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MINNESOTA Official Publication of Minnesota Recreation and Park Association

Recreation and Parks Volume 11, Issue 3 • Summer 2016

America’s First Public Natural Swimming Pool Thrives in the City of Lakes

Constructing Recreation

MRPA Partnerships:





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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, Ramsey County Chad Ubl, Winona Advertising & Design Pernsteiner Creative Group, MRPA Board of Directors President: Mary Jo Knudson, Owatonna President-Elect: Patty Anderson, Maple Grove Past President: Jay Lotthammer, Eden Prairie Secretary: Michelle Margo, Brooklyn Park Treasurer: Randy Distad, Farmington 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 Fall 2016 issue......................................... July 30 Winter 2017 issue....................... November 14 Spring 2017 Issue.......................... February 28 Summer 2017 issue................................May 13 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


Time flies when you’re having fun! I certainly don’t know of another profession that allows us to have so much fun. We may have all the typical trials and tribulations of customer service, but there is nothing better than improving the quality of life for all of our citizens and visitors! Think of the times we mumble under our breath about having to call for more volunteer coaches, but then how we feel when we see little Johnny hitting the ball off the tee and scurrying down to first base like a little bobble head. Or how frustrating it can be when a lawn mower breaks, or we’re short-staffed on the park crew, but muddling through the issue makes it worth it when you see an elderly couple sitting on the park bench enjoying the beauty and wildlife around them. Nothing beats parks and recreation in the summertime! This edition of MRPA magazine is always much anticipated as we get our first look at what the annual conference is going to offer. I know Nicole Gorman and Jen Saver have been working hard so we can Expect the Unexpected! And boy, have you ever heard a theme more fitting for our profession?! At the annual meeting, they were collecting our experiences of the unexpected. I can’t wait to see them all! We are certainly looking forward to all the conference has to offer in 2016 and we’re hearing good things are coming our way. Thank you to Nicole and Jen for stepping up to chair the conference (trust me, that’s no small task), and to the entire committee for their dedication of even more volunteer hours and hard work! This month the magazine also takes a closer look at the Did You Know? program. Not only is this a great marketing tool to spread the word of all of the good things that parks and recreation does, but it’s a great reminder for those of us “in the trenches” every day reminding us why we do what we do. Did You Know offers us the opportunity to get the facts out to the public but also have a little fun, my favorite DYK fact (relating to my work), red wine tannins contain procyanitins, and regular exercise both reduce the risk of heart disease. Do something heart healthy and fun! Sign up with your friends for Brooktree’s new Wine, Women & Golf! This caught the eye of some new golfers, and turned into a very successful new program! A little update on the work of the MRPA Board of Directors – we have been working diligently on the annual work plan, which includes several strategic plan initiatives. We are currently focusing on website updates which would include a member forum, a members’ only page, and a membership directory. We have also focused on what our core values are, how we implement them now and how we can implement them going forward, keeping in mind we want to provide the best possible services and programs for agencies and their constituents. Thinking about all the work that is being done in parks and recreation: the board of directors working together and focusing on core values, members working together to plan a great conference, and the MRPA staff continuing to provide quality resources, programs and services, we can see once again we are living the NRPA parks and recreation month slogan all year long, When our Powers Combine, We Change Lives! Here’s to finding your super power!

TABLE OF CONTENTS From the Board President............................ 3

Did You Know............................................... 12

Foundation Corner........................................ 5

Constructing Recreation............................ 14

Keeping Up..................................................6-8

MRPA Partnerships.................................18-20

MRPA in Action.............................................. 9

HiWay Federal Auto Partnership............... 20

Meet Jen Saver.............................................. 9

My Week in China........................................ 22

America’s First Public Natural Pool...... 10-11

2016 MRPA Conference......... Back Section

Summer 2016 • MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks 3

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Minnesota Recreation and Park Foundation Updates by John Stutzman, Golden Valley Parks and Recreation DID YOU KNOW…the Minnesota Recreation and Park Foundation… • Awarded Shane Wampler, a member from the City of Faribault, a $1,000 grant to help him attend the 2016 National Recreation and Park Association Conference in St. Louis, Missouri as part of our National Professional Development Grant program? Congratulations Shane and thank you to our program sponsor, Webber Recreational Design! • Will be holding a membership drawing where we will give away a complimentary registration for the Emerging Recreation Leaders Institute as well as a complimentary registration for the 2016 MRPA Conference? Watch for details throughout the summer. • Once again is a proud financial supporter of the 2016 MRPA Annual Conference providing a $6,000 sponsorship? MRPF is also looking forward to participating in the Conference Exhibit Hall, where the Foundation booth will hold the silent auction fundraiser featuring sports packages, golf packages, themed baskets and much more. We will also have the Foundation raffle featuring great prizes including airline tickets for Sun Country Airlines. • Will be awarding grants (up to $4,000 per grant) for programs and services that demonstrate innovation in the field of parks and recreation? Details regarding the 2016 MRPF New Initiative Grants will be available in August. • Is excited to help members “Boost Their Leadership Power” as a sponsor of MRPA’s Emerging Recreation Leaders Institute

(ERLI) held this fall. MRPF is thrilled to contribute $2,500 to the ERLI program and help recreation professionals hone their leadership skills to help them better serve their organizations and communities.

college special events, expo sales, and physician services operations.

• 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!

Student Scholarship Recipient: Where are they now? Kerry Phillips: 2005 Recipient In 2005, as a nontraditional student, Kerry was awarded a MRPF Student Scholarship and also began a part-time position at the Eagan Community Center as manager-onduty. Being a student and working were huge blessings and important parts of her parks and recreation journey, but they were hardly the beginning of her unique and persistent path into the field. It all started in high school when she was assigned a work study position at Lake Metroparks, a county park system in Lake County, Ohio. Immediately following her high school graduation she was hired full-time by Lake Metroparks and continued with the organization for the next six years. Kerry held multiple positions throughout her tenure there, the last being assistant manager of registration and visitor services. Over the next 18 years she held many positions in a variety of different industries including a non-profit, community

After moving to Minnesota and taking time off to spend time at home with her two children, she was inspired to follow her heart and embrace her love for parks and recreation. With the mindset that it’s never too late to go after your goals, at the age of 35, Kerry returned to college enrolling in the University of Minnesota’s recreation, parks and leisure studies program. To this day she recognizes her professor and mentor, Harvey Feldman, whose continued support gave her the encouragement to keep working toward her goal of completing college and obtaining a full-time park and recreation position. In 2007, Kerry completed her internship with Eagan’s Recreation Facility Operations Division providing her with the integral step she needed to complete her degree and achieve her goal by obtaining full-time employment as one of Eagan’s recreation supervisors. As she has for the past 10 years, Kerry continues to proudly serve the City of Eagan. She still believes, “You are never too old to follow your passions. The time passes by regardless so why not put it to good use and work toward your goals.” To ensure the continued success of our programs and initiatives, MRPF is guided by the Board of Trustees who provide direction for 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 regarding MRPA’s membership benefits, please contact MRPF President Nate Rosa at

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Summer 2016 • MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks 5

KEEPING UP Gene Hackett Retires after more than 40 years with Crystal Parks and Recreation Gene Hackett retired from her position as recreation director for the City of Crystal after 40-plus years of service to the City. “I was lucky enough to start and end my career with the City of Crystal,” says Hackett. “I attended the University of Minnesota, majoring in education when I decided to apply for a summer playground leader position. I thought it would be a good way to get experience working with children. At the end of the summer, the supervisor said that I did a really good job and should think about changing my major.” Hackett explains, “After investigating the University’s program and finding out there was a selection process, I thought there was no way I would get in.” As luck would have it, she was accepted to the program and received her degree in recreation and parks administration from the University of Minnesota. Her first full-time position was recreation supervisor for Crystal Parks and Recreation. In 1981, she was promoted to assistant director and in 1992 promoted again to director. With her career spanning 40 years and three positions, she has seen a lot of changes in the community including the development of recreational facilities and programs. The recreation program has grown to provide a wide range of activities for all ages. The Crystal Community Center provides a variety of program opportunities for the residents. In addition, the Crystal pool was renovated during her tenure as director. “The pool project was truly a grass-roots effort by our residents,” says Hackett. Crystal received several Hennepin Youth Sports grants for facility development and equipment over the past five years – all designed to enhance recreation service delivery. Hackett credits her dedicated staff to providing positive leisure experiences for the community. “Our residents have always been supportive of our department’s services,” she says. “We have an involved citizen commission and supportive city council that understands the importance of recreation programs and facilities.” Hackett has been a member of MRPA for many years and has served on numerous committees and task forces. She was awarded the 1989 MRPA Dorothea Nelson Award for outstanding service to the profession. In addition, she is a member of Women in Leisure Services (WILS) and has served as an officer at both the local chapter and national board level. In 2005, Hackett was award the Breaking Barriers Award from the National Women and Girls in Sports Foundation, recognizing her efforts to promote and advocate female participation in sports activities. Her newly found leisure time will find her fishing with her husband and hanging out at the barn riding her horse, Milton. An Alaska trip is planned for later this summer. “I’ve truly enjoyed my career with Crystal,” adds Hackett. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with a great group of people over the years.”

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Minnesota Recreation and Park Association Extends a Special Thank You to Bob Kojetin

Not only has Bob Kojetin been a member of Minnesota Recreation and Park Association since 1962, he has also dedicated countless volunteer hours throughout the years. Most recently, Kojetin has developed and maintained a MRPA historic library and a board of directors presidents display in the conference room, which was funded by Minnesota Recreation and Park Foundation and the Chris Esser Family. When MRPA reached out to the retiree members to help with memories for the MRPA 75th anniversary in 2012, Kojetin volunteered his time to research MRPA documents that were scattered in storage boxes. From that research, he organized the documents and made a MRPA historic library. He was also instrumental in researching facts for the MRPA 75th anniversary book. Kojetin still helps MRPA with historic research once a week. Since 2012, he has volunteered over 800 hours. Both the MRPA staff and the Board of Directors extend a warm thank you for his dedication and passion for helping the Association. Bob Kojetin’s Career and MRPA History After graduating from Washburn High School in 1951, Kojetin worked at Northwestern Bell Telephone Company until he was drafted into the Army on December 2, 1952. He was involved in the Korean Campaign from June 1953 to June 1954 and on December 1, 1954 was discharged with the rank of sergeant. He returned to work at Northwestern Bell while attending the University of Minnesota. He graduated from the University in 1961 with a degree in park and recreation administration. After graduation, Kojetin started working for Edina Park and Recreation as the assistant director. In 1977, he was promoted to director of parks and recreation. As a member of MRPA, Kojetin developed the athletic recreation division, and the ability level system for adult athletics to give equal competition to all players. He developed and started the first MRPA women’s slow pitch state softball tournament. Kojetin helped to form a special committee to hire a full-time paid athletic coordinator to manage athletics for MRPA. During his tenure with the MRPA athletic committee, the program grew from its inception under the supervision of one person to a committee of 25 members. He was elected first athletic chairman for MRPA in 1978, and shortly after he was elected as the first athletic chairperson for the Recreational Sports Commission. Kojetin was awarded the MRPA distinguished service award for outstanding dedication to parks and recreation in 1983, now named the Clifton E. French Distinguished Service Award. He received a 2012 MRPA presidential award for his work on the 75th anniversary celebration. MRPA is grateful for Bob Kojetin and his time and dedication to the Association.

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KEEPING UP Frank White and Living the Dream By Deb Weinreis, Minnesota Recreation and Park Association

“Living the dream” is what many retirees hope to say about retirement. For Frank White, he truly is. Frank received the Living the Dream Award on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on January 18, 2016. Frank spent 39 years working in the parks and recreation profession – 32 of those years in Richfield after working for Saint Paul Parks and Recreation. Frank is a former athlete, coach, official, and sports administrator, and the founder of Respect Sports. He currently coordinates the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) for the Minnesota Twins. Just recently, Frank can also add the titles of historian, curator, and author after the recent release of his book, “They Played for the Love of the Game” – untold stories of black baseball in Minnesota. A century before Kirby Puckett led the Minnesota Twins to World Series championships, Minnesota was home to countless talented African American baseball players, yet few of them are known to fans today. During the many decades that Major League Baseball and its affiliates imposed a strict policy of segregation, black ballplayers in

Minnesota were relegated to a haphazard array of semi-pro leagues, barnstorming clubs, and loose organizations of allblack teams – many of which are lost to history.

that time and what it was like to live and play baseball in Minnesota.

They Played for the Love of the Game recovers that history by sharing stories of African American ballplayers in Minnesota from the 1870s to the 1960s, through photos, artifacts, and spoken histories passed through the generations. Although Frank remembers watching his dad (Louis “Pud” White II) play baseball and fast-pitch softball in the 1950s at Como Park Field and Lexington Park in Saint Paul or at Sumner Field in Minneapolis, he didn’t realize until later in life, what a great catcher his dad had been. In the late 1980s, the Minnesota Historical Society had an exhibit on black baseball in Minnesota. Frank’s dad asked Frank to take him. Frank listened to the fascinating stories by players and as the years passed, he became intrigued by the history of the league and concerned more stories might get lost. Through his research and countless interviews with families and players, the book captures the perseverance and heart of their untold stories and sheds a light on what life was like for African American players during

Making sure legacies and due credit is given is something that Frank has always had a passion for. In 1996, the City of Saint Paul had dedicated what was originally known as Dunning Field, to Toni Stone Field. However, the signage was never changed. Frank took notice and worked with the City of Saint Paul to have the field rededicated with the proper signage in 2013. Toni Stone had grown up in Saint Paul’s developing African American neighborhood, known as the Rondo neighborhood (which was eventually displaced by the construction of I-94 in the 1960s). Toni made history when she became the first woman to play for the Negro Major Leagues. Frank has always found history interesting and although writing the book was one of the most difficult tasks he says he’s undertaken, his appreciation for the African Americans’ groundbreaking accomplishments has been inspiring. Frank spent many years in the park and recreation profession and believes the most important quality one can have is to listen to your customers, just as he has listened to the countless stories about these amazing players.

Nicole Gorman Receives Minnesota Association of Senior Services Outstanding Achievement Award Congratulations to Nicole Gorman for receiving the Minnesota Association of Senior Services’ 2016 Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Aging Award. Gorman is a recreation supervisor with Farmington Parks and Recreation. The Minnesota Association of Senior Services (MASS), a statewide organization, was established in 1983 to encourage professional development and the mutual exchange of ideas and concerns of persons who work with senior citizens. Each year, the Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Aging Award is presented to a member of the MASS organization honoring outstanding achievement in senior service. Criteria to be considered for the award include the following: is a current member of MASS, longevity in service to seniors (minimum five years experience), dedication to the field of aging, job related community collaborations and awareness, growth/development/ innovative and/or successful programs in the last five years, and involvement within the MASS organization. 8 MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks •

MRPA IN ACTION Summer Leadership Workshop

< Meet Jen Saver, Rental Coordinator, Eagan Parks and Recreation

There were 60 participants at the Summer Leadership Workshop on May 21. Thank you to West Saint Paul for hosting. MRPA would also like to extend a warm thank you to the committee members: Melissa Bernhard from City of Northfield, Matt Johnson from Roseville Parks and Recreation, and Ali Lukin from Lino Lakes Parks and Recreation,

Jen Saver grew up with a park directly in her backyard and participated in almost every program and sport there was to offer in Inver Grove Heights (IGH). “When I went to college, I switched my major around a few times,” Saver states. “Once I learned there was a possibility of running programs like I participated in growing up, I was hooked. I went to college at UW-La Crosse and received my degree in recreation management.”

The keynote speaker on the topic of discovering leadership was Anthony Warren. Some of the other topics covered for the morning were bullying, professionalism, nature and play, managing emergency situations, and more. The Summer Leadership Workshop is held every May for parks and recreation summer staff.

Saver worked for the YMCA while at college and the City of IGH during summer breaks. “I completed my internship with the City of New Brighton which opened my eyes to all the possibilities,” she says. “After graduation I held numerous part-time jobs including the City of IGH, City of New Brighton, City of Eagan, City of South St. Paul and Dakota County Parks.” She currently works full-time position with Eagan Parks and Recreation. “I have been slowly growing my involvement with MRPA including assisting with some conference presentations, participating in ERLI 1 and ERLI 2 and now acting as co-chair for the 2016 conference,” Saver states. “Making all of the new connections and networking with other parks and recreation professionals has been invaluable. Knowing there are so many people willing to offer their perspective or expertise makes me proud to be part of such a great organization.” Saver adds that being co-chair of the annual conference has really helped her gain a better understanding of the inner workings of MRPA and insight into the visions and goals of other members. She says, “It’s been a great experience to see so many professionals and ideas come together to form the foundation of MRPA.” 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.

Retiree & Friend Luncheon Wednesday, September 21, 2016 Lunch at 12:00 p.m. (noon); Conversations to 2:30 p.m.

Registration and Payment $15.00 x _____(# of attendees) = $_________ total payment

Three Rivers Park District Fish Lake Regional Park 14900 Bass Lake Road Maple Grove, MN 55311

Your name:________________________________________________

We hope you can join us! If you’re planning to attend, please complete the form and send to MRPA by September 16. There is a $15 per person registration fee for the luncheon. If you have any questions, contact Bethani at or 763-571-1305 x109.


Register by September 16 by mail (check payable to MRPA): MRPA Attn: Retiree Luncheon 200 Charles Street NE Fridley, MN 55432

Special dietary needs:______________________________________

Guest’s name:_____________________________________________

Telephone number:_________________________________________

__________________________________________________________ Cash or check payment may be made at the event check-in table.

Or, fax registration to: 763-571-5204

Summer 2016 • MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks 9

America’s first public natural swimming pool thrives in the City of Lakes Minneapolis’ newest public pool relies on nature instead of chemistry to clean its water

By Benjamin Johnson, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

The Webber Park Natural Swimming Pool (Webber NSP) was filled with an excited crowd of splashers, jumpers, sunbathers and swimmers when it opened for its second year on Memorial Day Weekend. The 21,000-square-foot pool does not charge an entry fee and contains a number of great features found at public pools across the country: a shallow area for small children, a jumping platform, a lap swim area and ample green space for friends, family and neighbors to spread out a towel and soak up a little sun. It’s quickly become a neighborhood mainstay for the diverse, low-income community it serves, but it’s also garnered national attention as a grand accomplishment perched at the intersection of biology, engineering, recreation and sustainability. The Webber NSP is the first public pool in North America that entirely eschews chemical treatment; instead it relies on a network of filters, robotic vacuums and an adjacent 16,000-square-foot “regeneration basin” full of aquatic plants to keep water clean and clear.

The first natural swimming pool (NSP) was built in Austria in the 1980s, and the first public NSP opened in Germany in 1998. Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) staff began researching NSPs during the community engagement process for designing a new pool at Webber Park after the old chlorinated outdoor pool closed in 2010. “The Webber Pool has a long, storied history in North Minneapolis and the community told us they wanted something eco-friendly and innovative to continue the pool’s legacy,” said MPRB Commissioner Jon Olson, who represents North Minneapolis. Shingle Creek, which runs through the Webber Park before feeding into the Mississippi River, was dammed in 1908 to create Camden Lagoon. In 1910 local philanthropists John and Mary Webber built a two-story bathhouse and public pool that used water diverted from the lagoon. Upstream pollution forced a change to chlorinated water in 1927 and the pool was relocated next to a new recreation center in 1979, where it stood until it closed 100 years after the first Webber Pool opened.

10 MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks •

How does it work? The NSP was borne out of cutting-edge science and engineering, but it relies on biological processes that predate man. Here’s how it works: 1) Gravity carries water from the pool’s overflow gutters down to an underground filtration tank that catches small particles of debris. Water drains from the tank into the regeneration basin. 2) In the regeneration basin, ultraviolet sunrays, tiny animals called zooplankton and biofilm covering the basin’s gravel bed all help reduce bacteria. 3) Thousands of aquatic vegetation planted into the gravel bed feed on excess nutrients to help limit algae growth and keep water clear. 4) A network of drain tile disperses water throughout the basin and two pumps send clean water back into the pool. 5) Pool staff cleans the biological filters daily and during off-hours three small robotic vacuums remove algae from the pool’s liner.

All 500,000 gallons of pool water complete a cycle from the pool to the regeneration basin and back to the pool every 12 hours. Daily care keeps plants healthy and prevents debris from accumulating, and when fresh water is added to offset plant uptake and evaporation, it first passes through a phosphate filter to minimize algae growth.

Expanding impact To ensure high water quality, the Webber NSP’s hours were limited in 2015 to Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons, mid-July through Labor Day weekend. Even so, the pool drew more than 9,000 people during the 22 days it was open. “It’s already one of our most popular summer attractions and we anticipate

its impact continuing to grow as we expand environmental and recreational programming, including exciting wintertime activities,” said MPRB Superintendent Jayne Miller. On June 11, 2016, pool hours were expanded to Tuesday-Sunday, 1-7 pm. During those days the pool is reserved for low-cost lap swimming and swimming lessons from 11:30 am to 1 pm. The pool will close after Labor Day weekend, but plans are in place to transition it into a year-round amenity. After the pool freezes over this winter it will be converted into a neighborhood skating rink and the pool house will become a warming house, complete with a natural gas fireplace. The pool’s innovative, unique engineering operating within full view of park users inevitably sparks scientific

curiosity, so outdoor education opportunities figure heavily into the park’s future plans. Hands-on programs centered on caring for and studying the regeneration basin and understanding aquatic habitats and their inhabitants are in development and will be in high demand once they roll out. The Webber NSP is an example of how the MPRB continues to strive for excellence in a city that is already wellknown for its expansive, well-connected network of parkland. “Minneapolis has the best park system in the country due to more than a century of farsighted planning and bold ambition, and we think it’s our duty to continue to champion those values instead of resting on our laurels,” said MPRB President Liz Wielinski.

MinneapoliS passes landmark agreement to boost neighborhood park funding City pledges additional $11 million annually to revitalize crumbling neighborhood park network By Benjamin Johnson, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

The rotting roof at Longfellow Recreation Center is held up by 2x4s. The tennis courts at Bryn Mawr Park are weed whipped on a regular basis. At Philips Park, the only public indoor pool in Minneapolis has been closed since 2010 due to its deterioration. A hard-fought, historic agreement between the City of Minneapolis and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) passed earlier this spring that will fund fixes to those parks and dozens more across the city. The 20 Year Neighborhood Park Plan guarantees an additional $11 million in annual funding to catch up on critical maintenance, rehabilitation and investments at more than 100 of Minneapolis’ neighborhood parks over the next 20 years. The funding is strictly for neighborhood parks, not regional parks. Neighborhood parks are

smaller, primarily funded by local tax dollars and predominantly serve nearby residents. Regional parks like Minneapolis Chain of Lakes, Minnehaha and Theodore Wirth serve many people from outside Minneapolis and rely on funds from public agencies with broad constituencies.

and crime statistics. Park characteristics include park asset data like asset condition and asset lifespan.

After the 20 Year Neighborhood Park Plan ordinance passed, the MPRB introduced a separate ordinance to ensure racial and economic equity factor into new investments. Specific, quantifiable criteria will be used to determine where future rehabilitation and capital project funding is spent.

The string of good news in Minneapolis continued this summer when the MPRB was named one of four finalists for the National Recreation and Park Association Gold Medal Award. Founded in 1965, the Gold Medal Awards program honors communities in the U.S. that demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation.

The criteria fall in two categories: community characteristics and park characteristics. Community characteristics include neighborhood demographic data such as identified racially concentrated areas of poverty, population density, youth population

For more information on the 20 Year Neighborhood Park Plan and the accompanying racial and economic equity measures please visit

The MPRB is a finalist in the Class 1 category (population of more than 250,000). View a video explaining both the 20 Year Neighborhood Park Plan and the MPRB’s Gold Medal application at

Summer 2016 • MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks 11

Did You Know…

Owatonna Parks and Recreation Owatonna Parks and Recreation purchased the DYK toolkit and has placed the logo and facts into their brochures and flyers. There are 10 DYK logos and facts placed throughout their summer brochure.

O wat onna,



Enriching Life. Inspiring C ommunit y.


The skills learned and developed as a lifeguard hold great value, not only for careers in aquatics or recreation, but for any career. Come be a part of our team and develop skills you can use for a lifetime!


Sign up today! The Did You Know (DYK) program can assist your park and recreation agency with relaying your facts to your community. The DYK program takes facts that are already out there and turns them into meaningful statements that our community can relate to. The community then becomes our champions. The program can be used as much or as little as your agency wants to use it.


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.

KN W Enriching Life. Inspiring C ommunit y.

Current “Did You Know” Participating Agencies • Albert Lea

• Burnsville

• Elk River

• St. Louis Park

• Carver County

• Faribault

• Inver Grove Heights

• New Ulm

• Austin

• Owatonna

• Shakopee

• Prior Lake

• Becker

• Eagan

• Farmington

• LeSueur

• Bemidji

• Eden Prairie

• Fridley

• Minnetonka

• Rochester

• South Saint Paul

• Brooklyn Park

• Edina

• Hutchinson

• New Brighton

• Rogers

• Willmar

2016 MRPA Events Calendar Pickleball Clinic July 9, 2016 Shoreview Pickleball Tournament July 14, 2016 Maple Grove Sand Volleyball Tournament July 17, 2016 Maple Grove MRPA/MN-USSSA Tournament July 23 - 24, 2016 Edina Sand Volleyball Tournament July 21, 2016 Shoreview MRPA/MN-USSSA State Tournament July 30 - 31, 2016 Burnsville, Champlin & Oakdale

MRPA/MN-USSSA State Tournament August 6 - 7, 2016 Burnsville & Champlin Minnesota Twins Parks and Recreation Day August 11, 2016 Target Field, Minneapolis MRPA/MN-USSSA State Tournament August 13 - 14, 2016 Brooklyn Park, Duluth, & Edina MRPA/MN-USSSA State Tournament August 20 - 21, 2016 Blaine Minnesota Twins Parks and Recreation Day August 25, 2016 Target Field, Minneapolis

12 MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks •

U.S. Bank Stadium Tour August 26, 2016 Minneapolis Sand Volleyball Tournament August 27, 2016 Woodbury MRPA/MN-USSSA National Tournament August 27 - 28, 2016 Burnsville MRPA/MN-USSSA Northstar World Warm-Up Senior Tournament September 10 - 11, 2016 Burnsville Emerging Recreation Leaders Institute (ERLI) Meets six times, various locations September 13 & 27; October 11; November 15 & 29; December 13

Facility Tour September 16, 2016 Marketing Workshop September 23, 2016 Plymouth MRPA/MN-USSSA Fall State Tournament October 1 - 2, 2016 Burnsville MRPA/MN-USSSA Fall State Tournament October 8 - 9, 2016 Edina & Woodbury MRPA Annual Conference and Exhibit Hall 2016 October 24 - 27, 2016 Eagan

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Summer 2016 â&#x20AC;˘ MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks 13

PROJECT: Rochester Recreation/Senior Center Project By Dale McCamish, Rochester Parks and Recreation

In 2012, the City of Rochesterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s half-cent sales tax was due to expire. A committee was formed to take the extension of the tax to a vote. The committee asked for proposals for projects to be constructed with these funds. The parks and recreation department joined forces with the Rochester Senior Center and made the following proposal for a Regional Recreation/Senior Center. This project will renovate the recreation center on North Broadway and include an expansion to house a new senior center. The new senior center will replace the outdated center located in downtown Rochester. This new center will provide services and an activity/education center with expanded programs to meet the needs of our increasing senior population. Exercise and fitness programs will be offered by utilizing the facilities of the recreation center. The improved community center will also be a shared space; available to the community at times when not used by seniors. Improvements to the entrances, locker rooms, swimming pool, and skating rinks will also be made to the 40-year-old recreation center. The Sales Tax Extension Committee received over 50 projects from which to choose. They selected 10 projects to be funded and the recreation/senior center (RCSC) project was the second highest ranked project to receive funding. In November 2012, the citizens of Rochester voted and passed the sales tax extension with 65% voting yes. The good news was the vote passed and the RCSC was on the list to be constructed, but the bad news was the original project was

14 MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks â&#x20AC;˘

estimated to cost $33 million and it received $20 million of the $140 million that was approved. From that, it was determined that $8 million should be used for recreation center improvements and $12 million for the senior center addition. In the summer of 2013, a committee was formed of parks and recreation and senior center staff to start the design and development process. Various facilities throughout the state were toured to borrow their concepts and ideas. Then we contracted with an architectural firm and started the formal design process. From the beginning we were told that the project was underfunded and that our dream facility would need to be downsized. The senior center addition was going to be constructed on an old burn dump site. After the first two design concepts came back way over budget, it was determined that additional funds were needed. The city council agreed to contribute an additional $2.3 million to the project. In April of 2015, the project was put out for construction bids. Three bids were received with the one selected bid being $2.7 million over our construction budget and the other two bids being $2 million higher than that. Over the next month, the team value engineered $1.7 million out of the project leaving the project $1 million short in funding. The City Council awarded the contract and informed us to come back at a later date once we got further into construction if additional funds were needed.

The project consisted of two major projects, the recreation center additions and remodel and construction of a senior center. Here is what each project consisted of: The Rochester Recreation Center had two major additions. The first being a new, two-level front addition. The upper level consists of a new entrance lobby, offices for staff, a concession stand with seating space, and restrooms. On the lower level, four more hockey locker rooms were added, the size of the junior hockey team locker room was doubled, and the Figure Skating Club received new boys, girls and coaches locker rooms. The second addition was to add a 25-yard, four-lane warm water pool to be used for water aerobics, lessons, lap swim, and as a therapy pool. We updated pool locker rooms and put in a new gym floor surface. The biggest remodel was the 50-meter pool. A total renovation included a new filtration system, plumbing, shell and gutter system, diving stands and platform, and two movable bulkheads.

The new senior center, which will be called “125 Live” once the facility opens, consists of 54,000 square feet of the following: fitness area, wellness studio, locker rooms, wet and dry craft rooms, computer lab, social worker rooms, billiards room, café, lobby, office space, classrooms, lounge, and library space. This facility will be attached to the recreation center with the seniors having use of the pools and gym and the recreation center having use of the 125 Live facility. Construction started in May 2016. Within one month, we ran into two major problems. The first being the removal of burn material in the old dump site. Our plan going in was to rebury it on site and not haul any offsite. What we found was the dump site was much larger than anticipated and the material contained asbestos. In the end, we ended up hauling over 4,500 cubic yards off-site. The trucking and handling of material, along with the landfill charge, were extremely costly. The second problem was with the recreation center that was constructed

in 1975. It had not been constructed to the standards anticipated and some of the floors and walls had to be replaced. All of this cost valuable time and money that had not been planned. As a result, we were back to the city council asking for additional funds. We received an additional $1.7 million from the City bringing their total contribution to $24 million. We also had $1 million in private funds bringing the total amount of $25 million for the project. This does not include the $2.3 million that the senior center is fundraising for to be used for all of their fixtures, furnishings, and equipment they will need to operate their side of the facility. Since that time, construction has progressed fairly well. We were able to get the project back on schedule. If all goes well, we will have a grand opening this fall. This will be a great project for our community and for me, it will be a relief to have construction behind us all.

PROJECT: Spingbrook Interpretive Center, Fridley By Bethani Gerhard , Minnesota Recreation and Park Association

The City of Fridley has made vast improvements to Springbrook Nature Center. Approximately 10 years ago, a group of volunteers and City staff created a vision to revitalize the Springbrook Nature Center to allow for new programming, as well as create a space to host weddings and special events. The interpretive center grand opening is scheduled for July 30, 2016. The new 13,000-square-foot interpretive center and banquet hall has four classrooms with observation windows and doors leading outdoors to the trails. The banquet room has 18-foot windows looking out at the prairie – a perfect setting for weddings, reunions, business retreats, birthday parties and more. The lounge is complete with a fireplace, comfy seating, and nature views. The new interpretive center exhibits will allow visitors to discover ways to connect with the natural environment including live animals, a crawl-through prairie soil exhibit featuring oversized insects and a tree with interactive components. There

also is an interactive touchscreen kiosk with information on the 1986 tornado. A community amphitheater and nature-based play space is anticipated to open in the summer of 2017. It will be able to host events and programs, plus provide plenty of room for weddings or concerts. The nature-based play area will allow children to climb, splash, dig and explore. A hand pump will provide just enough water to form a kidsized river. Larger play parts will allow for climbing, jumping and building in the natural setting of trees and trails. The Springbrook Nature Center Foundation, a non-profit group of

volunteers passionate about preserving the natural environment and education the community, worked with the City to create a vision, find funding and make a plan for the new Springbrook Nature Center. The Sanctuary Protection and Renewal Into the Next Generation (SPRING) project has been a community partnership from the very beginning.

Summer 2016 • MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks 15

but grants from the Hennepin County Youth Sports Program, the Minnesota Twins Community Fund and the City of Champlin Utility Fund also helped pay for the park renovation. Civic organizations and park user groups, such as the Champlin Dayton Athletic Association, the Champlin Lions Club, and the Champlin Rebels Soccer Club also made significant contributions to the renovation project.

PROJECT: Clyde Andrews Park, Champlin By Bethani Gerhard, Minnesota Recreation and Park Association

Clyde Andrews Park is a popular 44-acre community park in the City of Champlin. It is a hub for community events, activities and sports with fields, a playground, tennis courts and trails. The five-year, multiphase project is now complete with the addition of a splash pad, new storage and restroom facilities, covered baseball/ softball dugouts, picnic shelters, and a new concessions building. “We’re very grateful to Willy McCoy’s restaurant for their partnership in making the concessions a reality,” says Charles Lehn, parks and facilities manager for the City of Champlin. “The partnership with Willy McCoy’s in our renovated softball complex, provides a full service amenity that has long been desired by many of our softball players.” The upgraded concession stand has allowed the city, for the first time in history, to start a concessionaire

lease program which provides a new revenue stream for the park. “We also accept buses for a small fee, and take applications for reservations for both a large picnic shelter that holds up to 100 people, and a smaller shade shelter that we rent for smaller exclusivity functions,” adds Lehn. “The reconstruction of Andrews Park has been very well received by the Champlin community,” says Lehn. “As the park system’s main activities location, it serves many aspects of the community’s recreational functions, and is meant to simultaneously accommodate many types of events.” Although the City had begun gauging interest in renovating the park sooner than 2009, the planning process to actually establish a vision for the park’s improvement began that year with the creation of a new park master plan. Funding for the $2 million project came primarily from the City of Champlin,

Not only did the master plan add new amenities, it also demonstrated creativity with the reuse of facilities. For example, a maintenance shed was upgraded into a new programming space. New parking facilities were designed as rain gardens to better treat storm water runoff and improved the ecological sustainability of the park. Lehn adds, “The splash pad is an enormous success with the youth and families from the community and all over. We are happy to offer concessions and free admission. It is open from approximately Memorial Day to Labor Day with the exception of inclement weather and the 4th of July.” In addition, participation from community members and user organizations was essential to the entire park renovation project. They not only provided ideas regarding the upgrades, they were also key supporters for the project later in the process when it was delayed due to capitol limitations. Today, the park hosts over 700 teams at its facilities, with more than 500 of those being youth teams. Park users have responded positively to the change in the park’s atmosphere.

PROJECT: Hyland Hills Ski Area Chalet By Jason McGrew-King, Three Rivers Park District

Designing for the Customer New chalet at Hyland Hills Ski Area results from a focus on how to improve the guest experience In the fall of 2015, Three Rivers Park District celebrated the grand opening of the new chalet at Hyland Hills Ski Area. While the celebration marked a beginning, it also marked the completion of an eight-year process to evaluate all operational aspects of the chalet and implement a concept that best positions Hyland Hills Ski Area for success both today and tomorrow.

The history of alpine skiing at what is now Hyland-Bush-Anderson Lakes Park Reserve in Bloomington dates back more than half a century. A private ski area operated there in the 1950s, and the Hennepin County Park Reserve District (now Three Rivers Park District) purchased the Mt. Normandale Ski Area in 1959. Fifteen years later, the park district built a ski chalet that stood on the site for 40 years. By the early 2000s, overcrowding and lack of accessibility were negatively affecting guests’ experiences. Each ski season, more than 150,000 visits are made to

16 MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks •

Hyland Hills Ski Area, and the chalet was unable to comfortably accommodate that many visitors. In 2007, the park district conducted a space study of the building that explored a range of options: remodel, addition and new construction. Estimated costs at that time ranged from $1.7 million to $9.2 million. Three years later, a business plan for year-round use was developed to explore ways to maximize the ski hill investment. The goal expressed at that time was to

create a youth activity destination center to include a summer ski slope, ziplining activities, biking and a mountain coaster. The business plan included an analysis of the ski slope’s carrying capacity in relation to available traffic/ parking to ensure that the chalet would not be over- or under-built. Further, this business plan supported the case that any design solution must address more than the chalet alone — it must solve traffic and circulation challenges as much as it addressed lack of building space. In 2012, the park district’s Board of Commissioners decided to focus on the winter recreational use of the site and the full replacement of the existing chalet. For a project of this magnitude, commissioners and staff recognized the need for specialized ski resort design experience, and an open request for qualifications was advertised to more than 60 firms throughout the state. Five teams were selected for interviews based on the responses received. The selected team offered collaboration between local and national firms with a high level of ski resort experience, which proved invaluable in translating current ski resort design trends (which tend toward huge facilities) into the unique scale and customer base of Hyland Hills. The design team carefully re-evaluated the space study from several years earlier, including vehicle traffic patterns and analysis of ski lesson and rental plans. They also capitalized on Hyland Hills’ 30+ years of staff experience and took into account what worked well and not so well in the prior building to meet the park district’s needs and goals. The design team conducted a multi-day design workshop and public informational meeting. During the course of the workshop, the first design layouts focused on solving the most critical problem: circulation. This included circulation from parking, into and through the building, and out onto the ski hill. As the design progressed, the size and shape of the spaces changed due to budget and other factors, but the focus on circulation never wavered. In fact, the main architectural feature, the butterfly roof, is an expression of the central “spine” of the building, which aligns all interior spaces and functions and provides a clear and intuitive path through the building — from parking to guest services to rental to the slopes. In August 2012, the park district kicked-off the project with an open, informational

meeting for the public, user groups and City of Bloomington staff. Comments received ranged from requests for hill and chalet improvements to complaints about traffic and snow drift. A year later, as part of the city’s development approval process, Three Rivers conducted two formally-advertised open houses. The majority of the comments received focused on traffic and parking, particularly regarding a proposal to expand the parking lot on city land. As a result of these meetings, the parking expansion was revised to a more widelyaccepted solution. As the final step in the city’s approval process, Bloomington held a public hearing to review the project. The city received more than 35 letters, some in support of the project and many expressing concerns, especially regarding parking and traffic. The park district and Bloomington expanded their long-standing agreement to share the city’s public parking lots for ski area use in the winter. Through this new agreement, the park district is able to utilize a city-owned lot during the winter season and in exchange, a portion of Hyland Hills is dedicated for the community’s summer public recreation needs. This agreement benefits both agencies, because the land at Hyland Hills and the parking lot at Normandale Lake Park can be used on a year-round basis. The final parking and traffic solutions put in place have been well-received by the public. The project budget was approximately $15.6 million. To ensure this would not directly impact taxpayers, the Three Rivers Board of Commissioners authorized a creative funding package that included money from the ski area’s fund balance, the park district’s general undesignated fund balance, a Metropolitan Council development grant, and issuance of general obligation revenue bonds.

The previous chalet was demolished in the spring of 2014, and the project called for an approximately 16-month construction timeline. In order to maintain the customer base and relationships with stakeholders, the ski area was kept open during construction. The project was phased so the new ski patrol facility and parking lot were completed in time for the 2014-15 winter season. A modular building was purchased to use as a temporary customer service area and warming facility. Extra staff, increased marketing efforts, and food trucks on busy days kept operations running smoothly and created a festive atmosphere. The new chalet features an innovative design responsive to a unique customer base; a butterfly roof to keep snow from shedding or melting onto sidewalks and ski areas; expanded kitchen, food service and guest services areas; general seating areas that can be reconfigured for use during the winter season as well as special events; energy efficient and green building elements; and a mechanical system that adequately ventilates the rental room, keeping the odor out of the rest of the building. The new building creates an exciting experience with comfortable surroundings. By all accounts, the focus on customer service (through resolution of the circulation issues) proved tremendously successful during its first year of operations and the guest experience was greatly enhanced. Many of the previous “pinch points” are gone and traffic flows through the facility easily and intuitively. It also provides better service and access for those with physical disabilities. The new chalet was a complex, multi-year process, but the end result is one that users, elected officials, staff, and the general public have agreed exceeds expectations.

Summer 2016 • MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks 17

MRPA Partnerships: We're STRONGER TOGETHER By Bethani Gerhard, Minnesota Recreation and Park Association When two organizations with similar goals and missions come together for a common purpose, they are often stronger together. The sharing of resources and talent make partnerships a vital component for many organizations, including Minnesota Recreation and Park Association (MRPA). One important partnership is that between MRPA and the Minnesota Recreation and Park Foundation (MRPF). In 1972, the MRPF was officially established. In 1973, the Foundation was incorporated in the state of Minnesota as a 501(c)3 organization. Since its inception, the Foundation has been a supporter of MRPA and has provided funding for professional development and initiatives. “MRPF proudly supports MRPA and the entire membership. This support for MRPA’s programs and initiatives aligns with our mission to promote excellence in the profession by supporting innovation, education, and training, says Foundation President Nate Rosa, who is a Recreation Supervisor with the City of St. Louis Park. Rosa adds, “By working together, the goal is for MRPA and MRPF to offer parks and recreation professionals the tools needed to advance the profession and their careers forward. The collaboration of events and programs also allows professionals of all levels to network with each other and make valuable connections.” MRPA member and Anoka County Parks and Community Services Division Manager John VonDeLinde has served on both the MRPA Board of Directors and MRPF Board

of Trustees. Says VonDeLinde: “MRPA and MRPF have enjoyed a symbiotic relationship that is not only unique, but extremely effective to the advancement of parks and recreation services in Minnesota.” VonDeLinde also points to the long-standing relationship between the two organizations and says, “Over the past 43 years, MRPF has been a pillar of support for the profession, partnering with the MRPA on a multitude of development opportunities for students, professionals, and associates. The ability to serve our citizens has been greatly enhanced as a result.” Another MRPA member who has served on both the MRPA and MRPF governing boards is Brooklyn Park Recreation and Parks Director Jody Yungers. “As a member of both MRPA and MRPF, I have seen the benefit and the importance of the relationship between the Foundation and our professional association,” states Yungers. She continues, “The Foundation is the 501(c)3 arm of MRPA; therefore, when needed, has allowed partnering organizations and initiatives to apply for and receive grants for new initiatives within the profession.” “The Foundation has been a vital advocate for MRPA, the membership, and the parks and recreation profession in Minnesota,” states Michelle Snider, MRPA Executive Director. She adds: “MRPA is grateful for the Foundation’s historical support throughout the past four decades and beyond. Many of the MRPA educational sessions, institutes, and initiatives have been made possible

18 MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks •

due to the staunch support provided by the Foundation.” Yungers agrees, “The Foundation has been a supportive sponsor of many new initiatives, student scholarships, and keynote speakers for MRPA conferences, all with the intent to advance the professional development of MRPA members and the profession as a whole. The Foundation has been too silent in its benefit to the overall advancement of our profession in the state of Minnesota.” Minnesota Recreation and Park Foundation is one of MRPA’s longest and strongest partnerships that has resulted in many membership benefits. In addition to the Foundation, MRPA has also partnered with several agencies to provide services and programs for members. The following is a glance at current partnerships in operation.

Ignite Afterschool In October 2008, the MRPA Board of Directors authorized support of the Youth Community Connections, a collaboration designed to give all Minnesota’s afterschool stakeholders a united voice on the most pressing issues affecting afterschool. This organization came to be known as the Minnesota Afterschool Network. In 2013, a new identity was launched as Ignite Afterschool. This new identity reflected a desire to ignite the shared commitment to young people and continue to bring together afterschool allies from across the state.

Using combined resources and expertise to improve funding and provide quality afterschool and summer programming, young people throughout Minnesota all benefit. MRPA’s Deb Weinreis represents the association within this collaboration to ensure the parks and recreation industry has a voice during the decisions on how youth spend their out-of-school time. The association provides administrative support to the Ignite Afterschool strategic leadership team. The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Minnesota Department of Education, and the National League of Cities provide the funding for this initiative. The Ignite staff recently submitted a grant proposal for a three-year continuation to support Ignite Afterschool. More information is available at

Minnesota Children and Nature Connection In October 2009, the MRPA Board of Directors authorized support of the Minnesota Children and Nature Connection (MN-CNC) as an initiative of MRPA. MN-CNC is an alliance of professionals, researchers and parents engaged in a movement to connect children and families to nature. MN-CNC initiative’s aim is to promote access to nature and the natural environment, and to strengthen the link among researchers and the public, professionals and practitioners, educators and organizations dedicated to children’s health and wellbeing. MN-CNC looks to engage a diverse community of individuals, organizations, and industries by providing a forum for research, best practices, as well as a platform in which to exchange critical information and strengthen professional networks and celebrate success stories. The Association provides administrative support and is the fiscal agent for MNCNC. The two agencies have provided educational opportunities for members throughout the years. A recent highlight includes the Children and Nature Network International Conference on May 24 – 27, 2016 in Saint Paul.

Minnesota Association of Senior Services In October 2012, the MRPA Board of Directors authorized support of the Minnesota Association of Senior Services (MASS) as an affiliate of MRPA. MASS is an unincorporated association of coordinators and advocates for the senior population whose purpose is to provide a voice for seniors in local, state and national policies. MASS has been providing the exchange of ideas and concerns relative to the development of programming and training

for services to seniors since 1983. The purpose and goals of MASS are consistent with those of MRPA, and benefit both the parties involved and the people they serve. The Association provides administrative support and is the fiscal agent for MASS. The two agencies have shared speaker and session resources when coordinating educational conferences and workshops for their respective organizations.

Minnesota Twins As a long-time MRPA corporate member, the Minnesota Twins and MRPA have offered parks and recreation days for many years. But did you know that every year since 2000, MRPA has been formerly recognized on the field at the Yearly Group Organizer Appreciation Day for placing in the top 10 of group sales? This accomplishment is because of members continued support to the Minnesota Twins through both the good years, and the more challenging ones. MRPA has also provided administrative support to the Twins Community Fund.

Sports Alliance of Minnesota MRPA is a founding member of the Sports Alliance of Minnesota (SAM). SAM is a coalition of sports organizations whose mission is to provide tools for creating a positive youth sports environment. SAM specifically promotes sportsmanship and also addresses other important youth sports issues including health and safety, coaches and officials training, nutrition and the dangers of steroids and tobacco use. SAM is committed to improving sportsmanship in sports across the state. A website with a “virtual” toolkit of resources for those providing leadership in youth sports is accessible online at www.sportsalliancemn. org. Each founding member organization has the opportunity to have a representative on the Board of Directors.

Minnesota Youth Athletic Services Minnesota Youth Athletic Services (MYAS) Executive Director Dan Klinkhammer provided the opportunity for MRPA to partner with MYAS on a new program now named, Trusted Coaches (TC). The Board approved the partnership with MYAS in August 2013. The TC program package to certify youth coaches includes the following components: (a) national background check; (b) online concussion training; (c) online coaching workshop; and (d) online first aid class. A verification card with the coach’s photo is

provided upon successful completion of the four steps. TC is expert-designed and is an affordable solution that makes it easy for community sports associations, park and recreation departments and other agencies to provide the best youth sports experience possible. The total cost per coach is $35 (a $95 value if purchased separately). As the TC marketing partner, MRPA receives a $5 commission per coach for which the local department is responsible. MRPA then shares the commission with the local community (MRPA $3/Community $2). Please log on to to view the entire Trusted Coaches program. If you would like additional information regarding the Trusted Coaches Verification Program, contact Dawson Blanck at

National Girls and Women in Sports Day For the past 14 years, MRPA staff has served on the National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD) Board. The day was chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1986 to honor female athletic achievement and to recognize the importance of sports and fitness participation for all girls and women. This event typically takes place the first Wednesday of February. It also honors those individuals and organizations who have made a difference by breaking barriers for girls and women sports programs in their community. Many parks and recreation programs and individuals have been recognized at this event. To learn more and/ or to nominate someone in your agency go to

Twin Cities in Motion MRPA began a partnership with Twin Cities in Motion (TCM) in November 2014. The goal of this partnership is to promote and further grow the sport of track and field for youth in Minnesota. This program replaces the Hershey’s Track and Field program which was discontinued in 2015. Twin Cities In Motion organizes the region’s premier running events, including the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, a Top 10 U.S. Marathon with the mission of promoting healthy lifestyles through running events and community outreach. TCM contributes a portion of every race dollar to local youth and professional athletes and helps raise more than $800,000 annually with its charity partners. TCM and MRPA, having as part of their missions, to provide youth programming in a recreational setting, have come together to create a partnership designed to jointly

Summer 2016 • MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks 19

MRPA Partnerships advance their missions simultaneously. Mutual partnership objectives would include continuation of track and field events around the State of Minnesota while encouraging families to make running and exercise lifelong values and habits. This partnership is designed to provide running opportunities for children of all abilities in a competitive but fun environment that celebrates their successes and engenders enjoyment for the sport of running. TCM also provides $3,700 annually to MRPA for support of the program and state meet.

National Council on Aging In partnership with MASS, MRPA became the lead agency regarding a grant from

the National Council on Aging (NCOA) in January 2015. The MRPA Board of Directors responded favorably to MRPA serving as the lead agency for the program and grant application. The grant was awarded to a three-state area: Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Washington. This grant provided funding for MRPA, in partnership with MASS, to expand NCOA’s Aging Mastery Program® (AMP) in rural Minnesota by offering awards to 13 organizations. AMP consists of a 10-week core curriculum and ongoing engagement activities designed to help older adults residing in rural communities take key steps to improve their health, independence, and financial stability. Each state’s lead agency, including MRPA, receives $50,000 over the three-year

period to administer the grant process. Each grantee receives $12,000 in funding, plus an in-kind donation of $4,800 in program materials to implement AMP. This grant funding was designated for agencies located in rural communities with populations less than 50,000. The Minnesota grantees are as follows: Alexandria Public Schools, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Winona, Waseca Area Caregiver Services, Hastings Area Senior Center, Lake Crystal Area Recreation Center, Linwood Senior Center, Montevideo Community Education, Mower County Seniors Inc., Northfield Senior Center, Northland Foundation - Aitkin County, Northland Foundation - Lake County, Owatonna Parks and Recreation, and Rosemount/Farmington Parks and Recreation.

As MRPA joins forces with allied organizations, these partnerships often allow the offering of new or enhanced programs and services. These combined efforts often affirm we are indeed stronger together. For additional information on these partnerships, contact Deb Weinreis at 763.571.1305 x106.


PARTNERSHIP HELPS GET MRPF MEMBERS BEHIND THE WHEEL Did you know that more than a thousand individuals across Minnesota and the region financed their auto loan with Hiway Federal Credit Union in the last two years thanks to the partnership between MRPF and Hiway? Did you know that a $10 contribution was made to the MRPF for each one of these loans, totaling more than $10,000? Did you know that in future years we expect more than $10,000 in MRPF contributions annually as a result of the partnership? Did you know that on average Hiway members save well over $500 on their auto loans, with some saving more than $5,000? Did you know that Hiway is here to help everyone in the parks and recreation industry save money on loans while supporting the MRPF at the same time? Beginning in 2012, Hiway created a mutually beneficial partnership with the MRPF to better serve each organization and its members. Through the partnership, individuals looking to join Hiway can

20 MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks •

become eligible for membership by making a one-time, $10 contribution to the MRPF. These increased membership dues help the MRPF achieve its primary objective of supporting the MRPA and the parks and recreation community as a whole. As MRPA members, consider choosing Hiway as your preferred financial partner. Hiway understands you most likely have a banking relationship with one or more financial institutions already. They also believe you may have a saving or borrowing need in the near future. Work with Hiway for your next financial need and discover for yourself the value and banking experience they deliver. To learn more about Hiway, visit or call 651.291.1515 or 800.899.5626. Data gathered and compiled from Hiway Federal Credit Union and MRPF accounting and tracking files.


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Summer 2016 • MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks 21

My Week in China:

Teaching About Winter Outdoor Culture and Engaging Youth By Alex McKinney, Three Rivers Park District

As a teaching specialist in the recreation, park, and leisure studies division (RPLS) at the University of Minnesota (U of M), I recently had the opportunity to lecture in China. The University of Minnesota has a global component that creates exciting opportunities for students and staff. Globalization is an important part for the College of Education and Human Development, which the RPLS program is in. It allows students, faculty, staff, and the community to apply principles and practices of multiculturalism to advance teaching and learning. Delegations from the U of M have been travelling to China for the past six years. This year, the focus of the trip was embracing recreation in the winter. After reviewing a list of potential candidates to help round out the delegation, it was decided I would be joining Dr. Li Li Ji, director of kinesiology for the University, and Matt Poppleton, community engagement manager from REI. Our route took us to Harbin Institute of Physical Education and Shenyang Sports University in industrial northern China. Each year in China, 10 to 20 million people enter the middle class. As incomes increase, citizens purchase cars and other items that create a more sedentary lifestyle. This was clear as people would park on sidewalks, streets, where ever possible in Harbin. Also, as more citizens move into the middle class, they start thinking about their health, their childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s health, and what opportunities are available to them. These factors have put an increased pressure on China to figure out how to generate healthy lifestyles. The universities are often the catalyst to implement changes at local levels. Over the course of the week we met with faculty, administration, and students at universities to discuss Minnesota, our culture, how we embrace winter and to generate ideas to implement.

In early January our planeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wheels touched down at the airport in Harbin. After a reroute through Cleveland from a blizzard in Detroit, a day delay, and Delta managing to lose my luggage, we completed the first trip of our journey to China. Harbin is a sister city to Minneapolis. It is on the same line of latitude, 45 degrees north, exactly halfway between the equator and north pole. Although it is on the same parallel as Minneapolis, it is 20 degrees colder on average. Harbin is home to approximately five million and creates one of the largest ice festivals in the world. Taking 10,000 workers to construct, millions of people from around the world come to see it. We spent time with students in large lecture halls discussing how to engage youth in winter recreation and on successful events in the upper midwest such as the US Pond Hockey Championships, City of Lakes Loppet, and the American Birkebeiner. We then met with the president of the university and their Olympic gold medal curling team. The following day we met with faculty and toured their downhill ski area where the Olympians train. When looking at the challenges facing China, air pollution and lack of open public lands in urban areas were two stumbling blocks that need to be changed at a societal level. Similar to how we are cautious in extreme cold, being active during smog advisories can be difficult. Even two hours outside of the city you could not see the tops of the mountains due to air pollution. We talked with faculty about utilizing the resources they have, discussed the operations of private enterprises in public areas, the development of exchange programs, and how to build a culture of health around successes they already have, such as their ice festival.

22 MINNESOTA Recreation and Parks â&#x20AC;˘

After two full days we headed south to Shenyang, a city with a population of 12 million, and similar to Chicago. Shenyang Sports University is one of the more prestigious universities in China that focuses on sport. They have a number of Olympians and were a much more developed and larger university than Harbin. In Shenyang we had a formalized itinerary that focused on large group lectures to undergraduate students, small group round tables with graduate students, and meetings with faculty. Faculty was very focused on how REI operates as a business and how they could bring that type of model to China. Large events were also a focus and they wanted to know successful models for generating revenues while also creating an atmosphere that embraced healthy lifestyles. We focused on how the sponsorships work, the successes we have seen, and how REI considers expansion into new cities. In all, the experience was similar to entering and exiting a dream. We were often working with people from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. and were whisked from one lecture or round table to another. China has some of the friendliest people I have met and has a culture rooted in a rich history that goes back thousands of years with some amazing scenery. They are in a transition right now and recognize that the health of their society is extremely important. It is exciting to see how they are looking to other nations for models of success and how they will implement ideas that will work for them. They still have hurdles to overcome and barriers that need to be changed at a federal level, but their change is taking place and they are recognizing the need for it. I suspect that in the future China will move toward a model of conservation and health that has a more business focus on it than in the U.S., but I believe it is a model that will work for them.




SCHEDULE AT A GLANCE Monday, October 24 Registration Check-In.....................................12:30 – 1:30 p.m. Pre-Conference Institute................................ 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, October 25 Yoga Class..........................................................7:00 – 7:45 a.m. Registration Check-In & Breakfast................. 8:00 – 9:00 a.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks....................9:00 – 9:15 a.m. Opening Keynote Presentation.................... 9:15 – 10:15 a.m. Educational Sessions....................................10:30 – 11:45 a.m. Lunch............................................................... 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Educational Sessions.......................................1:15 – 2:30 p.m. Exhibit Hall........................................................ 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. Networking Event............................................4:30 – 6:00 p.m.

Wednesday, October 26 Cardio Plus Class..............................................7:00 – 7:45 a.m. Registration Check-In & Breakfast................. 8:00 – 8:30 a.m. Welcome.......................................................................8:30 a.m. Educational Sessions..................................... 8:45 – 10:00 a.m. Educational Sessions.................................... 10:15 – 11:30 a.m. Lunch..................................................... 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Keynote Presentation.....................................12:30 – 1:45 p.m. Educational Sessions....................................... 2:00 – 3:15 p.m. Educational Sessions....................................... 3:30 – 4:45 p.m. Off-Site Institutes.............................................2:00 – 5:00 p.m. Networking Event............................................5:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Thursday, October 27 Registration Check-In & Breakfast................. 8:00 – 8:30 a.m. Educational Sessions....................................... 8:30 – 9:45 a.m. Educational Sessions.................................... 10:00 – 11:15 a.m. Closing Keynote Presentation and Lunch............................................. 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.

Eagan Community Center 1501 Central Parkway Eagan, Minnesota


WELCOME On behalf of your conference co-chairs and committee, we are ecstatic to welcome you to the 2016 Minnesota Recreation and Park Association’s Annual Conference. Our theme of “Expect the Unexpected” lends itself perfectly to our profession where we constantly encounter the unpredictable. We are looking forward to forging new relationships, strengthening existing ties, robust learning and surprising our constituents with the unexpected. Throughout the four days there will be rich programming, unexpected happenings and an abundance of networking opportunities. The numerous workshop sessions will encompass areas that focus on community engagement, facilities, hot topics, management and parks. The exhibit hall, deemed by the committee as the Greatest Show in Eagan, will host an abundance of exhibitors showcasing their brands, products, and services all under one roof – ready and eager to discuss their capabilities and opportunities with all attendees. Our exhibit hall will also have some exciting “unexpected” moments that you won’t want to miss! The 2016 Expect the Unexpected MRPA Conference will be a catalyst for growth and opportunity for all of our members. We “expect” to see you there! Nicole Gorman, Farmington Parks and Recreation Jen Saver, Eagan Parks and Recreation 2016 MRPA Annual Conference Co-Chairs

Pre-Conference Institute

Education Sessions



Improving Outcomes Through Authentic Engagement

Lisa Tabor

Registration Check-In & Breakfast 8:00 – 9:00 a.m.

Lisa Tabor, Owner and President, CultureBrokers LLC; Loudi Rivamonte, Recreation Supervisor and Cultural Competency Consultant, City of Eagan

Welcome and Opening Remarks 9:00 – 9:15 a.m.

Opening Keynote Presentation: The Seasons of Life – Change, Attitude and Perseverance – Your Personal and Professional Development is Key

1:30 – 4:30 p.m.

Loudi Rivamonte

The formula for improving outcomes starts with having diversity, then adds culturally competent skills for effective inclusion. Lastly, use discipline to magnify those efforts. The result are better, more equitable outcomes.

This institute focuses on two fundamental factors: diversity and inclusion. We will explore how using intentional practices such as active listening/learning and mutually beneficial partnering are crucial to delivering equitable outcomes. This session will engage participants in small and large group activities. The last hour will be dedicated to conversing with local inter-culturalists who have succeeded in engaging underrepresented community members. They will help demonstrate ways of getting measurable results from your work across cultures! Two sessions during the conference will help you complete the “Diversity + Inclusion x Discipline = Equity” formula. Their two sessions are titled: Proven Principles to Secure Success in Diversity and Inclusion and Equity, and The Ultimate Proof of Great Organizational Performance. Lisa Tabor is owner of CultureBrokers® LLC. Since 2005, her company has delivered measurable outcomes on a variety of diversity, inclusion and equity projects for diverse organizations as small as a community council with two employees, and as big as the nation’s largest private provider of hospital and healthcare services. Prior to launching CultureBrokers®, Lisa held management positions in business associations, software engineer recruitment, and retail. Loudi Rivamonte has over 16 years of experience in providing culturally competent guidance in the planning and designing of community engagement processes. She also has expertise in developing and implementing customized training programs and organizational assessments in cultural competency for individuals, organizations, communities, and systems. She is co-creator of Improving Heathcare Interactions training series.

Richard Coffey 9:15 – 10:15 a.m. Our lives consist of ever-changing seasons. One season, never lasting forever. Having the right attitude is key for your continued success. Richard will share how to effectively create new standards and rituals to help you move to the next level, how to improve your professional and personal brand and understand that it’s always on display. Learn the importance of consistently increasing your skills and knowledge, how to tap into your personal power, and how to push past your fears and move through your failures. Understand that your personal development is key to both you and your agency’s success. Richard Coffey is a native of North Carolina. He is a businessman and former professional athlete. Richard served three years in the United States Army as an airborne paratrooper - a member of the first to fight last to fall 82nd Airborne. Richard is a former University of Minnesota Gopher basketball player and ex-NBA Minnesota Timberwolf. After his stint in the NBA, he continued his basketball career by playing and coaching abroad in Europe and Asia. In his professional career, Richard has started multiple businesses, worked in corporate America, and has given presentations throughout the United States. Sponsored by




TUESDAY, OCTOBER 25 Project Planning 101 Eric Carlson, Director, Inver Grove Heights Parks and Recreation; Jay Lotthammer, Director, Eden Prairie Parks and Recreation 10:30 – 11:45 a.m.

“Why, What, How!” Playground Safety and Maintenance Paul Edwardson, NRPA Instructor, Certified Playground Safety Inspector Course 10:30 – 11:45 a.m.

Capital improvements like athletic complexes, neighborhood parks, community centers, ice arenas and golf courses are all important assets of our communities. Learn the steps needed to develop a successful capital improvement project. Topics related to feasibility studies, program developments, development of plans and specifications, contracting, public bidding and financing will be explored and discussed. Through the use of project examples and photos, participants will gain a better understanding of how to plan and implement capital improvements in a public environment.

This session will discuss the “Why, What and How” we must be involved with regarding our public playgrounds. “Why” covers safety of children, the things history has taught us, the reality of risk and liability if we own and maintain public playgrounds. “What” talks about the hazards we may find on our playgrounds and what kind of risk and/or injury they may pose for our playground users. “How” deals with the steps we can and should do to ensure a comprehensive maintenance and inspection program that will provide a safe playground environment for children, and how we can reduce and limit our liability related to possible playground injuries.

Becoming a Better ME

Welcome and Lunch

Tom O’Rourke, Executive Director, Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission

Mike Maguire, Mayor, City of Eagan Dave Osberg, City Administrator, City of Eagan

10:30 – 11:45 a.m.

12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

You can’t lead others until you can effectively lead yourself. This session will help those that attend to understand and evaluate how they can be content and even happy with their position in life. The next step will be to create goals based on personal values and vision. This session is as much about personal happiness as professional happiness.

To Plow or Not to Plow, that is the Question Thomas Mercier, Research & Evaluation Coordinator, Three Rivers Park District; Danny McCullough, Regional Trails Coordinator, Three Rivers Park District 1:15 – 2:30 p.m.

Proven Principles to Secure Success in Diversity and Inclusion Lisa Tabor, Owner and President, CultureBrokers LLC; Loudi Rivamonte, Recreation Supervisor/Cultural Competency Consultant 10:30 –11:45 a.m. Explore the multiplier effect of discipline on your diversity and inclusion initiatives. The most innovative programs for engaging diverse communities, hiring and keeping diverse staff, or utilizing diverse vendors eventually collapse under the pressure of the everyday “whirlwind.” Learn proven habits that successful organizations apply to make lasting, positive change in their journeys toward better diversity and inclusion performance.

Three Rivers has culminated a three-year test program that provided plowed winter trails using different funding and staffing models. During the third year, staff collected data through short duration counts and intercept surveys to understand both the reason for and the levels of use. The pros and cons of each model and the potential implications on the users and greater community will be discussed as the various courses of action are debated and selected.

Preparing for the Unexpected, the Difficult, and the Impossible Tom O’Rourke, Executive Director, Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission

MRPA Young Professionals and Student Network

1:15 – 2:30 p.m.

John Stutzman, Recreation Supervisor, MRPA network exploration and planning committee, Golden Valley Parks and Recreation

If you stay in the parks and recreation profession long enough you will be confronted with situations where the answers and solutions to a particular problem are very difficult to determine. This session will teach those who attend how to deal professionally with the shock of difficult issues, and then develop a step-by-step approach to solving these problems.

10:30 – 11:45 a.m. This session is for young professionals and students to explore the opportunities presented by your state association. Participants will discuss ways to connect with fellow members and/or mentors, and to become involved in the association’s programs and events.


TUESDAY, OCTOBER 25 Equity: The Ultimate Proof of Great Organizational Performance Lisa Tabor, Owner and President, CultureBrokers LLC; Raintry Salk, Research Analyst, Regional Parks and Natural Resources Unit, Metropolitan Council 1:15 – 2:30 p.m. When equity is framed as a vital measure of organizational performance, as opposed to a vague but favorable idea, organizations are better able to find and apply highly effective strategies and tactics to their diversity and inclusion challenges. Learn how great performance can be generated using the CultureBrokers’ Equity Theorem, and discover how the Metropolitan Council used it to develop their Regional Parks System Equity Toolkit and Ambassador Program. This session is the culmination of the multi-session exploration of CultureBrokers’ Equity Theorem™, “Diversity + Inclusion x Discipline = Equity”, initiated at the pre-conference and continuing through the earlier DISCIPLINE workshop. Discover the benefits of using equity as a performance measurement.

Come Home to Art Julie Andersen, Recreation Supervisor, City of Eagan 1:15 – 2:30 p.m. Engage your community through the creative arts. You’ll build your own toolkit to assess and develop a sustainable arts program. Reveal strategies to define focus areas, maximize resources, and nurture valuable partnerships. Learn about working with artists, adapting to a changing demographic, and navigating through current arts trends.

Bullying Dr. Kristi Montandon, Minnesota State University, Mankato 1:15 – 2:30 p.m. Bullying is a concern among children nationwide. It can also take place at work amongst colleagues. This session will provide data results from surveying parents, kids, and staff on issues related to bullying. Based on these results, the session will suggest solutions, strategies, and resources for staff and management. There will also be case studies and audience participation that will assist in participant and staff bullying issues. It is important as we consider the ramifications of bullying that we properly prepare and educate staff on how to manage situations that emerge in our agencies.

EXHIBIT HALL Tuesday, October 25 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. • Please take time to visit the exhibit hall vendors as their contributions are integral to the conference’s success • This is your opportunity to gain new ideas related to the newest technology, products, services, equipment, and programs • Nearly 80 vendors are expected to attend • Hors d’oeuvres and refreshments will be available in the exhibit hall • Register for prizes • Networking event to follow (4:30 – 6 p.m.) MRPA presents the

Greatest Show in-Ea g a 2016 •



Millennial Values in the Workplace

Registration Check-In & Breakfast 8:00 – 8:30 a.m.

Janelle Crossfield, Senior and General Programs Manager, City of Minnetonka

Welcome 8:30 – 8:45 a.m.

8:45 – 10:00 a.m.

Surprise & Satisfy Your #1 Stakeholder – The Customer Annie Olson, Director of Customer Services, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board; Iris Pahlberg Peterson, Customer Service, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board 8:45 – 10:00 a.m. In our jobs, we must provide exceptional experiences to our park users. Every time. Every day. Everywhere. This energetic and interactive presentation will challenge participants to identify their own customer service opportunities while learning methods to strike a balance between efficiency and satisfaction. Trainers provide exercises which illustrate key points by energizing and engaging participants.

Designing Sustainable Splash Pads Ron Romens, President, Commercial Recreation Specialists 8:45 – 10:00 a.m. The popularity of splash pads installed in community parks, urban areas, and public plazas continues to increase. This session will bring you up-to-date with the latest design innovations for environmentally-responsible spray parks. Important factors such as site topography and products are part of the design process; however, the water management plan still remains the most important consideration. This session will explore new technology developed to maximize the use of water while minimizing environmental impact. Participants will discuss traditional water management strategies, along with the newest advancement of the capture and repurpose system.

Expect the Unexpected: Don’t Highjack Yourself! Bridget Gothberg, Facilitator, BG Consulting; Bob Wittman, Community Education Director, Wayzata School District 8:45 – 10:00 a.m. Have you ever looked in the mirror and wondered, “What was I thinking?” This interactive learning discussion focuses on emotional intelligence. Participants will examine practical ways of approaching the unexpected. Music, inventory list, and other techniques will be shared in order to let go of the stress and expand your horizons. Embrace the opportunity for learning, laughter and practical ideas.


Expected: Millennials will comprise nearly half of the workforce by the year 2020. Unexpected: researchers have started urging organizations to change the workplace environment in an effort to meet the wants, needs, and demands of millennials despite the negative perceptions. Explore how millennial values are translating into the workplace and how they compare to previous generations. Discuss ways to mentor millennials’ soft skills and look at the three overarching values that should be evaluated by any organization looking to attract and retain the inevitable new millennial employee.

Site Furnishings – The Difference Behind the Red Table Chris Kalkbrenner, Anova Furnishings 10:15 – 11:30 a.m. Not all red picnic tables are created equal. This session will walk you through the differences in raw materials, manufacturing processes, coating finishes, warranties, and structural integrity as it is related to outdoor site furnishings. This information will allow you to make the most fundamentally sound decision for your respective municipality.

Eliminating Elderspeak and Ageism from our Communities Patty Crawford, Adult Day Manager, Augustana Care Corporation 10:15 – 11:30 a.m. Elderspeak is a modified speech pattern that elders often experience in intergenerational conversation. Research has found that elderspeak can lead to a diminished sense of self. It breaks down authentic communication, re-enforces ageist stereotypes, creating a social divide. Our communities must be inclusive. The wisdom, fits and experiences of elders are a resource to our communities.

Director & Management Forum Bridget Gothberg, Facilitator, BG Consulting; Bob Wittman, Community Education Director, Wayzata School District 10:15 – 11:30 a.m. The first 30 minutes of this session will be spent sharing some of the challenges directors, managers, and supervisors have regarding decision-making, working with staff, and optimizing work time for yourself and staff. Following this discussion, a facilitated conversation will provide attendees the opportunity to share best practices and advice. The goal is to leave the session energized with new thoughts and ideas for your community.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 26 Engaging Older Adults with the Aging Mastery Program Emily Dessem, National Council on Aging; and Minnesota Program Managers 10:15 – 11:30 a.m. Engaging baby boomers in the coming years will be imperative to the success of community programs, and beyond that, our overall society’s health and well-being. The answer everyone seeks is how they can find the right way to connect and resonate with this group. This session will bring the creators of a national program to engage older adults, the Aging Mastery Program, as well as local implementers together to provide program information. Lessons learned from the sites and tactics used to engage baby boomers and older adults will be shared. Lunch 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Keynote Presentation: Improv for Life: Using Your Improv Mindset to Expect the Unexpected Jenni Lilledahl, Co-owner, Brave New Workshop Theatre 12:30 – 1:45 p.m. Jenni Lilledahl has been teaching improvisation for the past 22 years, impacting more than 10,000 lives through her work at the nation’s longest running satirical comedy theatre, the Brave New Workshop. While some of us hear the word ‘improvisation’ and run screaming, Jenni will share three simple tools that prove how all of us are improvisers. Attendees will describe how the tools and the mindset of an improviser can help us to navigate the unexpected challenges we face in our everyday lives.

Staff Communication: Control, Filters and Perception Lori A. Hoffner, Consultant, Supporting CommUnity, Inc. 2:00 – 3:15 p.m. The way one communicates greatly influences the outcome of a conversation. What you say and when and how you say it determines the conversation’s success or failure. Our communication is continually influenced by individual filters. Those filters are established by many different factors, one of the most prevalent is the generational filter, developed in the process of socialization and experiences. These filters crucially affect communication and interaction. We will discuss multiple communication model that can help determine what will be the most successful approach for you and your staff.

ADA Access, It’s Not Just about Buildings Julee Quarve-Peterson and Mara Peterson, Accessibility Specialists, Julee Quarve-Peterson (JQP), Inc. 2:00 – 3:15 p.m. JQP, Inc. will provide an overview of accessibility for people with disabilities in outdoor recreation – which codes apply, what is best practices, how to conduct an accessibility evaluation of recreation facilities (and why you want to), where to begin, and what to do with the information collected. Key features of accessibility for amenities commonly found in an outdoor recreation environment (ball fields, play area, toilet facilities, tennis courts, picnic, parking, etc.) will be reviewed. There will be time for participants to ask questions and allow for group discussion.

The Ins & Outs of Booking Community Entertainment Elisa Wright, Musician and Owner of New Folk Booking; Kevin Hall, The Halls of Magic; Kerry Phillips, Recreation Supervisor, City of Eagan; Scott Breuer, Assistant Parks & Recreation Manager, Bloomington Parks and Recreation 2:00 – 3:15 p.m. Join us for an entertainment roundtable led by session facilitators to share Minnesota resources for local bands/ entertainers and recent pricing. The group will engage in dialogue regarding tips and hints for negotiating with bands within your event budget, developing contract language, and managing situations such as bad weather and cancellations. Learn language to use to get bands to commit to your event, even when they seem out of your price range. Attendees will also be provided with an updated 2016 entertainment contacts packet, a must-have for any staff responsible for booking entertainment.

Parks on the Go: Partnering to Bring Parks to the People Amanda Larson, Community Engagement Coordinator, Three Rivers Park District 2:00 – 3:15 p.m. Parks and recreation teams are increasingly charged with ensuring our services are relevant to the changing demographics in our communities. Staff at Three Rivers Park District and the cities of Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center are taking innovative approaches to bring programming and planning efforts away from our existing facilities and out to where people live, work, and play. From mobile recreation teams to pop-up community engagement, learn how these three organizations have teamed-up to leverage resources and spread our love for outdoor activities in multiple communities. Employed strategies can be adapted for staff teams of any size and in a variety of geographic locations.


WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 26 Lessons from the Legends

What’s in a Name? The Process and Politics of Naming and Re-Naming Parks, Facilities, and Streets

Minnesota Recreation and Park Foundation - facilitated panel

Chris Esser, Director, South Saint Paul Parks and Recreation

2:00 – 3:15 p.m.

3:30 – 4:45 p.m.

Come and participate in an interactive panel with some of the most influential and seasoned veterans in our industry. We will have a moderated panel, with an open question and answer period. Topics include: 1) significant early life experiences that led to a career in parks and recreation; 2) influential mentors; 3) professional accomplishments; 4) advice for young park and recreation professionals entering the field; and 5) commentary about the future of parks and recreation as an area of human service.

The process of naming or renaming a park, facility or street can become complex and political. With a formal policy, naming and re-naming public places can provide structure and rationale to an emotional process. Hear from a director who has recently named a park, renamed an ice arena, and named a street within a park and the roller-coaster journey of each unique process.

A Higher Level of Inclusive Playground Design John McConkey, Market Insights and Research Manager, Landscape Structures 3:30 – 4:45 p.m. The playground should be a place for laughter, friends and fun for all. Traditional playgrounds focus on accessible design and developmentally appropriate play activities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 68 children has autism resulting in challenges interpreting sensory messages, engaging in play, and social interaction. Children learn through their senses. Evidence-based research shows sensory-rich play environments develop functional skills, imagination and social skills providing a higher level of inclusive play for all.

Are You Preparing for Retirement? What Do You Need to Do to Get Ready? David Engler, V.P. of Investment Services, Hiway Federal Credit Union 3:30 – 4:45 p.m. Retirement may seem far away for some. However, planning for retirement begins decades earlier. Attendees will identify and secure sources of retirement income, and determine how much cash flow will be needed during retirement. Participants will also discuss the anticipation of future medical and income needs, and have fun along the journey.

Expect an Unexpected Roundtable About Programming: Trends, Demands, Partnering, Program Life Cycles, and Pricing Structures Holly Champlin, City of Eagan; Sloan Wallgren, CPRP, City of Mendota Heights; Ann Heath, CPRP, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board; Kelly Hansen, City of Burnsville; Tanya Mozingo, School District 622; Al Vandehoef, Inver Grove Heights Parks and Recreation 3:30 – 4:45 p.m. This is an opportunity to meet other professionals in the field while connecting on common and uncommon issues. Expect to participate in a lively dialogue and share ideas with other recreation programmers of varying experiences, department sizes and resources. Expect unexpected connections to help you navigate your work.


WEDNESDAY, 5-8 p.m.

Making Community Engagement Fun Candace Amberg, Senior Landscape Architect, WSB & Associates, Inc.

• Music from Boogie Wonderland • Food and cash bar • Casino games • Bubble Smash Sports competitions

3:30 – 4:45 p.m. How is community engagement different today than it was 10 years ago and why is there such an urgency to incorporate it into a design process? Community engagement is not only at the core of many successful planning and design initiatives, but it is also an important tool for building relationships within a community. Join our respected planning and design professionals for a handson experience to learn some fun and interesting community engagement techniques to aid you in your future project.


Sponsored by



Off-Site: Interesting Park Facilities

2:00 – 5:00 p.m.

2:00 – 5:00 p.m.

See the South of the River arts facilities. Participants will learn about the programs, facilities, and outreach at each of these arts spaces: Caponi Art Park, Eagan Art House, Lakeville Area Art Center, and the Ames Center. The tour will begin and end at the Eagan Community Center.

Inver Grove Heights/Dakota County Swing Bridge Park

Caponi Art Park - Located on 60-acres of rolling wooded hills in Eagan, Caponi Art Park and Learning Center is a distinctive cultural center offering free programs and educational experiences in an inviting, natural setting that seamlessly blends art and nature. The park is open MayOctober and is in its 25th year of operation.

Eagan Art House - Eagan Parks and Recreation’s art center offers visual art education programming, outreach, art exhibitions, and artist support. The facility has two studios for painting/drawing and a full pottery studio. Situated on 113 acres of Patrick Eagan Park, the Eagan Art House will celebrate 20 years of programming in 2017.

Lakeville Area Art Center - Through creative re-use and renovation, the former All Saints Church was transformed into this state-of-the-art theater and arts facility in 2001. The center is home to a vibrant performing arts calendar, art classes, and visual art exhibitions.

The Ames Center - Formerly the Burnsville Performing Arts Center, this facility opened in January 2009. The center has two theatres, a 1,014 seat proscenium stage and an intimate 150-seat Black Box Theatre. In addition to the theatres, the center has a 2,000-square-foot art gallery, meeting rooms, and a large rehearsal room. Presentations include cultural events, dramas, comedies, dance and musical acts from local arts organizations and national touring artists.

Built in 1894, the Rock Island Swing Bridge was designed for the South Saint Paul Beltline Railroad as a double-deck structure carrying railroad traffic on the upper level and vehicle traffic on the lower crossing the Mississippi River. In 2010, the City of Inver Grove Heights refurbished the former bridge into a recreational pier that spans 670-feet into the Mississippi River. In 2012, in preparation for the construction of trailhead facilities, the city and county worked together to reconstruct 66th Street, extend utilities to the site, construct trails along the former railroad bed, and build an overlook platform. Finally in 2014, the construction of a restroom facility, parking lot, and picnic shelter along with landscaping, and historic interpretation completed the project.

Rosemount - Steeple Center The Rosemount Steeple Center opened in 2010, taking over the site of the former St. Joseph’s Church building which was constructed in 1924. The Steeple Center, located at the north end of downtown Rosemount, is available for weddings, meetings, parties, and performances. In 2015, an addition was constructed which includes a full catering kitchen, expanded restrooms, a lobby area featuring a fireplace and windows with café-style seating, three multi-purpose rooms, and a conference room. The Steeple Center is open to the public. The center is home to all senior activities and programs, and the Rosemount Area Arts Council offers a wide variety of classes and events throughout the facility as well.

Dakota County - Whitetail Woods Dakota County’s newest park, 456-acre Whitetail Woods, is located in Empire Township in the center of Dakota County, one mile north of the Vermillion River. The park was constructed in 2014 and includes approximately 10 miles of hiking trails, camper cabins, a picnic shelter with catering kitchen, earthen amphitheater with performance stage and natural play area. The Dakota County Whitetail Woods Camper Cabins were awarded the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2016 Housing Award – one of the top 10 national awards under the specialized housing category.

Off-Site: Lebanon Hills Regional Park Mountain Biking 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. Join us for a guided educational tour of the off-road, single-track mountain bike trails at Lebanon Hills Regional Park. Penn Cycle will provide the bikes; you provide a helmet. Lebanon Hills Regional Park is the largest park in the Dakota County park system. Containing almost 2,000 acres, the park offers miles of trails and many lakes for year-round outdoor sports, recreation and environmental education. Owned and operated by Dakota County Parks, the park is located in portions of Eagan and Apple Valley. The mountain bike trails are designed and maintained by the volunteer non-profit organization Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists (MORC), a prominent chapter of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). MORC utilizes sustainable trail design principles and maintenance practices to minimize any negative impacts to the land while creating, enhancing, and preserving great trail experiences for users of the park.



Recycling and Waste Reduction in Parks and Public Spaces

Registration Check-In & Breakfast 8:00 – 8:30 a.m.

Jenny Kedward, Environmental Specialist, Dakota County; Sue Bast, Environmental Specialist, Dakota Valley Recycling; Tom Schuster, Parks Supervisor, City of Rosemount

MRPF New Initiative Grants:

8:30 – 9:45 a.m.

Innovative Programming – See the Unexpected Come to Life! Tammy Abrahamson, Aquatics Coordinator, Inver Grove Heights Parks and Recreation; Nick Thompson, Recreation Supervisor, City of Richfield 8:30 – 9:45 a.m. Discover what the inside of an aquatic park, volleyball and four square all have in common! Inver Grove Heights Parks and Recreation is enhancing its amenities and offerings at its aquatic facility through a Rec & Roll program. Information on how the cities of Bloomington and Richfield are working together to offer a unique adult league that is gaining popularity in an informal setting. Come hear what spikeball is all about! Grant information for 2017 will also be available, so start thinking of programs you may want to try in your community and take advantage of this grant opportunity through Minnesota Recreation and Park Foundation.

Training for the Ages: Creating a Culture of Cooperation Lori A. Hoffner, Consultant, Supporting CommUnity, Inc. 8:30 – 9:45 a.m. Do you ever find yourself shaking your head in wonderment with your younger employees? Are there times that you wish you could get your “traditionalist” staff on board with a new way of doing things? Many of the approaches that each person takes are deeply rooted in their generational experiences. This training will help everyone understand what those differences are and how we can support each other while also gaining insight on why we do what we do. Learn ways to blend the different generations into a cohesive and positive team as well as creating an environment of cooperation that meets the needs of your staff regardless of their age. You will identify ways to encourage support for the internal atmosphere that gets projected to the outside customers.


We always want our parks and facilities to be clean and attractive, and work hard to coordinate meetings and present events that will generate as little waste as possible. This session focuses on recycling and waste reduction in parks, public space, and at small and large events and gatherings. The panel will discuss why, what, and how recycling is conducted in Dakota County. The speakers have learned through trial and error what works and what does not. This discussion will include current status of municipal recycling, presenting low-waste events, and new initiatives such as the use of compostable items and organic collection/composting.

Support of Individuals and Families with Autism Ellie Wilson, Director of Education and Training, Autism Society of Minnesota 8:30 – 9:45 a.m. Autism affects one in 68 families in Minnesota, and many look to their communities to offer inclusive programs for their loved one on the spectrum. The Autism Society will teach you to effectively plan and execute thoughtful programs in addition to offering you strategies for addressing those unexpected behaviors.

Establishing Community Partnerships to Develop Environmental Education Programs Robyn Ceurvorst, Assistant Professor, Minnesota State University, Mankato 10:00 – 11:15 a.m. This presentation shares hands-on program design and evaluation methodology for gauging community interest and revitalizing environmental education programs. The session addresses a community partnership concept to enable students to utilize tools to assess current resource conditions, identify waypoints where recreation use occurs, and solve resource use impact issues with adaptive management planning. This concept helped the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources develop a new environmental education strategy to enhance public awareness and value in conservation of clean, accessible water resources along the Minnesota River watershed.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27 Purpose-Based Recognition; Recognizing, Rewarding & Retaining Staff Lori A. Hoffner, Consultant, Supporting CommUnity, Inc. 10:00 – 11:15 a.m. By implementing a “purposed-based recognition” program you reduce turnover, gain buy-in of your organization by employees, and create an environment of support and enthusiasm. Lori will help identify goals and responsibilities of leadership for staff recognition that will retain your most important asset, your employees.

GIS: Power at Your Fingertips Sonya Rippe, Project Coordinator, Plymouth Parks and Recreation; Barb Northway, Deputy Director, Plymouth Parks and Recreation 10:00 – 11:15 a.m. Geographic Information System (GIS) benefits organizations of all sizes and in almost every industry. Plymouth Parks and Recreation is making great strides to provide more accurate geographic data to make more informed decisions about land acquisitions, park development and renovations, maintenance, asset management and more. All while using ArcMap desktop, Collector app ad web applications to achieve these goals.

A Tale of Two Cities - Waging War on Invasives Paul Buck, Forester, City of Plymouth; Gregg Hove, Forester, City of Eagan 10:00 – 11:15 am While invasive species know no boundaries and wreak havoc indiscriminately, cities often take different approaches to tackling these issues based on their unique resources, political pressure, funding, etc. The session will highlight the similarities and differences between two metro forestry programs.

The Changing Face of Adult Sports RSC Representatives; Garrett Beck, Burnsville Parks and Recreation; Lacelle Cordes, Rosemount Parks and Recreation 10:00 – 11:15 a.m. Adult sports programming is not the same as it was 20 years ago. Do league directors and programmers have the resources and networks to be prepared to offer successful leagues for years to come? Anticipating and planning will keep you one step ahead in the game. Come to this session to share ideas and network, as new professionals and seasoned league directors identify ways to enhance and expand current adult sports programs, discuss future trends, and share the benefits of sanctioning teams. The session will also include an update from the softball task force.

Closing Keynote Presentation: Now What? Tom O’Rourke, Executive Director, Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. You are preparing to leave one of the best parks and recreation state conferences in the nation. You have connected with the people that give you energy, you feel great about the contributions that you make in your community. NOW WHAT? What do you do tomorrow when you get back to work? Tom O’Rourke is the executive director of the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission in Charleston, South Carolina. He is responsible for the oversight of a 10,000-acre park system consisting of a wide array of parks, programs and services. He serves as a member of the Clemson University School of Health, Education, and Human Development Advisory Committee, and the College of Charleston School of Hospitality and Tourism Management Advisory Board. He also serves on the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Revenue and Management School Board of Regents and Executive Development Program Board.

2016 MRPA Annual Conference Committee Conference Co-Chairs • Nicole Gorman • Jen Saver Exhibit Hall and Sponsorships • Garrett Beck • Lacelle Cordes • Missie Kohlbeck • Kerry Phillips

Programming and Off-Sites Committee • Garrett Beck • Scott Breuer • Eric Carlson • Holly Champlin • Julie Dorshak • Kelly Hansen • Amber Jacobson • Lisa Mauer • Paula Nowariak • Kerry Phillips • Sonya Rippe • Loudi Rivamonte

Catering and Networking Events • Patty Dexter • Chris Dill • Kelly Hansen • Gina Robinette • Stephanie Schutta • Aaron Thelen

Logistics • Bill Bird • Alyssa Kellas • Sara McKay • Steve Skinner Volunteers • Kelly Hansen • Bridget Lindeman

Marketing • Katie Gieseke


MRPA Conference Registration Form Early Bird Deadline: August 26, 2016 • Register online at First Name_________________________________________ Last Name________________________________________________ Title_______________________________________________ Organization______________________________________________ Address_____________________________________________________________________________________________________ City_______________________________________________ State________________________Zip__________________________ Phone_____________________________________________ Fax_______________________________________________________ Email______________________________________________ Website___________________________________________________ Special Accommodations______________________________________________________________________________________ Payment Method: Check Enclosed or Requested (MRPA preferred method)


Credit Card (Visa/Mastercard)

Credit Card Number__________________________________________________ Exp______________________ Signature______________________________________________________________________________________ DELEGATES




Until Aug 26

After Aug 26

Until Aug 26

After Aug 26

Full Conference Package Monday Pre-Conference Institute - Thursday





Pre-Conference Institute Only – Monday





Conference Package - Tuesday-Thursday





Daily - Tuesday





Daily - Wednesday





Daily - Thursday





Continuing Education Units (CEU)





Student Sponsorship





Until Aug 26

After Aug 26

Conference Package (Tuesday–Thursday)



Daily - Tuesday



Daily - Wednesday



Daily - Thursday







Volunteer Package (Tuesday–Thursday)





Non-Volunteer Package





Non-Volunteer Daily





Pre-Conference Institute, Monday, October 24

Off-Site Institute, Wednesday, October 26

Yes, I plan to attend the Pre-Conference Institute: Improving Outcomes Through Authentic Community Engagement

I plan to attend the following off-site from 2-5 p.m.

Cancellation Policy - Cancellations accepted through September 28, minus a $25

Hotel Accommodations

handling fee. No refunds will be given after this date. Alternate attendees are permitted. Registration fees are used toward educational sessions and meals.

Conference Food and Beverage - We hope you enjoy the menus we have

selected for you. Please note any food allergies or dietary needs above under special accommodations. We have tried to incorporate healthy eating and ensure a variety of menu selections for everyone’s desired palates. Meals included for each day: Tuesday and Wednesday: continental breakfast, lunch, and exhibit hall & social appetizers; Thursday: continental breakfast and lunch.

Art Tour

Park Facilities

Mountain Biking

MRPA has reserved a room block at the nearby hotel, Best Western Plus - Dakota Ridge. Ask for the MRPA rate when making your reservation. 3450 Washington Drive, Eagan, MN 55122 Tel: 651.452.0100 • Room Rate: $109 + tax

Please submit payment to: MRPA, 200 Charles Street NE, Fridley, MN 55432 Fax: 763.571.5204

Show Off Your Association! 2016 MRPA APPAREL NOW AVAILABLE.

LH101-Heavyweight Laced Hood • 12 oz heavyweight reverse weave hooded sweatshirt • 80% cotton/ 20% polyester • Rib knit cuffs and waistband

NORDIC-Marled Performance Hood • 92% cationic polyester/ 8% spandex • Contrast stitching • Kangaroo pocket

HARRIET - Ladies Full Zip CALHOUN - Mens 1/4 Zip • 87% cationic polyester/ 13% spandex • Raglan Sleeves • Zipper Garage $40.00 each

$40.00 each

$40.00 each





















State:__________________ Zip:___________________________ E-mail:________________________________________________ Phone: ________________________________________________

Send payment and completed form to: Minnesota Recreation and Park Association 200 Charles Street NE Fridley, MN 55432









Items available for pick up/shipping after: September 21, 2016

SECOND ORDER DEADLINE: SEPTEMBER 30, 2016 Items available for pick up/shipping at the Annual Conference

Boost Your Leadership Power Emerging leaders seek opportunities to learn, explore, and take risks. Minnesota Recreation and Park Association is committed to preparing professionals with the leadership skills and knowledge base needed to sustain and better their organization and the people they serve. The Emerging Recreation Leaders Institute (ERLI), which is limited to 40 participants, will meet on six Tuesdays during the fall of 2016. ERLI is geared for the parks and recreation professional with less than eight years of experience. Seasoned professionals will serve as the faculty for each session. Registration includes materials and lunches. A minimum of 20 participants is needed to run the program.

MRPA Member: $269 • Non-MRPA Member: $369 Deadline: August 24 or until filled


2016 ERLI CURRICULUM Day One: September 13 Theme: Facilities Class Location: Maple Grove

Day Four: November 15 Theme: Development Class Location: Woodbury

Day Two: September 27 Theme: Programming Class Location: Saint Louis Park

Day Five: November 29 Theme: Funding Class Location: Plymouth

Day Three: October 11 Theme: Partnerships and Engagement Class Location: Minneapolis

Day Six: December 13 Theme: Presentations Class Location: Bloomington

Presented by:


Recreation and Park Association



Recreation and Park Association


Robinia Natural Playgrounds are coming to a park near you!

• Inclusive/Accessible Playgrounds • Play Surfacing • Inspections by CPSI • Relocation/Repair • Exercise/Strength Training • Sport Courts • Shade/Shelter/ Site Furnishings (612) 460-PLAY • Based in Eden Prairie Come visit our booth in the MRPA Exhibit Hall!

Minnesota Recreation and Parks Magazine Summer 2016  

Minnesota, recreation, park, sports, athletics, aquatics, playground, play, programming, facilities

Minnesota Recreation and Parks Magazine Summer 2016  

Minnesota, recreation, park, sports, athletics, aquatics, playground, play, programming, facilities