MRPA Minnesota Magazine Fall 2017

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MINNESOTA Official Publication of Minnesota Recreation and Park Association

Recreation and Parks Volume 12, Issue 4 • Fall 2017



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MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks

Publisher Minnesota Recreation and Park Association 200 Charles Street NE, Fridley, MN 55432 Tel: 763.571.1305 Editorial Staff Michelle J. Snider Bethani Gerhard Editorial Board Patty Anderson, Maple Grove Jan Ficken, Brooklyn Park Jennifer Fink, New Brighton Lori Hokenson, New Brighton Tonya Love, Elk River Advertising & Design Pernsteiner Creative Group, MRPA Board of Directors 2017 President: Patty Anderson, Maple Grove President-Elect: Boe Carlson, Three Rivers Park District Past President: Mary Jo Knudson, Owatonna Secretary: Michelle Margo, Brooklyn Park Treasurer: Dale McCamish, Rochester RSC Chair: Jerry Ruegemer, Chanhassen East Metro: Garrett Beck, Burnsville East Metro: Andy Soltvedt, Anoka County East Metro: Jared Flewellen, Eagan Northeast Region: Jamie Cassidy, Becker Northwest Region: Dolf Moon, Hutchinson Southern Region: Kim Underwood, Austin West Metro: Jamie Polley, Shakopee West Metro: Kelly Mertes, Brooklyn Center West Metro: Sonya Rippe, Plymouth This magazine is the official quarterly publication of Minnesota Recreation and Park Association and is provided complimentary to members as part of their MRPA membership. The editorial board encourages the submission of articles and photos for publication. Articles of approximately 500-700 words or less may be submitted, but may be edited for length and clarity. Contact Michelle Snider, MRPA, at 763.571.1305 x100 if interested in submitting an article for a future issue.

Deadlines for Articles and Advertising Winter 2018 issue...............................December 1 Spring 2018 Issue.................................... March 10 Summer 2018 issue..................................... May 13 Fall 2018 issue.............................................. July 30 MRPA reserves the right to approve all submitted advertising in MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks magazine. All requests for advertising should be made to Todd Pernsteiner, Account Manager, at 952.841.1111 or An affiliate of National Recreation and Park Association

FROM THE BOARD PRESIDENT By Patty Anderson, MRPA President

As we move forward into the fourth quarter of 2017, MRPA Board and members have much to celebrate. We are celebrating awards of excellence, MRPA’s 80th anniversary and the inaugural year of the Facility Management Academy. Twenty-six agencies have been honored in this publication for their outstanding work in creative programs, new facilities, and outstanding quality services. A high five to each award winner. I am encouraging each member to take this magazine to lunch and check out the 2016 award recipients. Then pause and feel what is stirring in you. Is there a change in programming or new project you are thinking about launching? Let this article be an inspiration for you to take steps towards what’s next for you and your agency. A special thanks to the awards committee for the dedication it takes to evaluate and select the award recipients. Did you know that MRPA is celebrating our 80th anniversary? For many of the 80 years, an annual conference was the place to network and share best practices; before networking and best practices were words in our vocabulary. As is the tradition, the 2017 state conference was filled with lots of fun along with networking and learning. Attendees laughed, made new connections, added new skills to their professional tool box, and celebrated the positive impact we bring to our communities. I heard many say they walked away inspired and renewed to continue to serve their communities, and proud to know that Minnesota has been committed to the profession of parks and recreation for so long. MRPA launched a new training venture in September with the inaugural offering of the Facility Management Academy. During the three classes held so far, participants have learned to develop a business mindset and promote the facility value to the customer. Hats off to the 37 participants who are willing to commit time to learn and grow their professional skills. This new training was made possible by corporate sponsors: Minnesota Recreation and Park Foundation and RJM Construction. These partnerships and the new connections participants made with each other are great examples of the MRPA core values of engagement and leadership. In closing I wanted to share a fun experience I had this summer trying something new, rock sculpturing. At the end of a three-hour class I was able to stack four small rocks, of different shapes and sizes to make an interesting little sculpture. The mastery of balancing rocks comes by working with each rock to see how they best fit together. It occurred to me the secrets to rock balancing are the same secrets to teamwork. As a leader, it is important to get to know the team, respect the differences and focus on how they can complement each other’s strengths. The top secret that fits so well both with rock sculpturing and team building is when things fall, and they will, just try it again, nothing is permanent, no matter how well balanced it looks, and everything can be reshaped with focus and commitment. Next time you are walking along a shoreline, try getting two or three rocks, all different shapes, and see if you can balance them. Until then, enjoy the challenge to build strong teams with your co-workers and professional peers. Most of all let’s continue to celebrate 80 years of the parks and recreation professional association in Minnesota.

TABLE OF CONTENTS From the Board President................................3 Foundation Corner............................................4 MRPA Events Calendar.....................................4 MRPA in Action..................................................5 Meet Stephanie Schutta...................................5 Keeping Up.........................................................6 Did You Know.....................................................8

MRPA Membership Update...........................10 MRPA Awards of Excellence................. 12-22 Game, Set, a Perfect Match...........................23 Storytelling Connects Employees........... 24-25 BACK PAGE: MRPA 50th Anniversary...........27 MRPA Flashback..............................................27

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Minnesota Recreation and Park Foundation Updates by John Stutzman, CPRP, Minnesota Recreation and Park Foundation Vice President The Minnesota Recreation and Park Foundation is the only non-profit organization solely dedicated to promoting excellence in the parks and recreation profession. We might not sell fantastic cookies, discount cards, or little candy bars but we take great pride in our educational and networking opportunities, programs, grants, student and continuing education scholarships, and the continued support of the Minnesota Recreation and Park Association. For more information, please contact MRPF President Nate Rosa at

DID YOU KNOW…the Minnesota Recreation and Park Foundation… • Serves members by following our primary objective of supporting the education, innovation and training for all members and the Parks and Recreation profession! • Hosted the Annual Golf and Lawn Bowling Tournaments on September 14 at Brookview Golf Course. 53 golfers, 20 lawn bowlers and 8 sponsors contributed to a great event and enjoyed a fun day! • Was a sponsor of the MRPA Annual Conference? Contributed more than $6,000 in financial support towards the delegate gift, Young Professional and Student Network’s (YPSN) event, student luncheon and MRPF 2017 New Initiative Grants session. • In conjunction with RJM Construction, is a sponsor of the MRPA Facility Management Academy. The Facility Management Academy is a comprehensive six-day professional development program designed to provide facility managers with best practice methods and skills to develop and manage buildings and special use facilities.

MRPA Events Calendar MRPA Facility Management Academy Remaining dates: • November 9 and 30, 2017 • December 14, 2017 Parks and Recreation 2030 Seminar November 9, 2017, Anoka County Activities Center Data Relevancy and Innovation Workshop November 29, 2017, Eagan Community Center MRPA Athletic Management Institute December 6-7, 2017, Maple Grove Community Center Annual General Meeting and Awards Luncheon January 9, 2018, Chaska Event Center Staff Supervision Workshop January 17, 2018, Brookview, Golden Valley

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• Offered great prizes at the silent auction and raffle fundraiser at the MRPA Annual Conference? Silent auction items included sporting event tickets, rounds of golf, autographed sports memorabilia, and brewery and winery packages. The raffle featured airline tickets, a Coach purse and more. Thanks to everyone who supports MRPF and participated in these events. Special thanks to Greg Simmons from Bloomington, Chelsea Swiggum from Becker, Chris Freemark (He is job hunting! and Alyssa Pink from Plymouth for volunteering their time and leadership for this year’s event. • Offers student scholarships? The scholarship program includes up to five $1,000 scholarships for juniors and seniors enrolled in a four-year parks and recreation curriculum at a Minnesota or neighboring state university. Information and the scholarship application can be found online at: For questions please contact Brooke Burk at, Jason Hicks at, or Jamie Cassidy at • Membership is only $25 (Retirees $20, Students $10) and is a tax deductible donation? Contact Nicole Gorman at for more information on becoming a member today! • The Foundation is only as good as the feedback we receive from our members and our volunteer Board members. If you are interested in being a part of the Board, or want to suggest an initiative, please contact the MRPF Board of Trustees. The current MRPF Board of Trustees and Officers are Lisa Abernathy (secretary), Marcia Bach, Dr. Brooke Burk, Jamie Cassidy, Corky Ebeling, Jennifer Fink, Nicole Gorman, Kari Hemp (treasurer), Jason Hicks, Nate Rosa (president), John Stutzman (vice-president).

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< Meet Stephanie Schutta

Facility Mangement Academy The Facility Management Academy kicked off September 19 at the Shakopee Community Center with 37 participants from various parks and recreation agencies. Over the course of four months, the Academy meets over a total of six days with various topics: business development and planning, finances and purchasing, legal policies, operations, sustainability and building networks. The Academy is designed to provide facility managers with best practice methods and skills to develop and manage buildings and special use facilities, including diverse outdoor and indoor areas. MRPA appreciates the generous support of our program partners, Minnesota Recreation and Park Foundation and RJM Construction.

MRPA Athletic Management Institute December 6-7, 2017


Schutta adds that she didn’t think of a career in park and recreation until her sophomore year of college. At that time her major was graphic design. “I felt disconnected from graphic design and started to reevaluate what I would like to do for a career,” she says. “My time working in park and recreation really formed my interest in a career in that field.” Schutta adds she then enrolled in the University of Minnesota her junior year and declared recreation, park and leisure studies as her major. She says she fell in love again with park and recreation and realized that she made the right decision. “I started working for the City of Shoreview in 2010 as a special events staff, then shortly after I was working in various positions at the Shoreview Community Center. I taught swim lessons, worked in their kids care facility and in the summer day camp, and then as a coordinator. My senior year of college, I became the interim for the adult/senior programs coordinator at Shoreview, while at the same time I completed my internship with the City of Spring Lake Park.” Schutta adds that she really enjoyed her time at the city of Spring Lake Park since she was able to gain experience in athletics, youth programs, adult/senior programs, and special events. “I was then offered a full-time position at Shoreview a couple weeks before I graduated college and I have been here since,” she states.


• Computer

Stephanie Schutta says she can remember being enrolled in various park and recreation activities at a young age. “Growing up, we had a neighborhood park where all the neighborhood kids would meet and I would start leading everyone in various games and activities,” states Schutta, who is currently a recreation program coordinator for Shoreview Parks and Recreation. “At the age of 13, I started volunteering for the City of Blaine’s Little School Program. I did that for two summers before they hired me. I worked for the City of Blaine in various programs they offered throughout high school. I loved working with the residents and my coworkers; work was always fun.”

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“I also served two times on the committee for the MRPA summer leadership workshop and taught a break-out session at one of the workshops,” states Schutta. “I was the co-chair of the social committee for the 2016 MRPA Annual Conference. I also served on the committee for the 2017 winter events/ safety camp workshop. Last year, I was the secretary for the programming section and this year I am the chair of the section. In addition, I have also attended various programming section meetings and workshops that MRPA has hosted.” Schutta adds, “I have found MRPA to be extremely beneficial as a young professional. MRPA has allowed me to connect with others of varying levels of experience. Through these connections, I have been able to grow professionally and personally.” MRPA members are the heart of our organization. They are involved and committed to advancing the parks and recreation programming. MRPA in Action is a new magazine feature which will highlight one section/committee and one professional per issue.

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KEEPING UP Clifton E. French Receives Hall of Fame Award Clifton E. French was selected to receive the National Recreation and Park Association’s 2017 Robert W. Crawford Recreation and Park Hall of Fame award. Award recipients were honored September 27, 2017 at an American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA) event during the NRPA Annual Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. Clifton’s daughter, Priscilla, accepted the award. The NRPA Recreation and Park Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who have made outstanding and lasting contributions to

the advancement of recreation and parks. French’s award nomination narrative illustrates French’s outstanding contributions to the profession. The nomination summary included the following information: French was a remarkable leader of the parks and recreation movement on the local, state, regional, and national levels. He was a MRPA member for 58 years, from 1948 through 2006. He served as MRPA Board President in 1966. Upon his retirement from the Park District, French became MRPA’s executive director for five years. Today, MRPA’s award of highest distinction bestowed upon a professional was re-named in his honor, Clifton E. French Distinguished Service Award.

French was a remarkable leader of the parks and recreation movement on the local, state, regional, and national levels.

L to R: MRPA Executive Director Michelle Snider, Clifton E. French’s daughter Priscilla French, and AAPRA President Chris Nunes

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MRPA Member Steve Benoit Completes 2017 Wisconsin Ironman Steve Benoit, recreation manager for Elk River Parks and Recreation, competed in the 2017 Wisconsin Ironman triathlon event, held in Madison Wisconsin and its surrounding communities. This year’s event was held on Sunday, September 10. “This is the first Ironman race I’ve done in 13 years,” states Benoit. “I did it to celebrate turning 50.” The triathlon event consisted of a 2.4 mile swim held in Lake Monona, downtown Madison, a 112-mile bike ride through the rural Dane County hilly roads, and finished with a 26.2 mile run through the city of Madison and the University of Wisconsin Campus. 2,500 participates were part of this year’s event. Congratulations to Steve Benoit for his accomplishment!

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Did You Know… By: Jamie Polley Shakopee Parks and Recreation




Enriching Life. Inspiring C ommunit y. Minnesota Recreation and Park Association Did You Know (DYK) program agencies continue to implement the initiative throughout the state. Each magazine issue will highlight how a participating agency is using the program to provide education and advocacy for the community.

Did you know MRPA has been in existence for 80 years? The MRPA Annual Conference was a time to get together and celebrate the opportunities we all have as members to grow professionally. Thank you for taking time this conference to look around you and see the amazing resources you have in every member! The Annual Conference was also be a time to learn about new topics and get refreshed on others. The DYK committee conducted a session to briefly inform agencies not signed up for DYK to understand what the program is and what it does. The session also served as a refresher for those agencies that have been using it and/or needed a little boost or assistance. The session additionally allowed everyone to exchange ideas, talk about ways the program is being used and discuss opportunities for collaboration. MRPA is also working regularly to enhance the program and make it more user-friendly for

Did You Know is active in…

all agencies. The new DYK icons were also unveiled to the group. The icons all link to a major topic such as: community, economic, environmental, etc. Each icon can be placed next to a statement to help the public and elected officials understand the impact that is trying to be communicated. The icons also help agencies tell their stories in a straightforward way!

Did You Know – Brooklyn Park Recreation and Parks Minnesota Recreation and Park Association Did You Know (DYK) program agencies continue to implement the initiative throughout the state. Each magazine issue will highlight how a participating agency is using the program to provide education and advocacy for the community. Brooklyn Park Recreation and Parks purchased the DYK toolkit almost three years ago and has placed the logo and facts into their brochures, flyers and signage at the Edinburgh Golf Course.

with relaying your benefits to your community. The program can be used as much or as little as your agency wants to use it. The DYK committee has developed a starter toolkit to assist agencies with the program implementation. The toolkits contain facts, statement examples, ideas on how the statements are used and sample presentations. If your agency has not purchased the program and would like to know more about it, please contact Michelle Snider at and a training session for your agency or region can be arranged.

The DYK program can assist your park and recreation agency

Did You Know in Brooklyn Park

• Albert Lea

• Burnsville

• Edina

• Hutchinson

• New Brighton

• Rogers

• Austin

• Carver County

• Elk River

• New Ulm

• Shakopee

• Becker

• Chanhassen

• Faribault

• Inver Grove Heights

• Owatonna

• South St. Paul

• Bemidji

• Eagan

• Farmington

• LeSueur

• Prior Lake

• St. Louis Park

• Fridley

• Minnetonka

• Rochester

• Willmar

• Brooklyn Park

• Eden Prairie

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Fall 2017 • MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks 9

MRPA Introduces New Membership Dues Structure for 2018 As Minnesota Recreation and Park Association celebrates its 80th anniversary, one constant throughout the past eight decades has been a dedicated membership. This membership has been committed to advancing the parks and recreation profession through its three pillars of education, recreation, and legislation. With this in mind, the MRPA Board of Directors’ work plan for 2017 included a review of the membership dues structure to ensure the Association would be positioned for a healthy future and one that is built for potential growth utilizing available resources. A review committee comprised of Board members was created to review the dues structure and research examples of other non-profit membership models. The goals for this review were twofold: (a) to simplify membership that encouraged expanded involvement; and (b) to increase overall membership, allowing MRPA to provide additional benefits while remaining committed to offering affordable programs. The current professional and agency membership dues structure has been in existence for nearly 20 years. The committee began the restructuring process in the spring of this year, and has used the full year of 2016 as a starting point for comparison while 2017 membership renewals arrived during the year. The review committee discussed ways to develop a membership dues structure that considered all members equally, regardless of a person’s salary or population served upon which the current system is based. The committee researched other association membership models, including those of other parks and recreation associations throughout the United States. Scenarios were developed for each agency to determine the fee differential from 2016 to 2018. The committee and Board were dedicated to establishing a new structure that would encourage new members, without imposing financial hardship on its existing members. The committee made a recommendation to the Board for a membership dues structure that would achieve the goals initially set forth, provide similar revenue in its first year of implementation, and provide a slight revenue gain in the second year. The Board approved the new membership dues structure for agency, professional, and corporate memberships, with rates established for 2018 and 2019. The new rates are effective January 1, 2018 and will be shown within the membership renewals sent in November. The new structure will generate similar revenue as in 2016 in the first year of 2018, with a slight projected revenue gain in 2019.

Agency Membership The current agency dues model is based upon population served. The new agency dues model is a flat rate of $450. Both the current and new model enrolls an agency’s board and commission members. Current Model Based on Population

Current Dues Rates

New Model Dues Rates

Up to 10,000


10,000 to 24,999


25,000 to 49,999


The membership dues for all agencies are a flat rate of $450.

50,000 to 99,999


100,000 and Up


Bulk Membership


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Professional Membership There are currently 10 different professional membership rates based on a person’s salary and whether his/her department is an agency member. The new professional membership dues will be a flat rate of $140 if the individual’s department is an agency member, and $280 if they do not have an agency membership. Additionally, larger agencies that pay for their employees’ professional memberships would pay $140 each for the first 10 professional memberships with a reduced rate of $100 for any member thereafter. Current Model Based on Salary

2016 2016 Rates No Rates With Agency Agency Membership Discount

New Model Dues Rates

Introductory $80 N/A The Member membership dues for Bulk N/A $80 professionals Membership whose department Up to $24,999 $160 $123 has an agency membership are $25,000 to $247 $189 a flat rate of $140 $49,000 Larger agencies $50,000 to $277 $209 would pay $140 $74,999 each for the first 10 memberships, $75,000 and $299 $233 and $100 for any over member thereafter. The membership dues for professionals whose department has no agency membership are a flat rate of $280.

Contributing Membership Category One membership structure consideration was a premier model, similar to the National Recreation and Park Association’s recently revised membership structure. The conclusion was that there are associated costs with each membership and the Association’s current human and financial resources wouldn’t fully be able to support an exponential growth that may result with a premier membership structure. The review committee also explored ways to encourage additional employees of parks and recreation departments and how they could benefit by becoming members in the Association. The discussion considered employees already within departments that aren’t current members, and how MRPA may provide training opportunities for these staff members. A new contributing membership category has now been added. Contributing members would pay an annual rate of $25. These members would receive MRPA communications and training opportunities, but would not have voting rights.

Possible contributing members could include, but are not limited to positions within the following areas: front desk and customer service staff, ice arena attendants, lead instructor staff, lifeguards, maintenance staff, part-time positions, and recent college graduates who have yet to secure a full-time job. With this new category, MRPA staff will develop new educational opportunities for this area in 2018 and as we move forward.

Corporate Membership Dues The goals for reviewing the corporate membership dues structure were: (a) to provide membership benefits that offered vendors additional professional connections which would encourage increased involvement; and (b) to grow overall corporate membership, allowing MRPA an enhanced revenue stream that, in turn, would provide affordable programs and services for all members. MRPA annually averages between 50 and 55 total corporate members within three membership levels: gold, silver, and bronze. The committee reviewed the numbers of corporate memberships for 2016, which were at that time a combination of two gold, 29 silver, and 24 bronze memberships. The committee believes a one-tier structure will provide corporate members with valuable benefits, while simplifying the system. The new corporate membership structure includes one membership option, a flat rate of $550.

Current Model Based on Population

Current Dues Rates


$1,075 Silver $575 Bronze $375

New Model Dues Rates All companies pay a flat dues rate of $550.

Committee members called a sampling of silver and bronze corporate members to discuss how the new structure may impact their membership. All corporate members contacted supported the new model. The new corporate membership dues rate will be $550 in 2018, and $560 in 2019. MRPA believes the new dues structure simplifies membership options, encourages involvement, and provides potential membership and financial growth for the Association. Membership renewals will be sent in the next few weeks, and will outline each agency’s membership dues according to the revised structure. Please contact Michelle Snider at 763.571.1305 x100 with any questions. MRPA is grateful for a solid membership which has worked to propel the Association forward over the last 80 years through educational trainings, recreation offerings, and legislative efforts. We look forward to serving you in the many years to come.

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Fall 2017 • MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks 11

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By Bethani Gerhard, Minnesota Recreation and Park Association

Each year, MRPA recognizes agencies or organizations in Minnesota for outstanding achievements. There were 26 awards given based on scoring criteria, the most MRPA has ever granted. The following are the recipients of the MRPA Awards of Excellence for projects completed in 2016.


The 20-Year Neighborhood Park Plan Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

The Minneapolis neighborhood parks have a greater need for maintenance, repairs and replacements; yet years of underfunding have left these beloved spaces in desperate need of repair. The 20Year Neighborhood Park Plan (NPP20) is the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s (MPRB) response. It was developed not just to allow MPRB to catch up on a backlog of maintenance, rehabilitation and replacement work, but also to address racial and economic equity in park funding for capital investments. A historic agreement between MPRB and the City of Minneapolis, NPP20 was approved as an ordinance in 2016 to accomplish the goal of revitalizing the city’s 160 neighborhood parks for current and future generations of park users. NPP20 protects current levels of MPRB funding received from city and state sources and provides an additional $11 million annually for 20 years, with those funds dedicated to three areas: park maintenance, rehabilitation and capital investments.

1 12 MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks •

2 GIS Management – Plymouth Parks and Recreation With the growth of the Plymouth park system, GIS Management has become huge priority. From 2000 to 2016, the city park system increased in size from 31 parks with 1,023 acres to 75 parks with 1,671.88 acres. In addition, the trail system increased from 75 miles of trails to 166.66 miles of trail, sidewalk, greenway, and on-road bike.


A City GIS Coordinator was hired in 2012, while this assisted the department it was not enough to fulfill the growing needs of parks and recreation. To assist with the demand and importance of managing assets, the parks and recreation initiated a new organizational plan to hire a project coordinator that could take on the GIS Management for the department. GIS Management touches all aspects of parks and forestry, and provides assistance to recreation and facilities as well. The department now utilizes GIS for everything from tracking park acreage to managing contracts. GIS assists staff in making informed decisions with more accurate geographical data.



Spotted in Plymouth Parks – Plymouth Parks and Recreation

Adult Sports Virtual Managers Meeting – Roseville Parks and Recreation


Spotted in Plymouth Parks is a social media campaign created with the goal to increase awareness, usage and overall excitement about the parks, trails and facilities maintained by the Plymouth Parks and Recreation department. Advances to our system are occurring daily and we were looking for an innovative avenue to educate our community members of the many improvement, upgrades and new park additions. Spotted in Plymouth Parks aims to highlight a different park or park amenity throughout the summer, utilizing social media and its expanding reach. Once we locate an individual using the park, we approach them and engage in conversation. With their permission, we photograph them and post to our social media accounts. Those ‘spotted’ get a prize – options in 2016 included: collapsible water bowl for pets, LED lighted shoe clip and buds. Spotted in Plymouth Parks has also provided staff an opportunity to engage directly with park users.

Roseville Parks and Recreation has traditionally offered manager meetings for participants in adult sports leagues. The meetings are an important opportunity for the league director to convey important information to team managers including: league operations, rule highlights, conduct expectations and any additional information that may be helpful. As the years have passed, attendance continued to dwindle. After much consideration, a virtual league managers meeting allowed managers to receive the information in their own home. The meeting is a 17-minute video that managers can access from any computer or mobile device that prepares managers tor their upcoming season with a discussion of league organization, communication, rules and other “hot topics” that will come into play. This innovation has provided a solution to a programming problem, and has directly improved the quality of the Roseville Parks and Recreation programs.


Design and Construction Community Engagement Plan – Saint Paul Parks and Recreation

The Community Engagement Strategy was developed by the parks and recreation design and construction staff in response to the need for a more efficient process garnering input on design of public spaces. The common result of the outdated design process was the attendance and contribution of an overwhelmingly heterogeneous sample of the community, rather than a representative sampling of the demographics of any given park’s service area.

3 Spotted in Plymouth Parks aims to highlight a different park or park amenity throughout the summer, utilizing social media and its expanding reach.

In 2014/15, design staff decided to try a new approach to getting community participation and ideas. Called a Pop-Up Design Camp at the time, the goal was to capture ideas thought activities at the park, rather than relying on the traditional public meeting approach. Over 75 people participated during the three workshops, representing 7-10 times the number of people at a design meeting. As a result, the design and construction team used what they learned and developed a community engagement strategy. Completed in 2016, the planning worksheet helps project managers identify the best practices and input for each design and construction project.


Fall 2017 • MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks 13




Eden Prairie Community Center Aquatics/Fitness Expansion – Eden Prairie Parks and Recreation

What had once been a single pool for the aquatics center with one pool temperature attempting to meet all needs, and an out of compliance diving well, is now a state of the art aquatics facility that can serve all users within the community. There are now five different bodies of water: an eight-lane competition pool, a diving well pool, a recreational pool, a plunge pool for the waterslide, and a spa. The varying temperatures provide multiple activities a comfortable experience. The project was completed in two separate phases. Phase I included the completion of the competition pool, dive pool, wet locker rooms, dryland training room, an expanded fitness floor and the addition of a third fitness studio. Swim meets as well as events like log rolling, Swim Jitzu scuba, and triathlons are now offered. Phase II included the construction for a waterslide, spa, zerodepth entry pool, viewing area and meeting room.


Springbrook Nature Center – Fridley Parks and Recreation

The existing 5,000 sq/ft. Springbrook Nature Center was incorporated as part of a stunning remodel and expansion project to create the new 13,000 sq/ft. facility. The new interpretive center features four classrooms with vistas into nature, exciting hands-on exhibits, wonderful visitor amenities and sustainable features such as geothermal heating and cooling, bird-safe glass, raingardens, green roof and permeable pavement. The new interpretive center has allowed the nature center to increase capacity to serve the community through public programs, school field trips, community rental space and increased trail access. The remaining components of the Sanctuary Protection and Renewal Into The Next Generation (S.P.R.I.N.G.) project; a nature-based play area, community amphitheater and picnic pavilion are 90% funded and are planned for construction in 2017 and 2018.

14 MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks •

Riverfront Renaissance Improvements – Hastings Parks and Recreation, Bolton & Menk

The City of Hastings expressed a desire to revitalize and reconnect their downtown to the Mississippi River. Bolton & Menk collaborated with the City to develop a three-phase Downtown Riverfront Renaissance project. Phases one and three focused primarily on the downtown infrastructure, while the second phase focused on Levee Park, a prominent park straddling the Mississippi River and downtown business district. Through collaboration with City staff, stakeholder groups, and the general public, a Park Master Plan was developed. The Master Plan included a limestone amphitheater, musical playground, ice skating rink, branding and signage, enhancement of the Mississippi River Trail, and a veteran’s memorial. Through these efforts, the City now has a uniquely stunning park that links the downtown to the Mississippi River.




The Solid Waste Handling


Madison’s Place Playground – Woodbury Parks and Recreation

Madison’s Place is a completely handicapped accessible inclusive playground where children of all abilities can play together sideby-side to foster friendships, understanding and acceptance. Each facet of the 16,000-square-foot structure, located on the perimeter of the Bielenberg Sports Center, has been designed to optimize access to each sun-shade covered play deck, swings and sensory play equipment. The structure includes multiple therapeutic play pieces researched and supported by the Star Center.

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Fundraising for the $830,000 total cost of the playground, took six years. The construction of the playground included 41,456-pounds of equipment and 638-cubic-feet of concrete, and the community build included 1,000 volunteer hours. The playground was completed and opened June 4, 2016 with a grand opening celebration.



Jaycee Park Pavilion – Owatonna Parks and Recreation

The previous pavilion at Jaycee Park in Owatonna was outdated, deteriorating, and small. The bathroom facilities were not ADA compliant and were deteriorating to the point of locking them. An upgrade was important since it gets heavily used during baseball season and for park and recreation programs, as well as other community rentals. The pavilion was constructed solely by parks and recreation staff members. The project was lucky to have a large donation from the community. Kwik Trip closed a site and built a new store on a larger footprint across the street. A donation designated to parks and recreation came from the proceeds from the sale. This generous donation funded the materials for the main pavilion and bathroom fixture. Funding for materials for the concession stand came from the Husky Bullpen Club. The Jaycees and Straight River Women of Today donated funds for the purchase of picnic tables.

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Tuj Lub Courts – Saint Paul Parks and Recreation

Tuj Lub is a traditional Hmong sport where two teams compete by throwing spinning tops at eight successive stages spaced over a seventy-foot long court. Without permanent facilities, players bring their own carpet remnants and 2’ x 2’ squares of conveyor belt, measure out, and set up a temporary court in an open, flat area of a park each time they play the game. The Duluth and Case Recreation Center, in the heart of the Hmong community, was selected to construct permanent Tuj Lub courts. The 6’ x 15’ concrete pad is topped with a specialized plastic athletic surface for the running and stopping required to throw the tops. The throwing lane is a 5’ x 72’ concrete pad with a PVC coated conveyor belt that provides a durable surface for the impact from thrown tops. The courts were funded by Saint Paul’s Neighborhood Sales Tax Revitalization program, which provides loans and grants to capital projects that improve neighborhoods. This project has been well received by the Saint Paul community.



Rec and Roll-Log Rolling – Inver Grove Heights Parks and Recreation

Inver Grove Heights Parks and Recreation was looking for a fun, creative way to utilize their pools and reach broader demographics. Log rolling is a historic sport for modern times, and is an activity that all ages and abilities can do. The City used a grant for $2,000 from the Minnesota Recreation and Park Foundation to purchase a log roller from Key Log Rolling. The grant was a matching grant which allowed the City to train staff, offer free demos, clinics and classes in 2016. They have budgeted for 2017 programs and events, such as log roll days and a log rolling club where participants pay a fee. The Key Log is transportable. It is filled with water and it floats, spins and reacts like a traditional cedar wood log. The Key Log has been designed for beginners so it is simple to teach and train staff. Key Log was used for demo days, safety camp, childcare programs, pool parties, fitness classes and team building programs.

Nokomis-Minnesota River Regional Trail – Three Rivers Park District

The Nokomis-Minnesota River Regional Trail project created a 5.1 mile 10-foot wide paved multi-use off-road trail which connects the Cities of Minneapolis, Richfield and Bloomington. On its north end, the trail begins at Lake Nokomis Regional Park and the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway System. Along its route the trail offers connections to several local parks, Taft Lake, the Nine Mile Creek Regional Trail, the Mall of America, the Minnesota River Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Ft. Snelling State Park and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The trail had a grand opening in August of 2016. The trail is estimated to serve about 200,000 users each year. It was built entirely within the fully developed urban core and involved collaboration across nine jurisdictions: Three Rivers Park District, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Minneapolis, Richfield, Bloomington, Hennepin County, the Metropolitan Airport Commission, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service – Minnesota River National Wildlife Refuge.


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Rec On The Go – Brooklyn Center Parks and Recreation, Brooklyn Park Recreation and Parks

The Rec On The Go (ROTG) program uses mobile recreation vehicles to travel to 12 different sites in Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park throughout the summer to provide activities for youth ages 5-18 who have never participated, or may have barriers to participating in recreation programming and live within walking or biking distance. Programming was twice a week for 90-minutes at each location. Three Rivers Park District brought outdoor programming to some of the sites. Partners in Nutrition provided food at 10 sites. The Brooklyn Bridge Alliance for Youth, on behalf of Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center, submitted a Hennepin County Youth Sports grant proposal for a mobile recreation program. The two cities will provide in-kind funds to support each vehicle in being entered into the fleet of vehicles for each respective city and have committed to shifting programming and staff time allocation over the next two years to ensure sustainability.

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Kids Race Series – Woodbury Parks and Recreation

Woodbury Parks and Recreation’s Kids Race Series, geared toward youth ages 6-12, was a 2016 summer race series in partnership with the City of Cottage Grove. The race series was funded by the registration fee of $25 per participant. At the end of the series, all expenses and revenues were totaled, resulting in $8,000 total income split between the two cities. The series consisted of three races where youth were able to run in one, two, or all three. Kids Mud Run: Challenge Accepted took place on June 4 in Cottage Grove. Kids climbed, crawled and ran through a muddy three-fourth of a mile obstacle course of hay bales, cargo nets, tarps, balance beams, mud pits and more. Woodbury held a duathlon on July 2 titled the Kids Duathlon: Bike it. Run it. Du it! Participants biked a two-mile loop and ran one-mile on the trails. During the evening of September 17 in Woodbury took place titled Kids Glo Run: Light it up! Kids received a neon shirt that glowed. Glow sticks and neon signs guided their one-mile route.

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Fall 2017 • MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks 17




Bark in the Park – Plymouth Parks and Recreation

Bark in the Park was a free community-wide event targeted towards people and their four-legged companions held outdoors at the Hilde Performance Center. Attendees were able to stroll through 20 vendor booths related to canine services like veterinarians, rescue agencies, pet supply stores, grooming services and day care. Event visitors were able to connect with local companies and non-profits and many offered free giveaways and coupons. This was the first year hosting the event and it was held on May 21, 2016. Bark in the Park was given a line item in the recreation budget of $1,500 for expenses. With more vendors attending the event than expected, the event ended up exceeding the revenue goal and made $1,482.50. Plymouth Parks and Recreation received several emails expressing appreciation and excitement for next year’s event.

Safe Summer Nights – Saint Paul Parks and Recreation


The Safe Summer Nights initiative began in 2014 when a group of local business owners and volunteers approached the Saint Paul Police Department and the Saint Paul Parks and Recreation to host community events every Thursday that brought neighborhood families and police officers together, offering free meals to the community and building effective relationships. Additionally, the events allowed youth to explore various police vehicles, jump in the jump castle, and utilize the mobile climbing wall.


Safe Summer Nights has helped bridge the gap between the police and the people they serve, while Saint Paul Parks and Recreation has provided park space and equipment to be able run successful events throughout the summer. In 2016, Saint Paul hosted 14 Safe Summer Nights and served over 29,000 meals. All the food was donated by the Safe Summer Nights organization, who also provided all the necessary volunteer support for the events.

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SPONSORSHIP AND PARTNERSHIPS Anoka County/University of Minnesota Design and Build Collaboration – Anoka County Parks and Recreation


In late 2015, Anoka County Parks and Recreation entered into a research development agreement with the University of Minnesota, School of Architecture, for a unique design/ build partnership for the development of “learning kiosks” at Heritage Lab/YMCA Camp Heritage site located in Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Park Reserve. Funding was achieved through a $60,000 Regional Park and Trail Legacy Grant, coupled with donations of $20,000 each from Connexus Energy and the YMCA of the Greater Win Cities, for a total budget of $100,000. This was a unique project combining the expertise and design talents of academia, with the needs of County government to invest in the development of infrastructure to better serve the needs of the public.


Paul Bunyan Inclusive Playground Bemidji Parks and Recreation

The Paul Bunyan Inclusive Playground opened in the fall of 2016 in the City of Bemidji. In partnership with Shane’s Inspiration and the Bemidji Rotary Club, the City of Bemidji, worked to design, garner support, and fundraise for an allinclusive playground. The playground was about $440,000 – most of which was funded by local foundations and organizations, as well as $85,000 from the City of Bemidji and $30,000 from Beltrami County. The Rotary Club pledged to raise $100,000 internally through club members and special events. The Neilson Foundation also contributed $100,000 and the First National Bank Foundation donated $10,000. There were many individual donations, including one larger anonymous donation of $25,000. This playground is the first of its kind in Bemidji and the largest of its kind in northern Minnesota.


Hermann Heights Inclusive Playground – New Ulm Parks and Recreation

Hermann Heights Park, southern Minnesota’s first inclusive playground, is located in the center of New Ulm. Allina Health and the New Ulm Medical Center Foundation approached the park and recreation department with a proposal to partner with the City on a project that would fit into their Courage Kenny Rehabilitation fundraising project, focusing on an outlet for youth and adults to continue rehabilitation outside of the walls of the New Ulm Medical Center. The two groups met to discuss a project the two entities could join forces. In speaking to various playground vendors, it was determined that to do this project, the anticipated cost would be approximately $250,000. The department requested an additional $125,000 out of their fund balance, which the City Council unanimously approved. Allina Health and the New Ulm Medical Center Foundation made a significant commitment of up to $50,000 for this project.




Starlight Cinema Movie Series – Woodbury Parks and Recreation

The Starlight Cinema movie series of 2016 was a five-movie summer series which included a free outdoor movie, shown on a huge two-story inflatable screen and two hours of red carpet activities ahead of time for the community to enjoy. The movie series was completely funded with sponsorship dollars and/or in-kind donations with over 16 local businesses providing financial contributions and another six local businesses providing in-kinds donations towards the Starlight Cinema movies series. This along with partnerships between Twilight (movies screen rental) and Swank (movie rental), allowed for the movies series to be completely funded at no fee to participants. In-kind donations consisted of water and soda for participants, red carpet games and activities, marketing flyers, emcee, face painter, balloon artist and craft activities.


Fall 2017 • MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks 19

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El Rio Vista Fields – Saint Paul Parks and Recreation

The fields at El Rio Vista Recreation Center were improved with the help of the partnership with Neighborhood House and the Westside Boosters. The old fields had compacted soils, poor drainage, and exposed manhole covers which created hazards for the youth to play on. The impressive improvements include a natural turf youth baseball field and an artificial turf multipurpose athletic field, which includes infiltration basins, and a turf drainage system. The funding for the improvements were from the following: Minnesota Twins Community Fund - $300,000, NFL Foundation Grassroots Program - $200,000, Ramsey County Soccer Partners - $50,000, Local Initiative Support Corporation and ESPN - $25,000, and City Capital Improvement Bonds - $1,510,000. The MLB Twins All-Star youth baseball field was developed as Phase I, and was completed in July 2014. The multi-purposed athletic field developed as Phase II, was completed in the fall of 2016.


Muslim Female Swim Nights – Saint Paul Parks and Recreation

The culturally appropriate Muslim women and girls swim program was developed for Muslim women to receive access to a private space to swim and increase physical activity. Due to religion and cultural restrictions, Muslim women and girls cannot swim in public places. Therefore, the program is intended to address the disparities: costs, religion and cultural barriers. The program takes place twice a month, for two hours each session, and includes swimming lessons, exclusively staffed by female lifeguards and police officers who attend to build community connections. There were four principle organizations that have made this program possible: Saint Paul Police, Saint Paul Parks and Recreation, Saint Paul Ramsey County Public Health, and the Minnesota Da’wah Institute. There have been community leaders that have also taken a leadership role. This is a really a model of how several agencies can work together to meet a community need.

The culturally appropriate Muslim women and girls swim program is intended to address disparities:costs, religion and cultural barriers.

20 MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks •


Palace Community Center – Saint Paul Parks and Recreation

The Palace Community Center has long been a valuable asset. Since 1909, there have been a series of structures built at this location to benefit the changing needs of the neighborhood. It became clear that the Palace Recreation Center was no longer meeting the neighborhood needs or the high City standards. The much needed expansion and makeover now has a glass façade welcoming visitors, with sustainable practices in both its design and the construction. The existing gym was preserved during demolition and refurbished as part of the project. This reduced construction waste and new building materials. This project was funded with Capital Improvement Bonds sold by the City. The majority of the funding occurred over three years: 2014, 2015, and 2016. The funding provided coincide with the project schedule for design, building construction, and site completion. The total project budget was $5,603,787.


Earth Day Neighborhood Park Clean Up – Blaine Parks and Recreation

Blaine Parks and Recreation began an initiative in the spring of 2016 to empower residents to clean-up as many city parks as possible. The program was titled: Earth Day Neighborhood Park Clean-up. Interested residents stepped forward to lead a clean-up at their local park. Blaine Parks and Recreation provided support through supplies and marketing and the neighborhood leader provided organization and implementation on the day of. The supply cost of the initiative was $800. There were no staff costs beyond the normal work hours of the recreation manager and public works staff. The goal was to reach 10 cleanups, but they reached 23, gathering 170 bags of garbage, 120 bags of yard waste, two tires, and using three tons of mulch. Overall, there were 458 volunteers providing 1,374 hours of service. The monetary equivalent of these hours for a full-time maintenance staff is approximately $35,000.



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Fall 2017 • MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks 21



Fun for All Inclusive Playground – Shakopee Parks and Recreation

The City of Shakopee installed a new allinclusive playground called “Fun for All Playground.” The Shakopee Lions Club initiated a renovation to the playground in Shakopee’s Lions Park, which is the City’s most highly used park. The playground was one of the oldest playgrounds in the city and was scheduled for an update in the park asset plan. The city had set aside $150,000 for the replacement.

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A committee of community members and professionals was formed to develop an all-inclusive playground for the community. The Lions Club committed $50,000 and the Shakopee Valley Lions committed $5,000 to get the project started. In addition, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community donated $50,000. The Shakopee Rotary Club added a musical area for $15,885. The task force raised the remaining amount of $142,966.76 through monetary and in-kind donations. The total cost of the playground was $413,851.76. The Shakopee Fun for All Playground was installed through a community build in October, 2016. And it was fully completed in November, 2016. There were over 100 individuals and businesses that donated to the project.

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Game, Set, a Perfect Match by Lisa Mushett, USTA Northern

Saint Paul Urban Tennis (SPUT) knows it takes a village to raise a child – or 3,000 of them. For the last 25 years, they have done just that in what can be described as the perfect match between the City of Saint Paul, Saint Paul Parks and Recreation and the tennis organization. In 1991, after already delivering tennis programming to urban youth in Minneapolis, the Northwest Tennis Patrons (now known as InnerCity Tennis) recognized the need to bring tennis to the east side of the Twin Cities, forming Saint Paul Urban Tennis. SPUT was soon hired by the City of Saint Paul to open three sites in low income housing areas where few opportunities for youth existed – Bucky Olson Courts at Central High School, El Rio Vista and Dayton’s Bluff. Here they could also focus on the African-American, Hispanic and Asian populations. During that first summer, 125 young people participated in the program. Over the years, the SPUT program continued to grow, working in conjunction with the city on its Blast summer initiative, while providing reading programs and leadership camps for youth. Also, within the last seven years the City of Saint Paul wanted to get the older generations active as well and asked SPUT to offer adult programming in the local parks. Now, SPUT services more than 3,000 youth and adults in the community on an annual basis. This unique partnership still continues to expand. Administratively, a liaison from Saint Paul Parks and Recreation is a non-voting member of SPUT’s Board of Directors, while current Saint Paul Urban Tennis Executive Director Becky Cantellano is on the Community Advisory Council

The city of Saint Paul is a national leader in the effort to improve youth program quality and opportunities for its residents.

for the Sprockets Out-of-School-Time Network commissioned by Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman which supports the quality, availability and effectiveness of programming through partner organizations. Also, the former director of Saint Paul Parks and Recreation – Bob Bierscheid - is serving on SPUT’s Facilities Committee. The organizations also work together in facility management as Saint Paul Urban Tennis operated the Griggs Recreation Center, before moving its headquarters to the larger Eastview Recreation Center on the city’s east side earlier this summer. As part of its five-year agreement, the tennis organization assumed day-to-day

management of the building and is responsible for routine repairs and maintenance. In addition, Saint Paul Urban Tennis will collaborate with the park on programming for all types, while Saint Paul Parks and Recreation will provide additional staff at the facility. Saint Paul Urban Tennis will also be adding outdoor tennis courts to the park site at Eastview and donating them back to the city, helping them to further carry out their mission of introducing youth and families to the sport of tennis and using it as a vehicle for character and leadership development. “We are thrilled to continue this strong and longstanding relationship,” Cantellano says. “Through this unique and collaborative approach, the city of Saint Paul is a national leader in the effort to improve youth program quality and opportunities for its residents. We are honored to be a part of it.”

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Great Storytelling Connects Employees to Their Work By Joseph Grenny Reprinted with permission from Harvard Business Review

I once spent a few delicious days studying Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG), a collection of high-end, casual eateries started by the famed New York restauranteur, Danny Meyer. He had recently claimed the key to his success was creating a “culture of hospitality.” I set out to discover how. One day, at his Shake Shack (now a juggernaut global chain) in Madison Square Park, an employee I’ll call Bert was dragging a bit. Bert was relatively new and hadn’t really bought into the whole hospitality thing. He was sneaking peeks at his cell phone while pretending to be busy around the outdoor dining area when his supervisor spotted him and torpedoed toward him. Most organizations have a few Berts in them. In fact, let’s be honest. Most of us are somewhat like Bert much of the time. We go through the motions, phoning it in, but engage in our work less than we are capable of. Measures of discretionary effort — the gap between what we’re giving and what we’re capable of giving — show that most of us are checked out more often than all in. The consequence is not just lower productivity; it is lower quality of life. Halfhearted effort isn’t fun. Fortunately, there is a lot a leader can do to help employees feel a deeper sense of motivation (and resultant satisfaction) in their work. And the first place to begin is with connection. Connection happens when you see past the details of a task to its human consequences.

When you feel connected to the moral purpose of your work, you behave differently. Now “moral purpose” might sound lofty but it needn’t mean saving a puppy or curing cancer; it can involve any kind of human service. And at the end of the day, all business is about service. That’s where leaders come in. The first responsibility of leaders — whether front line supervisors, middle managers, or executives — is to compensate for the inevitable alienation that complex organizations create, and provide employees with a visceral connection to the human purpose they serve. And that’s what I observed Danny Meyer’s leaders doing better than most. What would you guess the Shake Shack supervisor did with Bert? Deliver a reprimand? (“Pick up the pace, Bert!”) Lay on a guilt trip? (“The rest of the team is picking up your slack!”) Discipline? (“I’m putting you on notice!”). The supervisor did none of these. Instead, she told a story. As Bert scrutinized his phone he stood next to spattered and cluttered dining tables. Guests passed him on their way to order food. The supervisor pulled up in front of him, put her hand on his shoulder, and said in a serious and sincere tone, “Hey Bert, twenty minutes ago a young mother left her two-year-old daughter on one of these chairs while she went to the order window to buy their food. When she walked away, her daughter began sweeping her hand back and forth over the table that was smeared with catsup from one of our

24 MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks •

previous guests. Then she began licking it off her hand.” Bert cringed. Panicked, he looked at the tables to see which ones might put the next two-year-old at risk of catsup-borne disease and began wiping them down. Leaders can maintain a lively sense of connection, as the Shake Shack manager did, through storytelling. It needn’t be an elaborate ritual involving an audience gathered for a relaxed evening. It isn’t. Most storytelling is brief. It involves using concrete examples that reframe a moment by personifying human consequences. People’s feelings about their work are only partly about the work itself. They are equally, if not more so, about how they frame their work. Do they see what they’re doing as a mindless ritual? Do they see it as empty compliance? Or do they see it as sacred duty? If you change the frame you change the feeling. And nothing changes frames faster than a story. For example, in one study we did at a large healthcare provider, we examined why some employees were somewhat casual about hand hygiene while others were zealots. Hand washing in hospitals is one of the most critical factors in avoiding hospital acquired infections. While many doctors, nurses, housekeepers, and technicians were mostly attentive to this innocuous act, a handful of employees were relentlessly vigilant. It turned out this group was far more likely than their peers to have personally been infected in the past while they were a patient in a hospital—or

Research shows that once a task becomes familiar, our brains devote far less cognitive resources to it. One of the downsides of this brilliant evolutionary design is that we disconnect. had a family member who was. They were motivated because they had a personal or vicarious experience with the human consequences of a seemingly simple task, and that made them feel differently. It’s easy to go on autopilot like Bert did. Research shows that once a task becomes familiar, our brains devote far less cognitive resources to it. One of the downsides of this brilliant evolutionary design is that we disconnect. We stop seeing past our work to the people we affect. Our company, VitalSmarts, has around 120 employees. One of our regular rituals in our monthly all hands meeting is the Mission Moment. This is an opportunity for my colleagues and me to share stories about the impact our work has on our own lives or those of the people we serve. Recently, my

colleague Mary described a conflict in her neighborhood that was escalating horribly. In a moment of clarity, she offered an apology and a cucumber from her garden rather than the next volley in the pointless fusillade. The neighbor was deeply moved by the gesture, responding with gratitude, apology, and noting that some of what she said, “was an answer to a prayer he desperately needed.” I was deeply affected when Mary ended her story by saying, “None of this would have transpired the way it did had I not dug deep into the gray matter of my brain and surfaced the skills that have been my life’s work/life at work for all these years.” As I later boarded a plane for a long and familiar flight to Singapore, I found an extra spring in my step. I felt I was heading toward something worthy, not simply logging miles.

In every organization we’ve ever studied where there was a strong sense of moral motivation, the leaders were always storytellers. They understood and acted on their responsibility to overcome the inevitable alienation of routine organizational life by connecting employees with those they serve. Joseph Grenny is a four-time New York Times bestselling author, keynote speaker, and leading social scientist for business performance. His work has been translated into 28 languages, is available in 36 countries, and has generated results for 300 of the Fortune 500. He is the cofounder of VitalSmarts, an innovator in corporate training and leadership development.

Fall 2017 • MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks 25


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MRPA 50th Anniversary Interview with Pam Schmitz, Robbinsdale Parks and Recreation, 50th Anniversary Celebration Committee Chair

The MRPA Editorial Board recently suggested adding a “human interest” article to the back page of the magazine. In each issue, we will feature an article from a member that tells a parks and recreation story. MRPA formed a 50th Anniversary Celebration Committee that researched information for the 1987 Annual Conference historical display. The committee also published 50th Anniversary facts for the Keeping Up and created a 50th Anniversary video. MRPA members on the committee were Kathy Flesher, Marge Fredrickson, Flo Gordon, Randy Johnson, Margie Ostlund, Denise Ozenek, Pam Schmitz, and Dick Wilson. In addition, the 50th Anniversary Celebration Committee researched information for a MRPA book. Unfortunately, the book was never able to be printed due to MRPA staff changes, the office moving locations, and various other time constraints. But the committee put in countless hours of work researching history, gathering information from current members, and even interviewing

past MRPA presidents. The presidents selected were Clif French, Bud Korfhage, Dick Wilson, George Muenchow and Margie Ostlund. Surveys were also sent to members for their own recreation stories and MRPA experiences. The 50th Anniversary video highlighted different topics of parks and recreation during history. As stated in the video, “The Minnesota Recreation and Park Association, as we know it today, was first organized as the Minnesota Public Recreation Association. G.B. Fitzgerald started the idea and talked to people involved in the WPA Recreation Division, the Minnesota Athletic Commission and at the 1936 Governors Youth Conference.

In September 1937, at the Midwest Conference, the Minnesota Public Recreation Association was created. Membership was open to administrators, supervisors, and leaders employed by the public recreation departments of school and park boards or any other governmental agency, or the WPA and the National Youth Administration. The first president of Minnesota Public Recreation Association was Karl Raymond.” MRPA extends a warm thank you to the 50th Anniversary Celebration Committee for their hard work and dedication put into the research and development of historical details. Information is archived in the history library at the MRPA office. Thank you to Pam Schmitz with Robbinsdale Parks and Recreation for her organization of the 50th Anniversary information and to retired member, Bob Kojetin for his work on the history library. To view the 50th Anniversary video, visit

MRPA FLASHBACK Fall 2017 • MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks 27


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