals want to reach their professional goals through education that fits their lifestyles, whether through classroom training, conference education events or fully online. NRPA supports the membership by providing an array of online learning opportunities. Tailored educational courses are offered in the following areas:

If you wish to view and search a full listing of our online learning offerings, please check out the online learning catalog.

Current Courses

  • 2019 NRPA Live Complete Conference Package

    Contains 23 Product(s)

    The 2019 NRPA Live complete package (1.8 CEUs) includes all three days of live streaming with a total of nine full education sessions and five speed sessions. This package also includes access to recordings of an additional nine full education sessions and five speed sessions. These recorded sessions will be available following the live streamed event.

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    The 2019 NRPA Live complete package (1.8 CEUs) includes all three days of live streaming with a total of nine full education sessions and five speed sessions. This package also includes access to recordings of an additional nine full education sessions and five speed sessions. These recorded sessions will be available following the live streamed event.

    View the sessions included in this event under the Content tab.

  • Responding to Disaster; The Role of Parks and Recreation

    Contains 4 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Join us to hear the goals of the Operation Recreation Response initiative include helping agencies proactively develop capacity to natural disasters through better management practices.

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    Hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, wildfires, earthquakes...Natural disaster events happen. Goals of the Operation Recreation Response initiative include helping agencies proactively develop capacity to natural disasters through better management practices. ORR has several layers: 1) Before an event - Emergency preparedness through proactive planning and assessments; 2) During the event, aligning mutual aid type assistance and providing services to those affected, including staff; and 3) After the event - Providing assistance to rebuild and repair park and recreation assets. We will cover tools, best practices, and innovations for preparation and response


    Session Length: 1.25 Hours

    Credit: 0.1 CEU


    NRPA Education online learning content is accessible for 180 days from the date of your registration.  The learning content is available for registration for three years from the date of origination.

    Linda Smith

    Interim Director of Parks and Recreation, Town of Chapel Hill

    Linda Smith is a parks and recreation professional particularly skilled in budgeting, business, industry, events, and planning. Linda received her Bachelor’s from SUNY Cortland and her Master’s from UNC Chapel Hill. Linda spent 15 years at the Town of Cary's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources. Linda is currently Interim Director, Parks and Recreation, for the Town of Chapel Hill.

  • How to use Public Parks to Improve Climate, Health, and Equity Outcomes

    Contains 4 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Join this NRPA Live recorded session as urban parks leaders from across the country will discuss how they are using parks, trails, and greenspaces to help cities address the challenges posed by a warming climate.

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    The Fourth National Climate Assessment painted a stark picture about the impacts of climate change. Cities are already facing multi-faceted challenges due to rising temperatures, from urban heat islands to public health. In low-income communities with poor access to parks and trails, these threats can intersect and amplify each other with dire consequences. In this session, urban parks leaders from across the country will discuss how they are using parks, trails, and greenspaces to help cities address the challenges posed by a warming climate. Well-designed greenspaces can absorb stormwater, reduce air temperature, create carbon-free transportation methods, and improve public health. Particular focus will be given to how GIS-based data tools can improve climate equity by optimizing green investments to protect a city. This recorded session was presented at NRPA Live 2019.


    Session Length: 1.25 Hours

    Credit: 0.1 CEU


    NRPA Education online learning content is accessible for 180 days from the date of your registration.  The learning content is available for registration for three years from the date of origination.

    Taj Schottland

    Climate-Smart Cities Program Manager, Green Infrastructure, The Trust for Public Land

    As a leader of The Trust for Public Land's Climate Program, Taj works with diverse cross-sector partnerships to advance the implementation of multiple benefit green infrastructure projects in communities on the front lines of climate change. He has over seven years of experience working as a climate adaptation specialist, project manager, and restoration ecologist.

    Willis Winters

    Director, Dallas Park and Recreation Department

    As the Director of the Dallas Park and Recreation Department since 2013, Willis leads one of the nation’s largest municipal park systems. Dallas’ 23,242 acres of park land include 388 parks, 13 lakes, 41 recreation centers, 149 miles of hike and bike trails, Fair Park, the Dallas Zoo, the Trinity Audubon Center, and the Dallas Arboretum. He has oversight of 937 full-time employees and manages an $85.3 million annual operating budget, with a capital budget in excess of $40 million annually. Willis has been with the Dallas Park and Recreation Department since 1993.

    Molly Plummer

    North Texas Parks for People Program Manager, The Trust for Public Land

    Molly works within the North Texas program of The Trust for Public Land, where she led the development of Smart Growth for Dallas, a GIS-based initiative to improve the environmental, social, and economic resilience of Dallas. Her work has led to on-the-ground implementation of climate-resilience strategies, including the planting of 1,000 trees in one of the city's largest urban heat islands.

    Wende David

    Senior Conservation Program Manager, NRPA

    Wende David is the Senior Conservation Program Manager at the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) where she leads its Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) portfolio.  Wende works to improve environmental and social outcomes in communities through promoting and advancing green infrastructure projects and partnerships within parks. 

    Wende holds a B.S. in Environmental Policy & Behavior from the University of Michigan and is currently interested in leveraging solutions at the intersection of climate resilience, social equity, and health.  

    Since she started in March 2018, Wende has helped secure over $1M in program funding including a major federal grant that helped develop a new health program focus for NRPA. Wende provided strategic direction around the development of NRPA’s climate resilience initiatives and is helping to establish NRPA as a though-leader in this space through nation-wide convenings, professional networks and articles.  As an experienced non-profit leader with over 20 years of practice in the environmental field, Wende has successfully overseen community outreach programs and fundraising campaigns, helped set the strategic direction for a variety of community-based organizations, and served in a leadership capacity with a variety of volunteer groups. Wende holds a B.S. in Environmental Policy & Behavior from the University of Michigan and is currently interested in leveraging solutions at the intersection of climate resilience, social equity, and health.

  • The Vision and the Visual: Creative/Artist Partnerships in Parks and Recreation

    Contains 4 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Learn from three Parks and Recreation professionals in how including artists in the process of creating programs or facility planning can lead to new and unexpected successes.

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    Learn from three Parks and Recreation professionals in how including artists in the process of creating programs or facility planning can lead to new and unexpected successes. Case studies will include collaborations between artists and recreational agencies, artist inclusion in capital improvement projects, and leveraging a creative process to encourage community engagement.
    Presenters will also discuss how to recruit artists, define project expectations beneficial to both parties, and how to maximize the potential for fruitful collaborations. In addition, we will examine the following questions: what does a successful integrated art program look like in our sector? How do you define project goals when you include an artist? How can an artist's voice influence the project development process?



    Session Length: 1.25 Hours

    Credit: 0.1 CEU


    NRPA Education online learning content is accessible for 180 days from the date of your registration.  The learning content is available for registration for three years from the date of origination.

    Liesel Fenner, ASLA

    Public Art Program Director, Maryland State Arts Council

    Coming soon!

    Rosa Chang

    Artist & Senior Adviser for the Natural Dye Initiative, Maryland State Arts Council

    Coming Soon!

    Andy Dailey

    Cultural Arts Program Supervisor, City of Kettering

    Andrew Dailey plans and oversees over 400 programs for Rosewood Arts Centre each year. His initiatives, including community events for children and the arts, attract several thousand participants each year. His recent accolades include Distinguished Alumni Award from Wright State University, Special Way Award from the City of Kettering, and the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award.

  • What’s in Your Water? Avoiding Water Quality Incidents

    Contains 4 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Brush up on the latest changes to the Model Aquatic Health Code and discover the latest chemical-handling practices and disinfection technologies to prevent incidents at your park. This high level course will review some of the incidents that have occurred and how to avoid them.

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    Learn what shouldn’t lurk in your lagoon. Water-related pathogen outbreaks or chemical exposure incidents and their causes can be treated. Brush up on the latest changes to the Model Aquatic Health Code and discover the latest chemical-handling practices and disinfection technologies to prevent incidents at your park. We all want to go home safely, whether it is from our jobs, or from a fun day playing with the kids at the park. Unfortunately, injuries to employees and patrons have occurred from exposure to pathogens and chemicals at water parks and other aquatic facilities. 

    This high level course will review some of the incidents that have occurred and how to avoid them. Chemical incident and pathogen outbreak statistics will be presented. We will also discuss the latest in codes such as the Model Aquatic Health Code that are written to protect our employees and patrons.
    Attn: AFO Certified Professionals - this session eligible for Group "A" CEU Credit renewal.



    Session Length: 1.25 Hours

    Credit: 0.1 CEU; Group A eligible


    NRPA Education online learning content is accessible for 180 days from the date of your registration.  The learning content is available for registration for three years from the date of origination.

    Ellen Meyer, PhD

    Manager of Product Safety and Government Affairs, Innovative Water Care, LLC

    Ellen is Product Safety and Government Affairs Manager with Innovative Water Care, LLC. She has a PhD in chemistry and has been working in water treatment for over 25 years. Ellen is a former chair of the Recreational Water Quality Committee of APSP. She has served on the Technical Review and cyanuric acid ad hoc committees for the Model Aquatic Health Code and the NSF task group for pool chemical evaluation.

  • Suicide Talk; a Conversation to Create Awareness

    Contains 4 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Join the conversation to increase connections and reduce the risk of suicide. Everyone can be a part of the conversation and help to create strong and healthier communities.

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    Suicide is a community, health issue. Current statistic show that veterans, white men 65 and older, LGBTQ and teens as some of the highest risk groups. However, research also tells us that depression, one of the leading contributors to suicidal ideation, can be reduced with physical activity. Additionally, the ability to make connections with other people also reduces risk. 

    Although suicide can be a very scary and difficult topic for many people to discuss, only an open and honest conversation about the issue of suicide helps remove the stigma and taboo. Every single person can participate in this type of conversation which helps to create a strong, positive community that encourages ‘help-seeking’ behavior for people that might be at-risk.



    Session Length: 1.25 Hours

    Credit: 0.1 CEU



    NRPA Education online learning content is accessible for 180 days from the date of your registration.  The learning content is available for registration for three years from the date of origination.

    Lori A. Hoffner

    Speaker ~ Trainer ~ Consultant, Supporting CommUnity, Inc.

    Since 1997, Lori A. Hoffner has worked with multiple community organizations, agencies and programs, providing information, training and consultation.  Her work of positive relationship building supports both internal and external customer relations which ultimately impacts the financial bottom line of any organization.   

    For eight years, Lori served as an elected official as a member of the Board of Directors of a local park and recreation district in Colorado.  During the time that she served in that capacity, she helped to shape decisions and policies relevant to the organization that enhanced relationships between the staff, Board of Directors and community at large. Serving as the Citizen Representative for the Parks and Recreation Mid-West Council, Lori has participated on the NRPA national forum and has encouraged national, state and local leaders to recognize the value and importance of parks and recreation in the communities they serve.  
    By providing educational workshops that provide philosophies and examples of support, cooperative relationships and recognition, Lori is matching the needs of organizations with information and researched practices that motivates individuals to implementing ideas immediately. Lori has a great deal of fun with her audiences, engaging them in thought provoking exercises and encouraging intentional, positive practices every day.

    Additionally, Lori provides training to adults and youth surrounding the issue of suicide prevention and intervention and is a Consulting ASIST and SafeTALK trainer.  She has her B.A. in Psychology and is a former member of the Jefferson County Public Schools Foundation Board of Directors.

  • How to Start, Build, and Grow your Local Park Foundation

    Contains 4 Component(s), Includes Credits

    This session will explore the importance of LOCAL Park Foundations and / or LOCAL Friends of the Parks Groups across the United States, and explore the common components of successful local Park Foundations or Friends of the Park Groups.

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    This session will explore the importance of LOCAL Park Foundations and / or LOCAL Friends of the Parks Groups across the United States, and explore the common components of successful local Park Foundations or Friends of the Park Groups. We will also discuss the important strategies that will help appeal to those in the room that are in the start- up phase of their foundations as well as help those who need to revitalize or strengthen already existing Local Park Foundations or Local Friends of the Parks organizations. The focus for all foundations will be to create more relevance within their communities, greater connectivity with their park department, agency , or district, and an understanding that successful park foundations are governed through strategy and involved citizens and volunteers who have respect for those strategies.



    Session Length: 1.25 Hours

    Credit: 0.1 CEU



    NRPA Education online learning content is accessible for 180 days from the date of registration.  The learning content is available for registration for three years from the date of origination.

    Donald Ortale

    Founding Executive Director, National Association of Park Foundations

    Donald Ortale, is a former Park and Rec. elected Commissioner and a 25 year veteran of the non-profit sector. He is currently the Founding Executive Director of the National Association of Park Foundations.

  • Parks and Recreation Supporting Mental Health Challenges

    Contains 3 Component(s), Includes Credits

    The session will provide an overview of mental health issues facing us as a society, increase awareness of the myriad of disorders that exist, and how the park and recreation industry can play a role in providing support to mental health agencies, mental health professionals, and individuals who suffer from mental illness, as well as those who want to maintain good mental health.

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    Mental illness in the United States has become pervasive, with individuals suffering from many disorders. There are opportunities for practitioners in our field to support mental health challenges that many individuals face every day. The session will provide an overview of mental health issues facing us as a society, increase awareness of the myriad of disorders that exist, and how the park and recreation industry can play a role in providing support to mental health agencies, mental health professionals, and individuals who suffer from mental illness, as well as those who want to maintain good mental health.

    It is a well known fact that exercise can improve physical health. Research also suggests that exercise is beneficial for mental health. New research reveals a clear link between well-being and immersion in nature. The session will explore examples of agencies from around the country that are doing their part to create better mental health in their communities.


    Session Length: 1.25 Hours

    Credit: 0.1


    NRPA Education online learning content is accessible for 180 days from the date of your registration.  The learning content is available for registration for three years from the date of origination.

    April Chambers

    Vice President, National Alliance for Mental Illness

    April Chambers is the First Vice President and Treasurer on the Board of Directors for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). She is also a certified instructor for one of NAMI’s programs called Ending the Silence. This is a course for high school and college students encouraging them to talk about their thoughts and struggles. She has spoken in Washington DC during the NAMI National Convention, focusing on mental health parity (saving it) and funding for more services, including access to care for those who don’t have insurance or other means. She says of her work: "I have family with mental health diseases and I use lived experiences to help others know the challenges and how to navigate through them within the family as well as practitioners and hospitals."

    April teaches CIT (Crisis Intervention Team training) for law enforcement. This course gives them the skills to assess and manage individuals who may be suffering from a mental illness. 

    April also has over 25 years of Marketing strategy and technology experience within the financial services, retail, construction and entertainments industries. She is currently serving as the Senior Manager for Marketing Technology at Universal Orlando Resort.

    Barbara Heller

    Senior Consultant, BerryDunn

    Barbara Heller is a Senior Consultant/Practice Lead for Parks and Recreation with BerryDunn, starting in June 2019.  Previously she was President of Heller and Heller Consulting, LLC, a management consulting firm specializing in state and local government, primarily in the parks and recreation industry.  Her areas of specialty include: strategic planning, master planning, service quality assessments, operational/organizational reviews, leadership development, facilitation of public input processes, and staff training with clients all over the United States. 

    She has additional consulting experience with Sasaki Associates and PROS Consulting and has been performing client focused consulting engagements for 13 years. 

    Previous to consulting experience, Barbara spent over 30 years working at the local government level with a variety of park systems.   She was the Executive Director of the Naperville Park District and Elk Grove, Park District, both in Illinois. Heller has held other positions with municipal government organizations in Arlington, TX, Montgomery County, MD and Prince William County, VA.  

    Her education background includes a master’s degree in public administration from the American University in Washington, D.C. and a bachelor’s degree from the Pennsylvania State University.  

    She has presented at state and national conferences for the last 25 years.

  • Big Data in Customer Service and Why it Matters

    Contains 4 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Join us for a discussion of "Big Data" and the value for achieving customer service success.

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    In this talk we’ll discuss the impact of “Big Data” in customer service for Parks and Recreation. Including: • What is Big Data and why it’s valuable for customer service. • How to implement and track Key Performance Indicators (KPI) that measure customer service success. • How to visualize data to help decision makers using tools such as Excel or Microsoft Power BI. • Recommended practices such as data inventory, surveying and reporting distribution.


    Session Length: 1.25 Hours

    Credit: 0.1



    NRPA Education online learning content is accessible for 180 days from the date of your registration.  The learning content is available for registration for three years from the date of origination.

    Brynn DiPaola

    Customer Service Initiatives Specialist, Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation Business Systems

    Brynn DiPaola is the Customer Service Initiatives Specialist for Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation. With a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Redlands, in Southern California. He has organized and facilitated trainings in Customer Service for 15 years. His current role leverages data and analytics to enhance training while identifying and measuring Key Performance Indicators.

    Andru Fratarcangeli

    Customer Service Initiative Admin. Analyst, Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation Business Systems

    Andru Fratarcangeli, is the Customer Service Initiative Admin. Analyst for Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation Department. With a Masters of Science in Management Information Systems, his background spans across all levels of business including tech startups, fortune 1000 E-commerce companies and even global operations within the US Army as an Intelligence Analyst.

  • NRPA Splash Pad Certificate: Planning

    Contains 3 Component(s), Includes Credits

    As a part of NRPA's Splash Pad Certificate, Planning helps you to define your community needs and expected benefits, assess proposed sites to ensure proper placement, outline a site plan and create a budget plan for design and ongoing maintenance costs for splash pad features.

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    Planning

    As a part of NRPA's Splash Pad Certificate, Planning helps you to define your community needs and expected benefits, assess proposed sites to ensure proper placement, outline a site plan and create a budget plan for design and ongoing maintenance costs for splash pad features. This course provides a directed exploration of the planning process as an agency considers the option of a splash pad feature for a park.
    After completion of this course, you should be able to:

    • Define community needs and expected benefits;
    • Assess proposed site to ensure proper placement;
    • Outline a site plan; and
    • Create budget plans for design and ongoing maintenance costs

    The certificate includes four online courses, each focused on key areas of the implementation and operation of splash pad facilities. To receive your Splash Pad Certificate, you must complete each of the four courses. While anyone may sign up for this planning course, you must be currently AFO or CPO certified to enroll for the Operations and Maintenance courses within this certificate program.

  • NRPA Splash Pad Certificate: Design

    Contains 3 Component(s), Includes Credits

    As part of NRPA's Splash Pad Certificate, the Design course will help you to demonstrate knowledge of current safety standards, select appropriate elements based on site plans, and identify other site considerations for splash pad features.

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    Design

    As a part of NRPA's Splash Pad Certificate, the Design course will help you to demonstrate knowledge of current safety standards, select appropriate elements based on site plans, and identify other site considerations for splash pad features.

    The certificate includes four online courses, each focused on key areas of the implementation and operation of splash pad facilities. To receive your Splash Pad Certificate, you must complete each of the four courses. While anyone may sign up for this planning course, you must be currently AFO or CPO certified to enroll for the Operations and Maintenance and Repair courses within this certificate program.

  • NRPA Splash Pad Certificate: Operations

    Contains 3 Component(s), Includes Credits

    As part of NRPA's Splash Pad Certificate, the Operations course will help you identify liabilities, create a risk management plan, implement management and safety practices and identify potential programming and rental opportunities for splash pad features.

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    Operations

    As a part of NRPA's Splash Pad Certificate,the Operations course will help you identify liabilities, create a risk management plan, implement management and safety practices and identify potential programming and rental opportunities for splash pad features.

    You must be currently AFO or CPO certified to enroll in this course. 

    The certificate includes four online courses, each focused on key areas of the implementation and operation of splash pad facilities. To receive your Splash Pad Certificate, you must complete each of the four courses. 

  • NRPA Splash Pad Certificate: Maintenance

    Contains 3 Component(s), Includes Credits

    As part of NRPA's Splash Pad Certificate, the Maintenance course will help you to form knowledge of maintenance techniques and identify and implement appropriate repairs for splash pad features.

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    Maintenance

    As a part of NRPA's Splash Pad Certificate,the Maintenance course will help you to form knowledge of maintenance techniques and identify and implement appropriate repairs for splash pad features.

    You must be currently AFO or CPO certified to enroll in this course. 

    The certificate includes four online courses, each focused on key areas of the implementation and operation of splash pad facilities. To receive your Splash Pad Certificate, you must complete each of the four courses. 

  • NRPA Splash Pad Certificate

    Contains 4 Product(s)

    NRPA’s Splash Pad Certificate Program is designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to create and implement a water play recreation area for your agency and community. By completing this online certificate program, you will gain the expertise necessary to plan, design, operate and maintain a splash pad facility.

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    NRPA’s Splash Pad Certificate Program is designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to create and implement a water play recreation area for your agency and community. By completing this online certificate program, you will gain the expertise necessary to plan, design, operate and maintain a splash pad facility.

    The program includes four online courses, each focused on key areas of the implementation and operation of splash pad facilities. To receive your Splash Pad Certificate and 1.2 CEUs, you must complete each of the four courses. Each course will be available individually, but you must be currently AFO or CPO certified to enroll for the Operations and Maintenance and Repair courses. 

    Eligibility

    To complete all courses in this certificate program you must hold a current AFO  or CPO Certification. You can take the Planning and Design course without these certifications but will not be able to take the Operations and Maintenance courses without providing proof of your certification.

    Who Should Enroll?

    Pool Operators, Maintenance Staff, Pool Managers, Park and Recreation Directors, Health Code Inspectors, Building Inspectors or anyone responsible for maintaining water play recreation areas.

    Courses

    Planning

    Define your community needs and expected benefits, assess proposed sites to ensure proper placement, outline a site plan and create a budget plan for design and ongoing maintenance costs. Learn More

    Design

    Demonstrate knowledge of current safety standards, select appropriate elements based on site plan and identify site considerations. Learn More

    Operations

    Identify liabilities, create a Risk Management plan, implement management and safety practices and identify potential programming and rental opportunities. (Prerequisite: AFO or CPO certification) Learn More

    Maintenance

    Demonstrate knowledge of maintenance techniques and identify and implement appropriate repairs. (Prerequisite: AFO or CPO certification) Learn More


  • Marketing and Communications: Implementation

    Contains 3 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Through this course you will form an understanding of the various development and distribution channels and an overview of creative strategy that are available to meet your marketing and agency needs.

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    Part of NRPA's Marketing and Communications Certificate, this implementation course takes a deeper dive into a part of the strategic marketing plan describing tactical directions for marketing. Through this course you will form an understanding of the various development and distribution channels and an overview of creative strategy that are available to meet your marketing and agency needs. You will be able to take away from this course a strategy and a toolkit for tactically delivering your message.