Promoting LGBTQ+ Inclusion in Parks and Recreation
True to the very philosophy of public parks and recreation is the idea that all people—no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation—have access to quality programs, facilities, places and spaces that make their lives and communities great. Those who identify as LGBTQ+ have historically lacked access to physical and social activity opportunities, contributing to health disparities including higher rates of chronic disease, mental health challenges and substance misuse. Park and recreation agencies are uniquely positioned to meet the needs of LGBTQ+ community members, addressing many of these disparities, by ensuring spaces, places and programs are inclusive and welcoming to all.
Director of Health, National Recreation and Park Association
Allison Colman is the Director of Health for the National Recreation and Park Association on the Health and Wellness team. Allison joined NRPA in 2015 and oversees the out-of-school time portfolio, including NRPA’s Commit to Health campaign and efforts to reduce childhood hunger through the USDA Child Nutrition programs. Allison also manages NRPA Parks for Inclusion initiative. Prior to joining NRPA, Allison worked in the recreation field facilitating health and wellness programs across all populations. Combined with her work in other non-profits and organizations, Allison has extensive experience in public health and wellness program management and preventative health initiatives.
Senior Recreation Services Manager, Sunrise Recreation & Park District, Citrus Heights, California
Becky Herz has been involved in recreation management for over 20 years. She is also the mother 2, including a gender-unique 10-year-old. 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 and was the keynote speaker at the 2019 CPRS Recreation Therapy Institute. She currently works as Senior Recreation Service Manager for Sunrise Recreation and Park District.
Program Manager, National Recreation and Park Association
Maureen Acquino is a Program Manager for the National Recreation and Park Association. As a part of the Health and Wellness team, she focuses on healthy out-of-school time programming and inclusive practices in parks and recreation.