Park Champions Initiative

imageThe Park Champions show-and-tell advocacy model allows our members to create meaningful experiences for members of Congress that demonstrate the importance of investing in parks and recreation. This online learning product brings together any past and future Park Champions learning opportunities through a single subscription. Within this free subscription, you will gain access and be notified of past and future webinars, micro-learning products, videos, and other resources produced under this initiative. 

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Please take a moment to introduce yourself, share your experience, and collaborate with peers by asking questions within the Park Champions Connect Community.
Crafting Your Parks and Rec Elevator Pitch
07/30/2018 at 2:00 PM (EDT)   |  60 minutes
07/30/2018 at 2:00 PM (EDT)   |  60 minutes As park and recreation professionals, you know the importance of your agency’s work. After all, you’re out there doing the work and seeing its impact on the ground every single day. However, it’s easier done than said when it comes to communicating everything that parks and recreation means to your community to your elected officials. When you’re hosting your members of Congress and state and local officials at Park Champion events this year, do you have a parks and rec elevator pitch prepared? How about your park users and supporters? If not, we’ve got the tips you need to perfect your pitch. Join the NRPA Public Policy team, Jamie Polley, Director of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry for Marathon County, Wisconsin, and Jan Neitzert, Executive Director for the Missouri Park and Recreation Association, as we discuss how to craft an effective parks and rec elevator pitch that you and your supporters can use to advocate for your agency. Using advocacy best practices and the Did You Know/Friends of the Park model, you’ll leave this webinar ready to talk up your work in any situation.
Farm to Summer: Ag-vocating for Parks and Rec in the Farm Bill
06/07/2018 at 2:30 PM (EDT)   |  60 minutes
06/07/2018 at 2:30 PM (EDT)   |  60 minutes Join the NRPA Public Policy Team as we showcase park and recreation agencies’ incredible farm-to-summer programming, tools and resources provided by the US Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School team, and how the Farm Bill could mean new opportunities for positioning park and recreation agencies as key local agricultural partners.
National Trails Day: Bringing Capitol Hill to a Trail Near You!
04/19/2018 at 2:30 PM (EDT)   |  60 minutes
04/19/2018 at 2:30 PM (EDT)   |  60 minutes For the second year, the American Hiking Society and NRPA are partnering up to bring NRPA’s Park Champion initiative to AHS’ National Trails Day (Saturday, June 2nd)! Each year on the first Saturday of June, American Hiking Society and the trails community invite Americans of all ages and abilities to find their own adventure and discover their unique story at one of the thousands of events hosted throughout the country. NRPA already makes advocacy tools and resources available to park and recreation professionals and community advocates through the Park Champion initiative, and to make it easier than ever to invite members of Congress to join the National Trails Day fun, we’ve designed a special National Trails Day / Park Champion Advocacy Toolkit! Join speakers from the American Hiking Society (Tyler Ray, Director of Policy and Advocacy and Wesley Trimble, ‎Program Outreach and Communications Manager) and the NRPA Public Policy Team (Jayni Rasmussen, Advocacy and Outreach Manager, and Kyle Simpson, Senior Government Affairs Manager) as we discuss how you can get involved with National Trails Day and invite your members of Congress to see first-hand the importance of our nation’s trail systems.
Bringing Capitol Hill to a Park Near You! 2018
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Park Champions across the country are inviting their members of Congress and their staff to see their parks and programs first-hand at park dedications, program kick-offs, special events, and more! The Park Champion show-and-tell advocacy model allows our members to create meaningful experiences for members of Congress that demonstrate the importance of investing in parks and recreation. Join the NRPA Public Policy team and special guest speaker and 2017 Park Champion of the Year, Som Subedi of Portland Parks & Recreation, as we gear up for another great year of the Park Champion initiative. Learn all you need to know about the tools and resources available to you so you can you have your voice heard by your elected officials.
Crafting Your Advocacy Story
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Everyone has a story about what parks and recreation means to them – do you know how to tell yours? Join the NRPA Public Policy team as we explore how to craft a powerful story that you can tell your members of Congress to advocate for the future of parks and rec. This webinar, part of the Park Champion webinar series, is aimed at educating all levels of advocates and will serves as a great primer for members looking to attend the Park Champion Advocacy Summit at NRPA’s Annual Conference in New Orleans.
Bringing Capitol Hill to a Park Near You!
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Are you ready to get involved? The Park Champion initiative is NRPA's signature grassroots advocacy program, and we need you to ensure Congress continues to value the importance of parks and recreation. Join the NRPA Public Policy team as we discuss how you can step up as Park Champion. We'll walk through our 2017 policy platform and the key resources available to NRPA members, including the Park Champion Advocacy Toolkit. Participants will also hear from a Park Champion about their experience with inviting their members of Congress to see their parks and programs first-hand. Don't miss out on this exciting opportunity to learn how you can bring Capitol Hill to a park near you!
Mobilizing Your Volunteer Networks for Advocacy
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Most parks and recreation agencies have a huge advocacy resource that is being seriously underutilized – volunteer networks! Your volunteers are already passionate about parks and recreation, and most are just waiting for an opportunity to share their stories and take action. Join the NRPA Public Policy team and a special guest speaker to learn how to mobilize your volunteer networks to advocate for parks and recreation. #ParkChampions
Utilizing Social Media for Effective Advocacy
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Join the NRPA Public Policy team and a special guest speaker to learn how to effectively advocate for parks and rec in 140 characters! Social media advocacy is a quick and easy way to connect with Congress. From handles to hashtags, we'll explore how social media is perceived on Capitol Hill and how you can use Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to show your elected officials that parks and rec matters. #ParkChampions
Storytelling for Parks and Recreation Advocacy
Open to view video.
Open to view video. You likely already have a heartfelt story you tell when describing what parks and recreation means to you and your community - but do you know how to make your story resonate all the way to Capitol Hill? Your elected officials rely on stories to understand how their votes impact their community, but in this age of near-instant communication, you need to know how to make your story stand out and be memorable. Hear from expert speakers and the NRPA Public Policy team on how to craft a powerful, evocative story that will appeal to your local, state, and federal officials.
Planning a Park Champion Event
Open to view video.
Open to view video. This webinar reviews the Park Champion initiative and provides useful insight on how to plan a Park Champion event at your organization. #ParkChampions
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Jayni Rassmussen (Moderator)

Advocacy & Outreach Manager, National Recreation and Park Association

Jayni Rasmussen is the Advocacy and Outreach Manager for the National Recreation and Park Association. She manages the Public Policy's team's advocacy initiatives, including the Park Champion campaign. Prior to NRPA, Jayni worked at Ocean Conservancy, where she coordinated advocacy and outreach efforts both on Capitol Hill and on the ground to garner support for ocean health policy. Jayni is a graduate of Kent State University, where she received her B.A. in Political Science.

Kate Clabaugh

Senior Government Affairs Manager, National Recreation and Park Association

Kate Clabaugh joined NRPA in May 2017 and manages our advocacy work related to health and wellness policy priorities, including nutrition, healthcare, and education. Kate previously worked for the national anti-hunger organization, the Food Research and Action Center, working with Congress to protect and expand access to the federal nutrition programs. 

Kyle Simpson

Senior Government Affairs Manager, National Recreation and Park Association

Kyle Simpson joined NRPA in December 2017 and is heading up our public policy work on conservation, including infrastructure, Land and Water Conservation Fund, and resiliency. Kyle comes to NRPA after nearly 10 years on Capitol Hill, most recently having worked for Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri.

Kevin O'Hara

Vice President of Urban and Government Affairs, National Recreation and Park Association

Kevin oversees NRPA's Federal Advocacy efforts and leads NRPA's engagement with urban directors and agencies. Previously, O'Hara was Manager of Government Affairs for the American Society of Landscape Architects where he oversaw advocacy efforts on urban parks, green infrastructure, children's access to nature and more. O'Hara also worked for a non-profit in the higher education finance sector where he led advocacy and college access initiatives. O'Hara earned a B.A. Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Minnesota's Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs. O'Hara and his wife Meaghan are residents of the Adams Morgan neighborhood in the District of Columbia, where they overlook the lovely Kalorama Park. His free time pursuits include hiking, travel, and good food.

Roxanne Sutton

Senior Communications Manager, National Recreation and Park Association

Roxanne Sutton is the Senior Manager of Communications at the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). Her responsibilities include overseeing social media strategy and content development and promoting the award-winning work of our partnerships and business development team. She is also the host of NRPA’s podcast, Open Space Radio. In her role, Roxanne is fortunate to communicate and work directly with many NRPA members to promote new opportunities and showcase the great work local parks and recreation are doing in their communities. Prior to her role at NRPA, she worked at a PR firm in D.C. on a multitude of accounts ranging from energy clients to non-profits. She graduated with honors and recognition from George Mason University with her bachelors in Communication specializing in Public Relations. She was a member of Lambda Pi Eta and recipient of the Excellence in Communication Award.

Catrina Belt

Senior Marketing and Communications Specialist at National Recreation and Park Association

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Julie Dixon

Director of Research, National Journal

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Le'alani Boykin

Community Visioning & Planning Manager at Partnerships for Parks

The contribution I am most compelled in making to the world is improving the processes that people work in; to streamline information exchange and harmonize relationships. I intend to understand both individual and group needs, and their portals to learning, to develop tools for their success.

Luci Correa

Senior Staff Analyst, Houston Parks and Recreation

Luci Correa manages grants, legislation and development for the Houston Parks and Recreation Department. She has served the agency for 17 years in various functions including event and program sponsorships and grant writing. Luci holds a BBA in marketing from the University of Houston and an MBA from Texas Woman's University.

Tyler Ray

Director of Policy and Advocacy, American Hiking Society

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Wesley Trimble

Program Outreach and Communications Manager, American Hiking Society

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Jamie Polley, CPRP

Director of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry, Wausau & Marathon County, Wisconsin

Jamie Polley has recently become the Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry for the City of Wausau and Marathon County WI. She was the Parks and Recreation Director for the City of Shakopee for 10 1/ 2 years. Prior to moving to MN She was the Director for the City of New London WI for four year. In 2011-2012 she attended the NRPA Director's School where she became familiar with the Did You Know Program. Having worked in a small WI City and coming to MN during the economic down turn it became apparent that she needed to do something to make Parks and Recreation important in her community. She brought the DYK program back to Shakopee and to the Minnesota Recreation and Parks Association where it was very well received and supported. The more she described the program the more other directors became interested. MRPA chose to support the program in 2014 and now has 29 agencies registered. Jamie plans to continue the advocacy effort that is so important to our profession as she returns to WI.

Jan Neitzert, CPRP, CAE

Executive Director, Missouri Park and Recreation Association

Jan Neitzert has been Executive Director for the Missouri Park and Recreation Association since 2008. A graduate of the University of Missouri, Jan was a practitioner for over 25 years, including therapeutic, aquatic, municipal and educational settings. For 12 years, she served as General Manager for Homeowners' Associations in a series of start-up communities for Pulte Homes/Del Webb in Las Vegas, Nevada. Other positions include leadership of the Council of State Executive Directors and the Missouri Society of Association Executives. She is both CPRP and a Certified Association Executive.