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JULY 2019 W W W. N R PA . O R G


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Shaped by play.

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Domino Park, Brooklyn Learn the story behind this amazing new playground at playlsi.com/domino. Š2019 Landscape Structures Inc. All rights reserved.

contents july 2019


volume 54 | number 7 | www.parksandrecreation.org


40 Balancing Act: Beach, Pier and Ocean Usage at Juno Beach Park Cort Jones

A fierce but friendly competition led to Palm Beach County Park and Recreation’s victory in this year’s Park and Rec Month Cover Contest. Cort Jones, NRPA’s communications manager, gets the behind-the-scenes story about the winning image, the agency, and how the community rallied around the photo submitted, from Chris Korbelak, Palm Beach County Park and Recreation manager of the office of public engagement.

46 The Ties that Bind Vitisia Paynich

Lynchburg (Virginia) Parks and Recreation recently kicked off a new Sibshop program to support typically developing children who have siblings diagnosed with intellectual or developmental disabilities. These typically developing children rarely get to interact with other children dealing 6

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with the same circumstance or to learn firsthand about the services their brothers and sisters receive. Learn how Lynchburg is working to meet this community need with events that encourage participants to have fun, laugh and openly share their feelings about the good and not­-so-­good aspects of having a special needs sibling. 2019 ANNUAL CONFERENCE SECTION

52 Disability Rights Activist Haben Girma to Deliver Closing General Session Keynote 56 Education Highlights: The Magic of Modification 57 A ‘Deep Bench’ of Subject Matter Experts at the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference 58 Exhibit Hall Highlights 59 NRPA Live

How do you light 71 sports fields without bothering the neighbors?

That was a key challenge facing the City of Irvine, California during the planning of its world-class, 1,300-acre sports complex, Orange County Great Park. Musco’s complete system approach and Total Light Control — TLC for LED® technology delivers the light quality to host elite tournaments and televised events, while eliminating glare and spill light from affecting neighbors. And with ControlLink® the city gains 24/7 monitoring and can manage all the lighting instantly with the touch of a smart phone to ensure they’re only on when needed. Get the whole story about Orange County Great Park at www.world-class-lights.com

“In my 38 years working for the city, I’ve never had a complaint about the quality of Musco lights in Irvine. The quality of light on the field and cutting out the glare and spill is critically important for us. We actually get compliments from the neighbors.” – Ed Crofts Former Community Services Manager City of Irvine, California

We Make It Happen® ©2019 Musco Sports Lighting, LLC · ADPR19-2


contents july

10 Editor’s Letter Sounds of Summer Gina Mullins-Cohen


24 Advocacy

12 Research Assess Your Agency’s Risk with Park Check Kevin Roth, Ph.D.

26 Law Review

14 Park Pulse .Americans’ Top Outdoor Recreation Activities

„„ Using Snapchat to Connect with Generation Z and Millennials 16 Jennifer Elliott „„ Augmented Reality on the Playground 20 Deborah A. Cohen, M.D., M.P.H.

Encouraging Positive, Proper Treatment of Game Officials Jake Polito

34 Health & Wellness

36 Social Equity ‘BRIDGE-ing’ the Gap Elliott Brown, B.S., and Marcus Coates, M.P.A.

60 NRPA Update „„ Equipping Park Professionals with Green Infrastructure Skills 60 „„ NRPA Recognizes Excellence in Parks and Recreation 62 „„ Applying to CAPRA — A Journey to Accreditation 64 „„ Thousands Took the ‘Get Fit’ Challenge on Family Health & Fitness Day 66 „„ NRPA Community Engagement Resource Guide 68 „„ Project Play: Youth Coach Training and Resources 69 „„ Connect Hot Topics 70 „„ Member Benefit: Performing Quality Background Checks with the BIB 70 „„ Member Spotlight: Jodi Ackerman 71 „„ Parks & Recreation Crossword 72 „„ Professional Development Calendar 74

76 Operations . emorial Park — Sustainable Municipal Golf Course and Site of the M 2020 Houston Open Steve Wright, M.A., M.S.

80 Products 82 Park Essentials 86 Advertiser Index 88 Park Bench

Parks & Recreation

Artists Play a Role in Local Conservation Efforts Susan M. Rademacher and Gavin White

Fostering Health and Wellness Through Shared-Use Facilities Clement Lau

22 Member to Member


. amping Ordinance Criminalized Homeless Status C James C. Kozlowski, J.D., Ph.D.

32 Conservation

16 Community Center

A Citywide Scavenger Hunt Lindsay Collins

This August, Join the Park Champion Ranks! Jayni Rasmussen

Cover image: Photo courtesy of Bob Gibson via Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department

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Oh, the endless days! Gathered together Reveling in the joy of play. Where watery wonders excite us Unite us And invite us to set our imaginations free.

Š2019 Landscape Structures Inc. All rights reserved.

To learn more and inspire your outdoors, visit aquatix.playlsi.com.


Sounds of Summer As park professionals, there’s nothing more satisfying to our ears than the sound of children’s laughter coming from the playground, especially during the summertime. Even if it’s only for a short period, anytime we can persuade kids to put away their mobile devices and go outside to enjoy the fresh air and play in our parks is a small victory for health and wellness advocates. The more we can promote healthy lifestyles to our youngest community members, the more likely they will carry those good habits into adulthood. And, what better time to promote health and wellness than in July with the celebration of Park and Recreation Month! The NRPA team was thrilled to receive so many entries for this year’s Park & Recreation Month Cover Contest and to see how people embraced this year’s theme: Game On! We reviewed hundreds of photo submissions and had a difficult time whittling down that number to 10 finalists. But, of course, there can only be one winner and the public has chosen! Congratulations to Bob Gibson who earned top honors for his photo of Juno Beach Pier and Juno Beach Park. Gibson, a resident of Palm Beach County, Florida, photographs different parks in the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department’s system. He then submits them to the park department to help raise awareness and promote its offerings. In this month’s cover story, titled “Balancing Act: Beach, Pier and Ocean Usage at Juno Beach Park” on page 40, NRPA Communications Manager Cort Jones spoke with Chris Korbelak, CPRP, manager of the office of public engagement for Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, who highlights the Responsible Pier Initiative at Juno Beach Pier and some of the events taking place in Juno Beach Park, and shares how the community rallied around the photo that Korbelak submitted to earn the coveted July cover. While park agencies throughout the country are kicking their summer recreation programming into high gear, Lynchburg (Virginia) Parks & Recreation is launching Sibshops, a program series designed to support typically developing children who have siblings diagnosed with intellectual or developmental disabilities. In the feature, titled “The Ties that Bind” on page 46, contributor Vitisia Paynich takes a closer look at how Lynchburg is working to meet this community need with events that encourage participants to have fun, laugh and openly share their feelings about the good and not-so­-good aspects of having a special needs sibling. Are you beginning to pull together your schedule for the NRPA Annual Conference in Baltimore? Be sure to check out some of our conference offerings starting on page 52. After all, the calendar may still say summer, but it’s never too early to start planning for fall! Finally, check out the annual Playground Guide supplement, included with this month’s issue. Several of the companies listed there will be at conference, so here’s your chance to check them out and learn about what’s trending on playgrounds.

GINA MULLINS-COHEN Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Publishing Editorial Director 10

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PRESIDENT AND CEO Kristine Stratton VICE PRESIDENT OF MARKETING, COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLISHING, AND EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Gina Mullins-Cohen gcohen@nrpa.org EXECUTIVE EDITOR Sonia Myrick smyrick@nrpa.org ASSOCIATE EDITOR Lindsay G. Collins lcollins@nrpa.org EDITORIAL CONTRIBUTOR Suzanne Nathan snathan@nrpa.org PUBLICATION DESIGN Kim Mabon/Creative By Design CreativeByDesign.net SENIOR SALES MANAGER EASTERN REGION AND EUROPE Kip Ongstad 703.858.2174 kongstad@nrpa.org SENIOR SALES MANAGER WESTERN REGION AND ASIA Michelle Dellner 949.248.1057 mdellner@nrpa.org SALES COORDINATOR Meghan Fredriksen 703.858.2190 mfredriksen@nrpa.org PHOTOGRAPHY Dreamstime.com or NRPA (unless otherwise noted) MAGAZINE ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS Michael Abbaté, FASLA Anthony-Paul Diaz Ryan Eaker Robert García Kathleen Gibi Paul Gilbert, CPRP Tim Herd, CPRE Brian Johnson, CPSI Roslyn Johnson, CPRP Michele Lemons Sam Mendelsohn Maria Nardi Lisa Paradis, CPRP Gil Peñalosa Paula Sliefert Shonnda Smith, CPRP, AFO Anne-Marie Spencer Stephen Springs

2 2377 Belmont Ridge Rd. | Ashburn, VA 20148 703.858.0784 | www.nrpa.org

NRPA’S MISSION: To advance parks, recreation and environmental conservation efforts that enhance the quality of life for all people. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Chair of the Board of Directors Jack Kardys J. Kardys Strategies Miami, Florida

Chair-Elect Michael Kelly Chicago Park District Chicago, Illinois Treasurer Xavier D. Urrutia City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation San Antonio, Texas

Secretary Karen Bates Kress Park Advocate Emigrant, Montana

President and CEO Kristine Stratton National Recreation and Park Association Ashburn, Virginia

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Michael Abbaté, FASLA Abbaté Designs Portland, Oregon

Jesús Aguirre, CPRE Seattle Parks and Recreation Seattle, Washington

Leon T. Andrews, Jr. National League of Cities Washington, D.C.

Neelay Bhatt PROS Consulting Indianapolis, Indiana

Hayden Brooks American Realty Corporation Austin, Texas

Kong Chang

Jack Kardys

J. Kardys Strategies Miami, Florida

Michael Kelly

Chicago Park District Chicago, Illinois

Karen Bates Kress Park Advocate Emigrant, Montana

Joanna Lombard

University of Miami School of Architecture; Miller School of Medicine Department of Public Health Sciences Miami, Florida

Carolyn McKnight, CPRP


Choose your device and your seat. Easy.

Previously with BREC Dallas, Texas

Joshua Medeiros, CPRP, AFO

City of Bristol Parks & Recreation Bristol, Connecticut


Herman Parker

Formerly of City of San Diego, California, Parks and Recreation Department San Diego, California

Ian Proud

Playworld Systems Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Nonet T. Sykes

Atlanta Beltline, Inc. Atlanta, Georgia

Xavier D. Urrutia

City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation San Antonio, Texas

Greg A. Weitzel, CPRP

City of Las Vegas Parks and Recreation Las Vegas, Nevada

LIFE TRUSTEES Beverly D. Chrisman


Lexington, South Carolina

Anne S. Close

City of Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Saint Paul, Minnesota

Fort Mill, South Carolina

Kevin Coyle

New York, New York

National Wildlife Federation Reston, Virginia

Rosemary Hall Evans

Sugar Hill, New Hampshire

Jose Felix Diaz

Earl T. Groves

Ballard Partners Miami, Florida

Gastonia, North Carolina

Charles E. Hartsoe, Ph.D.

Victor Dover

Richmond, Virginia

Dover, Kohl & Partners Town Planning Miami, Florida

Harry G. Haskell, Jr.

Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania

Richard Gulley

Kathryn A. Porter

City of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department San Diego, California

Mendham, New Jersey

Perry J. Segura

Roslyn Johnson, CPRP

R. Dean Tice

Previously with Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Greenbelt, Maryland

Eugene A. Young, CPRP


James H. Evans

New Iberia, Louisiana Round Hill, Virginia



1-800-295-5510 uline.com

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

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RESEARCH Assess Your Agency’s Risk with Park Check By Kevin Roth, Ph.D.


o you find your park and recreation agency continuing its struggle to recover from the effects of the Great Recession nearly 10 years later? Are local political leaders pushing back when you make the case to grow your agency’s operations funding and full-time staff to meet increased demands?

If you answer “yes” to either question, your agency is not alone. A recent academic study demonstrated that many agencies sustained significant hits during the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009. The study, summarized in a February 2018 Parks & Recreation magazine article, titled “The Great Recession’s Profound Impact on Parks and Recreation” (https://tinyurl.com/y68vcvmr), notes that parks and recreation

suffered greater reductions in operations funding relative to other local government services, and the funding has been slow to rebound years after the recession ended. There also has been a precipitous shift from full-time to part-time workers at many agencies. The NRPA-commissioned Local Government Officials’ Perceptions of Parks and Recreation (https:// tinyurl.com/yxp4kr2r) report highlights the root cause of these

outcomes. Appointed and elected political leaders (e.g., mayors, city managers) acknowledge that their jurisdiction’s park and recreation agency would likely bare the greatest funding cut when they must cut spending at their city, town or county. This is despite their universal agreement that recreation services provide immense benefit to their communities. The nickel and diming of an agency’s budget may help a local government balance its budget when it finds itself in a tough economic spot. However, the failure of local government officials to not only sustain funding levels for their park and recreation agencies, but also to ensure funding and staffing keep up with population growth, puts these valuable assets at great jeopardy. To help measure this risk, NRPA has created an online resource — NRPA Park Check: Parks & Recreation Quality Risk Assessment Tool. Park Check guides agency directors, political leaders and park advocates through the basic steps of ensuring their agency will be able to deliver quality park and recreation amenities and services to all members of the community in the future.

What Is NRPA Park Check? This online park and recreation assessment tool uses the responses to eight questions to develop an analysis of the agency’s risk profile. And, those questions are based on five basic principles: 12

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Funding: Communities committed to high-quality parks and recreation for all residents ensure that operations and maintenance (O&M) spending is growing at a rate equal to or greater than the rate of the jurisdiction’s population growth. Not only do you want to see year-to-year funding increases, but also consistent budget expansion (at least) over a threeyear period. Staffing: Communities committed to high-quality parks and recreation for all residents ensure that park and recreation agency full-time staffing is growing at a rate equal to or greater than the rate of the jurisdiction’s population growth. Not only do you want to see year-to-year growth in an agency’s full-time employee staffing, but also consistent staffing increases over (at least) a three-year period. Access: Everyone deserves access to a high-quality park that is within a 10-minute walk of where they live. It is important that park access is strong throughout the community, including areas with lower-income residents. Dedicated Funding Sources: Park and recreation agencies in communities committed to high-quality parks and recreation for all residents have access to dedicated funding sources (e.g., having its own taxing authority, sales/ property taxes dedicated to the agency) to fund at least some part of its O&M budget. CAPRA Accreditation: Park and recreation agencies that meet the standards set by the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) demonstrate their commitment to delivering high-quality park

and recreation amenities and services to every member of the community. The Park Check risk assessment tool rates your responses to these questions to determine if your agency’s ability to deliver quality park and recreation amenities and services to all members of your community in the future is at “low,” “moderate” or “high” risk. Agencies taking the assessment receive a customized three-page report, the second page of which details their risk profile based on the five principles. For example, an agency facing moderate risk may see strengths in its funding, staffing and access, but may lack both dedicated funding and the CAPRA accreditation that would improve its long-term outlook. The customized report also includes links to resources that could reduce your agency’s risk profile. More importantly, it can help con-

vince your community to raise its commitment to high-quality parks and recreation for all through greater, more sustained funding. Park Check is the first step to truly ensuring your agency is providing great park and recreation opportunities to every community member. Other NRPA resources, such as Park Metrics (www.nrpa. org/publications-research/ParkMetrics/), Facility Market Reports (www.nrpa.org/publications-re search/FMR/) and our suite of Best Practice Resources (www. nrpa.org/publications-research/ best-practice-resources/), to name a few, are available to take your agency to the next level. You can use Park Check today to assess the risk level to the quality of your services at www.nrpa.org/ park-check. Kevin Roth, Ph.D., is NRPA’s Vice President of Professional Development, Research and Technology (kroth@nrpa.org).

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Americans’ Top Outdoor Recreation Activities PICNICS SWIMMING WALKING

58% 48% 45%

OTHER POPULAR OUTDOOR RECREATION ACTIVITIES INCLUDE: Community social events 38% Playing in team sports or leagues 12%

Attending performing arts events 32%

Camping 30%

Playing racquet sports 11%

Running/Cycling races 10%

Each month, through a poll of Americans that is focused on park and recreation issues, NRPA Park Pulse helps tell the park and recreation story. Questions span from the serious to the more lighthearted. The survey was conducted by Wakefield Research (www.wakefieldresearch.com).

Visit nrpa.org/Park-Pulse for more information.

COMMUNITY CENTER Using Snapchat to Connect with Generation Z and Millennials By Jennifer Elliott


ark and recreation departments depend on generation after generation of park visitors to ensure their sustainability in the community. This reality means that Generation Z (individuals born from 2000 to the present) and millennials (those born from 1981 to 1999) are the future of your park and recreation strategy, and the customers of the immediate future, who you should start engaging with now. By increasing the awareness of younger citizens about their local park and recreation offerings, park departments can not only help them stay active and value natural resources, but also build relationships that can last for decades. Snapchat is one social media platform, park and recreation leaders must use to reach the digitally tethered members of Gen Z and millennials. If what you know about Snapchat is limited to the social media photos of individuals sporting

digital bunny ears, then it’s time you learned everything a park and reaction leader needs to know about this wildly successful communication platform, and how it can become a critical component of your quest to engage the two groups.

Snapchat Basics Snapchat is a free mobile messaging application used to share photos, videos, drawings and text messages. Originally intended to encourage a more natural flow of interaction, what sets it apart from other social platforms is that its messages disappear from the recipient’s smartphone after only a few seconds. This feature is why Snapchat’s branding includes the now-iconic ghost symbol. This disappearing act is also what initially made the app so popular among young social users. Snapchat is also entirely mobile, which means its users can only access the platform from a mobile device.

How Snapchat Works Snapchat, which evolved from a public entity and camera company, called Snap, offers the following functionality: • Live one-to-one video chats • The ability to create personalized caricature-like avatars • Sharing of chronological “stories” comprised of videos, photos and captions with followers • The ability to discover custom content from major publishers and brands • Private media storage • The ability to add augmented reality (AR) filters to photos and videos (those bunny ears you’ve been seeing) • The ability to showcase a user’s live location on a world map


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Who Is Snapping? According to Omnicore (www. o m n i c o r e a g e n c y. c o m / s n a p chat-statistics/), Snapchat currently boasts more than 300 million users, 188 million of which use the app daily. Seventy-one percent of Snapchat users are under 34 years old, and its user base spends an average of more than 30 minutes a day with the platform and opens the app 25 times per day. These statistics indicate that young members of your community are heavily engaged with Snapchat and that this social platform offers an affordable (read: free) platform on which to promote your events, activities, classes and the natural resources of your parks and trail systems to its users.

Snapchat Connection Strategies Gen Z and millennial Snapchat users share a common personality trait: FOMO (fear of missing out). It is a social perspective that motivates young social media users to attend events because they are afraid of being the only person from their social sphere not in attendance (and not posting photos and videos to social networks). By promoting your local events, upcoming classes and park systems to an interconnected body of FOMO-motivated young people, you can make your offerings relevant to a broader audience, adopt new customers and build lifelong relationships with new members of your community. Following are six easy-to-implement strategies for adding Snapchat to your marketing plan to reach these young citizens:

Start by Building Your Audience. The first step toward leveraging Snapchat to promote your park and rec offerings is to build an audience. Once you create your Snapchat account, advertise it everywhere, including on your other social channels, your park and recreation website, in your digital course catalog, on registration materials, inside your recreation facilities and everywhere Snapchat users are sure to see your message. Create Promotional Snaps to Send to Followers. Once you have a dedicated list of followers, reach out to them regularly. Snapchat is an ideal social platform for social influencers and is perfect for beauti-

ful nature and sports photos. It allows you to capture your audience’s attention with photos, videos, drawings and corresponding clever captions. Be as creative as possible and use Snapchat’s integrated tools and filters to spread the word about seasonal classes, local community events and open sports league registrations. Create a Contest. Use Snapchat as a platform for a digital competition. Ask followers to submit snaps that showcase how your local parks help them stay fit for the chance to win a prize or create a geocache or treasure hunt activity and ask participants to submit snaps of their progress along the way.


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Parks & Recreation



Build Excitement for Your Event with the Story Feature. For once-a-year community events, update followers with a series of promotional snaps that showcase event details, photos from previous years and other intriguing messages by creating and sending a series of Snapchat “stories.” Stories allow you to create a chronological series of images and videos that are perfect for showing progress toward the preparation of an event, the availability of attractions and other attendee benefits. Create Stories During Your Event. Don’t let those who missed this year’s event make the same mistake next year. Use Snapchat throughout the event to broad-

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Scharetg Pictures

cast images and videos of all the most fun and exciting moments to ensure your FOMO-influenced followers know what they are missing. By building engagement and a sense of excitement and community using Snapchat, you can start working on promotions for next year before this year’s event even ends.

As seasons change and technology evolves, park and recreation departments need to refresh their marketing and engagement strategies to ensure their communication channels and messages are relevant for the evolving generations of park and rec users. Encourage Attendees to Contribute to Your Story. Snapchat offers valuable social influencing functionality. Not only do followers benefit from hearing from you about your event, but they also benefit from hearing about it, and seeing images and videos from all its attendees. Snapchat’s “Our Story” functionality allows users at your event to contribute to an ongoing, shared, collaborative story. It leverages geofencing technology to ensure contributions are coming from users who are physically located at your event, adding an element of authenticity that is extremely important to the Snapchat community of users. As seasons change and technology evolves, park and recreation departments need to refresh their marketing and engagement strategies to ensure their communication channels and messages are relevant for the evolving generations of park and rec users. Social media is more than a trend, and Snapchat is more than a fad with young people. Its popularity is growing, and those brands and entities that have learned to strategically leverage this social tool to increase awareness among younger generations have benefited from the positive return on investment in the snap. By incorporating Snapchat into your marketing toolbox, you take one more step toward future-proofing your marketing efforts and your customer base. Jennifer Elliott is a Product Marketing Manager for CivicRec® (jelliott@civicrec.com).

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Parks & Recreation



Augmented Reality on the Playground By Deborah A. Cohen, M.D., M.P.H.


ith the average American child spending upwards of 6 hours each day in front of a digital screen playing video games or using online apps, increased access to technology is changing the way children play. Growth in screen time has raised concerns about the potential effects on children’s physical and emotional development. For example, a recent study found associations between greater screen time and lower scores on developmental screening tests assessing children’s communication, motor, social and problem-solving skills. Further, as screen time among children increases, time spent outdoors decreases. The strong correlation between time spent in nature with health and well-being suggests that the growth in digital technology may result in a decrease in children’s physical activity and overall health. Given concerns about the decline in outdoor play, a recent NRPA Park Pulse noted that nearly 70 percent of Americans feel that merging technology with nature will increase children’s desire to go to parks. But can screen technologies successfully be used to increase outdoor activities among children? A number of augmented reality (AR) app-development companies believe this can be done.

What Is Augmented Reality? Augmented reality refers to an interactive experience in which the real-world

environment is enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information, often using the senses of sight, hearing and touch. AR apps can superimpose images onto a real-world setting, which can be enhanced through a dramatic story for users to engage with while completing a set of tasks and interacting with the screen.

About the Apps The most famous AR app to date, Pokémon Go, uses geo-location to direct users to places where virtual Pokémon

characters can be collected. Although Pokémon Go was not designed explicitly to increase physical activity, an evaluation of the game showed that it increased user physical activity by an average of 1,473 steps a day. However, being immersed in the game has also resulted in negative consequences worthy of making headlines, including the injuries and deaths of several players and bystanders. In addition, concerns have been raised about Pokémon’s commercial partners — particularly the selection of McDonald’s restaurants as the location of virtual “gyms” that hold Pokémon characters, since drawing app users into fast food restaurants can potentially promote an unhealthy diet. AR apps tend to employ fantasy, and the most popular include creatures, like dinosaurs, zombies or ghosts. Zombie Run is a simple app explicitly intended to increase outdoor physical activity that only requires users to wear headphones as a narrator warns the runner to go faster when zombies are approaching. Another recent app has a more religious than commercial goal; “Follow JC Go” supplies geo-coordinates for users to collect Biblical characters, Saints and Blesseds. This may be the only AR app that has been officially approved by the Pope!

AR for Youth


While there is early research to suggest that location-based mobile apps can be beneficial to outdoor fitness, very few AR apps are specifically geared toward children under age 9. One app created by GEO AR, Sharks in the Park (not yet available in the U.S.), is intended for use in parks or fields and shows virtual fish and sharks, which the child tries, respectively, to catch or avoid. Since the app requires children to hold the tablet or smartphone in front of them, it uses GPS to sense where there are roads to alert users to turn around when they get too close. The game manufacturers claim this feature prevents children from walking into streets. Some

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GEO AR games are restricted to pre-designated open spaces, which are typically large and allow for free roaming. Biba, a relatively new AR company, has partnered with playground equipment manufacturers to create playground-based AR games for children ages 3 to 9. As a safety measure for both device and child, Biba’s games are designed so that an adult takes charge of the smartphone. The adult activates the game and scans augmented reality markers on playground structures to direct the child’s game activities, which can range from searching for treasure to driving an imaginary race car. Adults holding the phone serve as “home base,” while the children spend most of their time on the playground moving according to the game directives. This keeps the device out of the children’s hands so they can focus on physical activity away from the screen. Biba games also foster experi-

about the benefit of bringing technology to the outdoors, technology is not going away, so it is useful to consider how it might be used to help children enthusiastically engage in more vigorous outdoor activity. Trends in playground design are moving to incorporate more features, challenging climbing elements, movable equipment and structures that provide sensory experiences with sound, touch and texture. As park and recreation departments decide whether to provide alternative hybrid experiences of the outdoors and augmented reality for children, we need to continue to evaluate the impact, so we can learn more about the influence it has on children’s and caregivers’ relationships, happiness, health and well-being.

ences that invite parent attention and encouragement — something research has demonstrated can have positive influence on children’s moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA).

Effects of AR Like Pokémon Go, games created by GEO AR, Biba and other branded titles, like Harry Potter: Wizards Unite (scheduled for release in June 2019), have the potential to positively impact physical activity. Recently published work demonstrated that mobile AR playground experiences can lead to positive outcomes with regard to heart rate and MVPA, but more field work is needed to verify whether and how these play apps are making a difference in the type of activity and the amount of time children spend outdoors. While some experts may be skeptical

Introduce interactive play experiences with

Deborah A. Cohen, M.D., M.P.H., is a Senior Physician Scientist at the RAND Corporation (dcohen@rand.org).




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MEMBER TO MEMBER Encouraging Positive, Proper Treatment of Game Officials By Jake Polito


ome on ref ! You need glasses! What game are you watching?! What kind of call was that?! How are you not going to call that! If you have ever spent time at a sporting event, chances are you have heard one or more of these expressions used during the game. Officials are fundamental to the success and growth of recreational sports nationwide, yet, on a regular basis, they are treated poorly. As recreation professionals, it is our job to encourage the positive and proper treatment of our officials. Organized team sports play a significant role in the communities we serve, and without referees to officiate games, these leagues would not be possible. For over a decade, there has been a substantial decrease in the number of youth sports officials nationwide. While the impact of this shortage can be felt by all,

recreational organizations are hit the hardest. Official assignment associations prioritize competitive and high school games, leaving park districts to compete for the remaining available officials. Studies have shown that there is a major correlation between the shortage of youth sports officials

and their treatment while on the job. As a player, family member, coach and league supervisor, I have witnessed the offensive and undesirable treatment of referees. I have heard countless expletives, demeaning expressions and seen blatantly aggressive attitudes toward referees, all while watching children try to grasp the concept of dribbling a basketball without traveling. What’s even more disturbing is that many of the officials facing this abuse are teenagers — a fact that gets lost in the heat of the moment! Parents, while not the sole individuals responsible for the mistreatment of officials, are habitual violators of the proper code of conduct. This behavior often seems to stem from a lack of knowledge of league rules and/or of the game itself. Simply posting your league rules publicly can prevent a large number of ill-informed shouting from the sidelines. By establishing, publicizing and enforcing a code of conduct that all spectators must adhere to, you can further reduce the number of emotional outbursts. Coaches as First/Last Line of Defense Our biggest tool in fighting this increase in hostility toward game officials lies with the proper training and selection of coaches. This seems like it’d be an easy thing to do, but sometimes just finding enough coaches to fulfill a league’s needs is also challenging. While

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coaches are our first and last line of defense against the verbal abuse officials face, they can also be guilty of engaging in the same behavior toward them. Competition is and will always be a huge undertone of organized sports, which can lead coaches to inadvertently lash out at officials for calls that are not in their team’s best interest. This is where the proverbial line in the sand needs to be drawn. Providing a pre-season training for your coaches is a great way to set expectations. A short investment of your time to establish a code of conduct and inform coaches of possible implications if policies are not adhered to can have a dramatic impact on their demeanor. During a past flag football season, I had a coach who was relentless in his abusive behavior toward the officials. Despite talking to him multiple times, he would not correct his behavior. After the game, I informed the coach that his behavior was not in line with our goals and objectives as a district and asked if he was available the next weekend before his game. With his availability confirmed, I said, “Great! It seems like you are very versed in the rules and we could use your experience. Would you be able to officiate one game for us?” After a slight pause, the coach walked back his criticism of the young officials, shook my hand and apologized. Not only did I not have another issue with this coach the rest of the season, but even observed him standing up for one of the officials during a game. When it comes to youth sports, “perfect” is a word you will not often hear, especially when it comes to officiating. What is a perfect

game? It’s entirely subjective and rarely echoed by two competing coaches, as, naturally, only one of them is on the winning side. It is human nature to search for reasons for a loss. And, for some, it’s also easier to blame a loss on those officiating the game than to accept the outcome and find the issues within their team that need to be addressed. Officials are only human and their job primarily relies on their visual acuity to uphold league rules in real time. This can be incredibly challenging, especially when multiple people are yelling in their direction. It is inevitable that officials will “miss” calls, and at times, make the “wrong” call. This does not give players, parents and coaches an excuse to berate them. This kind of negative behavior is toxic to a league and undermines the objectives and goals of league organizers. Instead of booing an official for a call that you don’t agree with, cheer when they make a call you do. By shifting the way we react to decisions on the field, we can have a dramatic and positive effect on all of those involved. One of the most valuable lessons a child can take away from organized sports is overcoming adversity. When a coach negatively speaks out against a referee’s call during a game, that coach is undermining a young athlete’s character development. Our youth look up to coaches as role models and will absorb traits and lessons they carry with them the rest of their life. We must continue to remind our coaches of the importance and weight their words and actions carry. Next time you are at a youth

Four Steps to Improve CoachOfficial Relations:


Coaches should introduce themselves to and thank the officials prior to a game.


Coaches should never raise their voice.

3 4

If a coach has a question about a call, they should wait until gameplay stops, then approach the official in a respectful manner. Coaches should always thank the officials after concluding a game.

sporting event and witness someone acting inappropriately toward an official, politely remind them that their actions have dire consequences on the health and stability of recreational sports nationwide. Always thank your officials and remember that they are doing their job to the best of their ability. And, instead of avoiding or ostracizing less experienced officials, welcome, encourage and let them know you appreciate them, as they are the future of the officiating population and, therefore, vital to all recreational sports. Together we can reshape youth sports by giving our officials the respect and admiration they deserve. Jake Polito is the Senior Recreation Coordinator for Sunrise Recreation and Park District (jpolito@sunriseparks.com).

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This August, Join the Park Champion Ranks! By Jayni Rasmussen


recently spoke on a panel for a workshop by the Public Affairs Council titled, “Beyond the Fly-in: Creative Ways to Have Impactful Federal and State Legislative Meetings.” From United Airlines, to the Boys and Girls Club, to the American College of Cardiology, the rooms were full of heavy hitters in the advocacy arena. I suppose I should have been nervous, being shoulder-to-shoulder with some seriously amazing advocacy professionals. But thanks to the incredible work of the NRPA members who have stepped up to advocate through the Park Champion initiative, I think I fit right in.

Congressional Recess Dates Congress will be out of session and visiting their districts this summer during the following dates: House of Representatives, July 27 – September 8 Senate, August 3 – September 8

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Since the 2015 launch of Park Champions, park and recreation agencies across the country have been making an impact by inviting their members of Congress to see firsthand the importance of investing in local parks and rec. From hosting elected officials at groundbreakings, to summer meal program tours, to special events, our Park Champions have given members of Congress

powerful in-person experiences at home. In turn, every Park Champion event helps the NRPA Public Policy team in Washington, D.C., gain influence for the field.

The Time Is Now It’s not too late to join the ranks of Park Champion agencies that are making the field of parks and recreation stand out among some of the nation’s top organizations. In fact, the best time to invite your members of Congress for a visit is when Congress is not in session. Luckily, during the entire month of August, Congress is in recess and members of Congress will be in their home states and districts. Members of Congress use the August recess not only to take a break from D.C., but also to connect with their constituents. Studies from the Congressional Management Foundation show that site visits are the most effective method of influencing members of Congress. This means that inviting your members

to visit your community for a tour or to attend an event can not only help draw attention to your great work, but also to secure federal funding for local parks and recreation.

Getting Started The NRPA Park Champion initiative makes it easy — I promise! — to turn your summer events into Park Champion events by simply inviting your members of Congress. Our step-by-step Park Champion Advocacy Toolkit comes complete with draft invitations, contact information for all members of Congress’ offices and helpful tips on how to plan a successful site visit.

members of Congress out for a visit to show them what parks and recreation means to your community. Let them see for themselves how your agency is making their home

district a happier, healthier and more economically vibrant place to live and play. Jayni Rasmussen is NRPA’s Advocacy and Outreach Manager (jrasmussen@nrpa.org).

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The (Extra) Perks Who doesn’t love to bring home a trophy? If you host your members of Congress by August 31, you’ll be eligible for the 2019 Park Champion of the Year Award! The winner, selected by the NRPA Public Policy Committee, will be presented with a personalized WWE-style wrestling belt at the 2019 Best of the Best ceremony during NRPA’s Annual Conference, September 25 in Baltimore, Maryland. They’ll also receive a feature in Parks and Recreation magazine and a trip for two agency members to visit Washington, D.C., to advocate for parks and recreation on Capitol Hill in spring of 2020! Visit www.nrpa.org/park-cham pions to get started! If you’re strapped for time or capacity, reach out to me, Jayni Rasmussen, NRPA’s advocacy and outreach manager for help with everything from sending invitations to coordinating your event. This summer, do yourself, your community and NRPA proud! Don’t miss out on the opportunity to invite your

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Camping Ordinance Criminalized Homeless Status By James C. Kozlowski, J.D., Ph.D.


n May 7, 2019, Denver voters overwhelmingly rejected a “Right to Survive” referendum, which would have effectively repealed the city’s existing anti-camping ordinance in public parks and spaces. This vote came in the wake of the federal appeals court “City of Boise” opinion described herein. In this case, federal appeals court for the 9th Circuit held unconstitutional any such camping ordinance, which effectively criminalizes the mere status of being homeless. In an apparent response to this federal court opinion, several cities in the West have reportedly ceased enforcing their anti-camping laws. (Search terms: Denver, homeless, camping – See: www.governing.com/topics/health-human-services/govdenver-homeless-camping-ban-voters-ballot.html; www.denverpost.com/ 2019/04/12/denver-initiative-300-camping-ban-homeless/) The growing concern among public park administrators is that any such legislated “Right to Survive” or “Right to Shelter” policy would override existing urban camping ordinances and could also effectively nullify existing park curfew regulations. Without direct-

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ly addressing the lack of available shelters and affordable housing for the homeless, public parks could become low-cost de facto open-air homeless shelters with increased trash and sanitation burdens threatening the environmental integrity of park resources.

While rejecting a camping ordinance that could effectively criminalize the mere status of being homeless, the federal appeals court in the “City of Boise” opinion described below did not issue an absolute ban on such local laws. On the contrary, the federal appeals court found “an ordinance prohibiting sitting, lying, or sleeping outside at particular times or in particular locations,” as well as “an ordinance barring the obstruction of public rights of way or the erection of certain structures...might well be constitutionally permissible.” In determining the constitutionality of an existing or proposed anti-camping ordinance, the issue, however, would be whether a law or regulation “punishes a person for lacking the

means to live out the universal and unavoidable consequences of being human.” Accordingly, in considering the constitutionality of an anti-camping ordinance, a federal court would necessarily examine what viable alternatives existed, if any, to satisfy the basic human need for shelter by homeless individuals who might otherwise have no other option but to resort to “camping” in public parks and places.

Sleeping Ban in Public Places In the case of Martin v. City of Boise, 902 F.3d 1031, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 25032 (9th Cir. 4/1/2019), the issue before the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit was “whether the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment bars a city from prosecuting people criminally for sleeping outside on public property when those people have no home or other shelter to go to.” The plaintiffs were six current or former residents of the city of Boise (“the City”) who are homeless or have recently been homeless. These homeless individuals had lived in or around Boise since 2007. Between 2007 and 2009, each plaintiff alleged he or she was cited by Boise police for violating one or both of two city ordinances: the “Camping Ordinance” and the “Disorderly Conduct Ordinance.” With one exception, all plaintiffs were sentenced to time served for all convictions; on two occasions, one plaintiff was sentenced to one additional day in jail. The Camping Ordinance, Boise City Code § 9-10-02, made it a misdemeanor to use “any of the streets, sidewalks, parks, or public places as a camping place at any time.” The Camping Ordinance defined “camping” as “the use of public property as a temporary or permanent place of dwelling, lodging, or residence.” The Disorderly Conduct Ordinance, Boise City Code § 6-01-05, prohibited “occupying, lodging, or sleeping in any building, structure, or public place, whether public or private without the permission of the owner or person entitled to possession or in control thereof.”

dividuals counted in Ada County, 125 of whom were unsheltered. This reported data likely underestimated the number of homeless since the count reflected a one-night point in time. Moreover, many homeless individuals may have access to temporary housing on a given night. In addition, weather conditions may affect the number of available volunteers and the number of homeless people staying at shelters or accessing services on the night of the count. In the city of Boise, three homeless shelters run by private, nonprofit organizations were the only shelters in Ada County offering emergency shelter services. One shelter, (“Sanctuary”) operated by a religious organization, did not impose any religious requirements on its residents and was open to men, women and children of all faiths. Because of its limited capacity, Sanctuary frequently has to turn away homeless people seeking shelter. In 2010, Sanctuary reached full capacity in the men’s area “at least half of every month,” and the women’s area reached capacity “almost every night of the week.” In 2014, the shelter reported that it was full for men, wom-

PARKS & RECREA Salsbury Indu

Homeless Population Shelter Boise has had a significant and increasing homeless population. According to a January 2014 count taken by the Idaho Housing and Finance Association, there were 753 homeless individuals in Ada County where Boise is the county seat; 46 of the reported homeless were “unsheltered,” or living in places unsuited for human habitation, such as parks or sidewalks. In 2016, reported data indicated there were 867 homeless in

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en or both on 38 percent of nights. Sanctuary provides beds first to people who spent the previous night at Sanctuary. At 9 p.m. each night, it allots any remaining beds to those who added their names to the shelter’s waiting list. The other two shelters in Boise were both operated by the Boise Rescue Mission (“BRM”), a Christian nonprofit organization. One of those shelters, the River of Life Rescue Mission (“River of Life”), is open exclusively to men; the other, the City Light Home for Women and Children (“City Light”), shelters women and children only. BRM’s facilities provide two primary “programs” for the homeless: the Emergency Services Program and the New Life Discipleship Program. The Emergency Services Program provides temporary shelter, food and clothing to anyone in need. Christian religious services are offered to those seeking shelter through the Emergency Services Program. The shelters display messages and iconography on the walls, and the intake form for emergency shelter guests includes a religious message. The Discipleship Program is an “intensive, Christ-based residential recovery program” of which “religious study is the very essence.”

Police Shelter Protocol The plaintiffs filed suit in the United States District Court for the District of Idaho in October of 2009, alleging that their previous citations, under the Camping Ordinance and the Disorderly Conduct Ordinance, violated the U.S. Constitution Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause of the Eighth Amendment. Under federal civil rights law, the plaintiffs sought damages for those alleged viola28 Parks & Recreation

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tions and a court order precluding any future enforcement of the ordinances by the city of Boise. After the litigation began, the Boise Police Department promulgated a new “Special Order,” effective as of January 1, 2010. The Special Order prohibited enforcement of either the Camping Ordinance or the Disorderly Conduct Ordinance against any homeless person on public property on any night when no shelter had “an available overnight space.” City police implemented the Special Order through a two-step procedure known as the “Shelter Protocol.” Under the Shelter Protocol, if any shelter in Boise reaches capacity on a given night, that shelter will so notify the police at roughly 11 p.m. Each shelter has discretion to determine whether it is full, and Boise police have no other mechanism or criteria for gauging whether a shelter is full. The Camping Ordinance and the Disorderly Conduct Ordinance were both amended in 2014 to codify the Special Order’s mandate that “[l]aw enforcement officers shall not enforce [the ordinances] when the individual is on public property and there is no available overnight shelter” (Boise City Code §§ 6-0105, 9-10-02). Since the Shelter Protocol was adopted, Sanctuary has reported that it was full on almost 40 percent of nights. Although BRM agreed to the Shelter Protocol, its internal policy is never to turn any person away because of a lack of space, and neither BRM shelter has ever reported that it was full. If all shelters are full on the same night, police are to refrain from enforcing either ordinance. Presumably because the BRM shelters have not

reported full, Boise police continue to issue citations regularly under both ordinances.

Credible Enforcement Threat In July 2011, the federal district court granted summary judgment to the City, holding the Special Order and Shelter Protocol referenced in the amendment ordinances effectively “permitted camping or sleeping in a public place when no shelter space was available.” As a result, the federal district court found that the plaintiffs’ claims were “moot” because there was no longer a “credible threat” of future prosecution under the challenged ordinances: If the Ordinances are not to be enforced when the shelters are full, those Ordinances do not inflict a constitutional injury upon these particular plaintiffs...[T]here is no known citation of a homeless individual under the Ordinances for camping or sleeping on public property on any night or morning when he or she was unable to secure shelter due to a lack of shelter capacity...[T]here has not been a single night when all three shelters in Boise called in to report they were simultaneously full for men, women or families. On appeal, the federal appeals court held the district court had erred in finding the plaintiffs’ claims were moot because “the Special Order was a statement of administrative policy and so could be amended or reversed at any time by the Boise Chief of Police.” Accordingly, the federal appeals court found: “The City had not met its ‘heavy burden’ of demonstrating that the challenged conduct — enforcement of the

two ordinances against homeless individuals with no access to shelter — could not reasonably be expected to recur.” In addition, the appeals court found plaintiffs had presented evidence of a “credible threat of prosecution under one or both ordinances in the future at a time when they are unable to stay at any Boise homeless shelter.” In so doing, the court further noted “the City is wholly reliant on the shelters to self-report when they are full.” In particular, the court found undisputed evidence that the Sanctuary shelter was “full as to men on a substantial percentage of nights, perhaps as high as 50 percent.” While the BRM facility claimed it would “never turn people away due to lack of space,” the court found the BRM would, however, “refuse to shelter homeless people who exhaust the number of days allotted by the facilities.” Further, the court found that the homeless could be denied access to shelter facilities based on the time of their arrival: BRM’s facilities may deny shelter to any individual who arrives after 5:30 p.m., and generally will deny shelter to anyone arriving after 8:00 p.m. Sanctuary, however, does not assign beds to persons on its waiting list until 9:00 p.m. Thus, by the time a homeless individual on the Sanctuary waiting list discovers that the shelter has no room available, it may be too late to seek shelter at either BRM facility. In addition, the federal appeals court found evidence that some BRM programs required the homeless to participate in certain religious activities. According to the court, the City would violate the

Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to effectively coerce a homeless individual to attend religious-based “treatment programs” to avoid prosecution under the ordinances. In this particular instance, several of the plaintiffs objected to

the “overall religious atmosphere” in an available homeless shelter, including “the Christian messaging on the shelter’s intake form and the Christian iconography on the shelter walls.” Under these circumstances, the

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federal appeals court found homeless individuals “may be forced to choose between sleeping outside on nights when Sanctuary is full (and risking arrest under the ordinances) or enrolling in BRM programming that is antithetical to his or her religious beliefs.”

Eighth Amendment Violation? Under the circumstances, the issue before the federal appeals court was, therefore, whether “the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause of the Eighth Amendment” in the U.S. Constitution precluded “the enforcement of a statute prohibiting sleeping outside against homeless individuals with no access to alternative shelter.” As cited by the court, the Eighth Amendment states: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted” (U.S. Const., amend. VIII). Further, the court noted the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause “circumscribes the criminal process in three ways”: First, it limits the type of punishment the government may im30 Parks & Recreation

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pose; second, it proscribes punishment “grossly disproportionate” to the severity of the crime; and third, it places substantive limits on what the government may criminalize. In this particular instance, the court found the third limitation was pertinent; i.e., substantive limits on what the government may criminalize: The entire thrust of the Cruel and Unusual Punishment is that criminal penalties may be inflicted only if the accused has committed some act, has engaged in some behavior, which society has an interest in preventing, or perhaps in historical common law terms, has committed some actus reus [guilty act]. It thus does not deal with the question of whether certain conduct cannot constitutionally be punished because it is, in some sense, involuntary...[C]riminal penalties may not be inflicted upon a person for being in a condition he is powerless to change. Accordingly, the federal appeals court acknowledged, “the Eighth Amendment prohibits the state from punishing an involuntary act or condition if it is the unavoidable consequence of one’s status

or being.” In particular, the appeals court found: “This principle compels the conclusion that the Eighth Amendment prohibits the imposition of criminal penalties for sitting, sleeping, or lying outside on public property for homeless individuals who cannot obtain shelter.” Whether sitting, lying, and sleeping are defined as acts or conditions, they are universal and unavoidable consequences of being human. Moreover, any conduct at issue here is involuntary and inseparable from status — they are one and the same, given that human beings are biologically compelled to rest, whether by sitting, lying, or sleeping. As a result, just as the state may not criminalize the state of being “homeless in public places,” the state may not criminalize conduct that is an unavoidable consequence of being homeless — namely sitting, lying, or sleeping on the streets. While the City could not criminalize the state of being homeless in public places, the federal appeals court cautioned: “Our holding is a narrow one.” Specifically, the federal appeals court would “in no way dictate to the City that it must provide sufficient shelter for the homeless, or allow anyone who wishes to sit, lie, or sleep on the streets at any time and at any place.” We hold only that so long as there is a greater number of homeless individuals in a jurisdiction than the number of available beds in shelters, the jurisdiction cannot prosecute homeless individuals for involuntarily sitting, lying, and sleeping in public. That is, as long as there is no option of sleeping indoors, the government cannot criminalize indigent, homeless people for sleeping outdoors, on public property, on

the false premise they had a choice in the matter. As applied to the homeless plaintiffs in this case, the appeals court found the challenged ordinances “effectively punish them for something for which they may not be convicted under the Eighth Amendment — sleeping, eating and other innocent conduct.” As noted by the court, “the two ordinances criminalize the simple act of sleeping outside on public property, whether bare or with a blanket or other basic bedding.” As characterized by the federal appeals court, the Disorderly Conduct Ordinance, on its face, criminalized “[o]ccupying, lodging, or sleeping in any building, structure or place, whether public or private” without permission (Boise City Code § 6-0105). Similarly, the court found the Camping Ordinance criminalized using “any of the streets, sidewalks, parks or public places as a camping place at any time” (Boise City Code § 9-10-02). Moreover, the court noted the ordinance defined “camping” broadly: The term “camp” or “camping” shall mean the use of public property as a temporary or permanent place of dwelling, lodging, or residence, or as a living accommodation at any time between sunset and sunrise, or as a sojourn. Indicia of camping may include, but are not limited to, storage of personal belongings, using tents or other temporary structures for sleeping or storage of personal belongings, carrying on cooking activities or making any fire in an unauthorized area, or any of these activities in combination with one another or in combination with either sleeping or making preparations to sleep (including the laying down of bedding for the purpose of sleeping).

Further, the federal appeals court noted the Camping Ordinance was “frequently enforced against homeless individuals with some elementary bedding, whether or not any of the other listed indicia of ‘camping’ were present”; i.e., “the erection of temporary structures, the activity of cooking or making fire, or the storage of personal property.” For example, a Boise police officer testified that he cited plaintiff Pamela Hawkes under the Camping Ordinance for sleeping outside “wrapped in a blanket with her sandals off and next to her,” for sleeping in a public restroom “with blankets,” and for sleeping in a park “on a blanket, wrapped in blankets on the ground.” Based on this evidence, the federal appeals court found the Camping Ordinance “can be, and allegedly is, enforced against homeless individuals who take even the most rudimentary precautions to protect themselves from the elements.” Accordingly, as applied to the facts of this case, the federal appeals court held: “a municipality cannot criminalize such behavior consistently with the Eighth Amendment when no sleeping space is practically available in any shelter.” In making this determination, however, the federal appeals court noted the following limitations on its holding: Naturally, our holding does not cover individuals who do have access to adequate temporary shelter, whether because they have the means to pay for it or because it is realistically available to them for free, but who choose not to use it. Nor do we suggest that a jurisdiction with insufficient shelter can never criminalize the act of sleeping outside. Even where shelter is unavailable, an ordinance pro-

hibiting sitting, lying, or sleeping outside at particular times or in particular locations might well be constitutionally permissible. So, too, might an ordinance barring the obstruction of public rights of way or the erection of certain structures [might be constitutional]. Whether some other ordinance is consistent with the Eighth Amendment will depend, as here, on whether it punishes a person for lacking the means to live out the “universal and unavoidable consequences of being human” in the way the ordinance prescribes. The appeals court, therefore, reversed the judgment of the federal district court granting summary judgment to the City and remanded the case for further proceedings. On remand, the district court would consider whether the City’s amended ordinances would effectively preclude any future “criminal sanctions against homeless individuals for sleeping outdoors, on public property, when no alternative shelter is available to them.”

See Also: “Camp ‘Cleanup’ Makes Homeless Status Criminal” James C. Kozlowski. Parks & Recreation. Mar. 2011 Vol. 46, Iss. 3 http://cehdclass.gmu.edu/ jkozlows/lawarts/03MAR11.pdf “Cardboard Homeless Shelter in Park” James C. Kozlowski. Parks & Recreation. Oct. 2006. Vol. 41, Iss. 10. http://cehdclass.gmu.edu/ jkozlows/lawarts/10OCT06.pdf James C. Kozlowski, J.D., Ph.D., is an Attorney and Associate Professor in the School of Recreation, Health and Tourism at George Mason University (jkozlows@gmu.edu). Webpage with link to law review articles archive (1982 to present): http:// mason.gmu.edu/~jkozlows.

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Water runs down Stacy Levy’s “Rain Ravine” after a summer storm.

Artists Play a Role in Local Conservation Efforts By Susan M. Rademacher and Gavin White


rom the earliest days of the American park movement, sculpture, performances and exhibitions have proliferated. Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of landscape architecture, bemoaned the funerary appearance of park landscapes from the profusion of monuments. He wrote that the park itself “is a work of art, designed to produce certain effects upon the mind of men.” Olmsted designed his parks to immerse people within the experience of scenery. Now, this principle of connecting people and nature is more important than ever. Today, public artists are asked to create works that engage people meaningfully to stimulate discovery, dialogue and even action. The art provides reasons for people to linger and interact. Whether the work is ephemeral or permanent, the viewer is invited to step inside a world of fresh perspectives on nature and culture. Much of the best work solves problems, too, creative-

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ly tackling challenges as simple as a need for shade and as complicated as climate change.

The Pittsburgh Case Study One example is Pittsburgh’s park system, which boasts an artistic legacy of sculptural entrances and monuments meant to be passively admired from a distance. However, In the 21st century, artists are

inviting active viewing. They are advocates of conservation, both environmental and cultural, and often involve the community in generating the artwork. Others are members of collaborative design teams, helping to shape the entire project and finding opportunities for art within it. The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, a nonprofit partner of the city since 1996, works frequently with artists to achieve marvelous art installations. Some artists are commissioned to create a permanent addition to the city’s art collection, while others contribute an integrated component of a larger project. Whatever the commission, the artist is expected to engage people during the creative process.



In 2009, residents rallied to preserve and reimagine a deteriorated hillside park. The Parks Conservancy and the city of Pittsburgh worked with residents to renovate the neighborhood park into a place that conveys and reinforces the community’s hopes and dreams. The renamed August Wilson Park, opened to the public in 2016, marries new play equipment and natural features with historic and contemporary artworks that incorporate traces of the Hill District’s rich cultural legacy. For the art installation We Came from the Stars, artist Alisha Wormsley worked with neighborhood children to create drawings and collages that explored themes of time and place. Wormsley’s imagery of children turning into stars is printed on windscreen fabric and mounted on a pathway fence. Two telescopes allow visitors to see far across the city and up to the sky. At the park entrance, a viewfinder with a Steel City-inspired welder’s mask contains both vintage and current photographs of people and places in the neighborhood. All three viewing fixtures, painted with figures from the children’s artwork, allow people to experience different aspects of the neighborhood, including historic images of the community at play. Wormsley says, “The project recognizes the past, present and future happening simultaneously.” In 2009, the Parks Conservancy restored Mellon Park’s Walled Garden in honor of Ann Katharine Seamans, a young artist who had frequented the park to stargaze with friends. When her family offered to donate a commemorative artwork in the Walled Garden, the Parks Conservancy requested a fully integrated work rather than a standalone piece.

Foreground: Welder’s mask turned viewfinder offers glimpses of the community’s past, while Alisha Wormsley’s “We Came from the Stars” banner (background) looks to the future.

The garden, designed by Vitale and Geiffert, is a work of art in its own right, so it was imperative for the new installation not to conflict with the garden experience. Artist Janet Zweig placed 150 fiber-optic points of light into the garden lawn. The lights represent the stars and planets above Pittsburgh when Annie was born. That date and the star coordinates give the work its title: 7:11 AM, 11.20.1979, 80° W, 26°, 40’ N. By day, visitors may discover some of the 150 granite discs that surround the lights, each engraved with astronomical coordinates and a short phrase that expresses the most interesting thing about that sky object. After dark, visitors see the night sky twinkling from the lawn. The artist’s careful consideration of material, environment and audience, in addition to Annie’s spirit, resulted in a holistic work that can be understood not only as a commemoration, but also as a sublime counterpart to an already beautiful and tranquil natural environment. In 2016, the Parks Conservancy opened the Frick Environmental Center, the world’s first municipally owned “Living Building” that is free and open to the public. The center is situated in the Nine Mile Run Watershed, home of the city’s largest free-flowing stream. The entire design project used an ecological approach to net zero water management on the site, including the capture and


Conservation Through Art

infiltration or reuse of all rainwater. From the point of conceptual design, the team included water artist Stacy Levy as a collaborator to explore and identify ways to tell the rain story in a playful and engaging way. Levy’s artwork offers space for water interactions while capturing rainwater from the center’s roof and conveying it to a wetland treatment area. A veil of rain sheets off the long eave, just beyond the glass gallery wall, onto a gravel bed, to be piped under a stair tower and dropped down into a channel through the amphitheater. Rain Ravine presents layers of stone slabs as a three-dimensional topographic map that reflects the park’s geology and stream valley. According to Levy, “The artwork gives a place-based experience to the visitor, and a sense of the patterns of ‘water at work’ in the park.” The shallow stone layers allow for easy access to explore and play, encouraging use in all weather — especially in the rain! Artists who draw people into the story of a place help to conserve that place. They create a channel for people to tune in to nature and culture. By aligning project goals with artistic intent, such works offer powerful experiences that can lead to new awareness and a heightened sense of the value of parks. Susan M. Rademacher is Parks Curator for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy (srademacher@pittsburghparks.org). Gavin White is Community Projects Manager for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy (gwhite@pittsburghparks.org).

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Panelists at the School Superintendents Shared Use Symposium in Los Angeles (above); children (at right) participating in People for Parks activities.



H E A LT H & W E L L N E S S

Fostering Health and Wellness Through Shared-Use Facilities By Clement Lau


os Angeles County residents need more parks and recreational facilities in which to play and exercise. This is clear based on data from the 2016 Countywide Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment (https://lacountyparkneeds.org/final-report/), which revealed that nearly 53 percent of L.A. County’s 10 million residents live in areas with high to very high park need. The report also points out that due to a lack of vacant land, local agencies must pursue innovative solutions and creative partnerships, such as joint use and reuse of schools and other public facilities, to expand park opportunities and meet the needs of communities, especially those that are underserved.

Converting School Assets into Shared-Use Facilities Increasing access to recreational amenities that already exist at schools is one of the most effective ways to provide more opportunities for physical activity and play. After all, even the most under-resourced neighborhoods have schools. With budget and other constraints, max34 Parks & Recreation

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imizing access to existing facilities — rather than constructing new ones — is the most efficient and economical use of public resources. Mercy Santoro, deputy director of the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), says, “As cities and counties become more built out and with resources stretched thin or

even being eliminated, shared use of our collective resources becomes even more imperative.” Schools already offer recreational amenities that may be made available to the public during after-school hours. In addition, asphalt lots on school grounds may be converted to new, attractive playgrounds and grass fields open to the community. However, many schools in L.A. County are often inaccessible to residents on weekday evenings and weekends since school districts typically keep their facilities locked due to liability concerns and/or limited resources to address maintenance needs that might arise from the use of school property beyond regular school hours. School superintendents may

also lack the data necessary to better understand and make informed decisions regarding how their facilities may meet community health and recreation needs.

The JUMPP Coalition The Los Angeles County Joint/ Shared-Use Moving People to Play (JUMPP) Coalition (http:// publichealth.lacounty.gov/cardio/ jumpp/) seeks to promote and expand shared use as a means to improve public health. JUMPP is a collaborative of school, park, health, faith, for-profit and community-based organizations working together to foster access to safe physical activity spaces for all L.A. County residents. Its goals are: • Facilitate the development, implementation and monitoring of policies and practices to increase community access to spaces and facilities for physical activity and recreation. • Convene partners to foster collaboration, share successes and challenges and advance shared use. • Communicate and disseminate shared-use successes and challenges. DPR and the Department of Public Health (DPH) (http://pub lichealth.lacounty.gov/) are partners in leading the JUMPP effort. When asked why their department is involved in shared use, Eloisa Gonzalez, M.D., and Ruth Bell of DPH’s cardiovascular and school health program, explain, “DPH’s mission is to promote health and well-being, ensuring everyone has opportunities and resources for optimal health. Shared use is a solution that offers multiple benefits for health by linking people to resourc

es, like recreational spaces and access to outdoor green areas.”

JUMPP Initiatives and Partnerships In the fall of 2018, JUMPP conducted the School Superintendents Shared Use Symposium to discuss how shared use can be a way to address health equity. The convening provided an opportunity for participants to gain insights from leaders in the fields of parks, public health and education. According to Santoro, “JUMPP identified a need to further engage school districts as part of its 2018 strategic directions. This engagement was designed to be a fluid and ongoing discussion that integrates school and community health data to create new knowledge and approaches to shared use among school districts, government and community leaders.” The symposium was well-received, with most participants providing positive feedback in a post-event survey. As Santoro summarizes, “School superintendents and key leaders in the community, who have been at the forefront of some truly innovative programs around shared use, offered valuable insights and lessons learned. Some of the points focused on developing the whole child through alignment of services and support, providing expected outcomes and mechanisms to measure the impact and to create multi-agency collective impact initiatives to address school and community health needs.” JUMPP initiatives like the symposium tie in well with park planning efforts at DPR. Kathline King, chief of planning, says, “Being part of JUMPP has informed the plan-

ning work that we do and helped us to develop and strengthen relationships with our partners in public health and education fields. It has also facilitated the sharing of information, including data from the Parks Needs Assessment as well as health and wellness data from various sources.” Another key member of JUMPP is People for Parks (PFP) (www. peopleforparks.org/), a nonprofit organization created to transform school playgrounds into Community School Parks (CSP) that are available for use during non-school hours, giving children and families the outdoor space they need to lead healthy lives. Opening school grounds and creating a CSP not only makes kids and parents happy, but also helps to expand a community’s relationship with its school in ways that improve educational and health outcomes. In other words, CSPs enable schools to better serve the whole child and truly become the heart of neighborhoods. PFP does not do this alone; it collaborates with various partners and has received generous support from numerous donors. “We work closely with parents and neighbors to ensure that these spaces are vibrant and reflective of each community’s interests,” says Anna Gruben, executive director of PFP. “The need for enriching neighborhood hubs like these is far too great for any one organization or agency to manage alone. We invite others to join us in expanding shared use throughout L.A.” Clement Lau, AICP, DPPD, is a Departmental Facilities Planner with the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, and a member of NRPA’s Health and Wellness Advisory Panel (clau@parks.lacounty.gov).

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‘BRIDGE-ing’ the Gap Contemporary programming for males in Generation ‘Next’ By Elliott Brown, B.S., and Marcus Coates, M.P.A.


oung men of color across the country are facing tumultuous times, during which several external factors come into play to determine their future successes or failures. These young men are having trouble graduating from school, are encountering the criminal justice system at an alarming rate, find themselves amongst some of the lowest waged workers and are dying at an alarming rate. This is not to say that their destiny is predetermined. Key indicators can provide a glimpse into the potential of negative outcomes for males in Generation Z. From the moment these known precursors become apparent, they can be countered with guidance and care through quality, outcome-based programming. Developing the training presentation for “BRIDGE-ing the Gap” was a labor of love for us, as we have spent our careers doing the very work we describe here. We have used the science of youth development — including cognitive, social and physical development — as components of our presentation, along with some of the key indicators we researched and observed.

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What It Takes Support systems are important in helping young people develop into life-long learners and responsible, civic-minded adults. Caring adults, positive relationships with peers, food, water, shelter and proper clothing all work together to help them focus in the classroom, develop appropriate relationships with

others, find their sense of self/balance and grow overall. During our “What It Takes” icebreaker, we remove these structures one by one to demonstrate how difficult it becomes to manage growth in the absence of these supportive structures. Organizations and municipal agencies, such as park and recreation departments, can step into this void to enhance the lives of young people.

Social Issues Young men of color, especially in urban environments like our nation’s capital, face a litany of obstacles: low graduation rates, alarming rates of incarceration, teen pregnancy and even death, to name a few. The average young man of color is either directly impacted by one

of these socioeconomic issues or is only removed by a couple degrees of separation. This can cause mental, physical and emotional stress, which, in turn, creates a barrier to achieving success in the form of gainful employment, college acceptance and attendance, and strong mental and emotional health. Professionals within recreation and leisure services can help counteract some of the issues young men of color face. One approach is the “if you build it, (they) will come” idea first made famous in movies, such as “Field of Dreams” and “Wayne’s World 2.” For example, the District of Columbia Department of Parks and Recreation has spent tens of millions of dollars building and renovating its facilities to provide adequate space and amenities for all our constituents. If we create welcoming, bright spaces, our youth, particularly young men, will come to play, learn and socialize. Another important park and rec role is the facilitation of positive relationships with adults. Taken together, the welcoming facilities and opportunities for positive adult interactions through program and activity development afford these young men a safe, comfortable space where they can relax, find mentors, and learn and grow.

Unlocking the Potential BRIDGE stands for bonding, realism, identity, dreams, goal setting and exposure. These critical aspects of youth development, used in combination or individually, can help young people overcome most obstacles and begin to unlock their full potential. The following list includes a definition of these terms, the key skill-builders and best methods to achieve success:

Bonding builds strong relationships with participants by developing trust, providing consistency and care, and modeling positive behaviors. • Key skill builders: character and leadership • Best methods: talk, listen, establish and enforce rules, spend time together and be consistent Realism helps individuals develop an understanding of the issues that surround them by focusing on the “why” to understand the reasons problems exist and how to address them. • Key skill builders: resiliency, mental durability, awareness, coping and honesty • Best methods: present facts, be clear and direct, and share past experiences Identity helps develop an evaluation of self. Focuses on the question, “Who am I?” • Key skill builders: independence, self-awareness and discipline • Best methods: emphasize health values, highlight passions and strengths, support self-motivated activities and provide opportunities for them to help others Dreams develop aspirations, whether unrealistic or practical. • Key skill builders: creativity and ambition • Best methods: provide resources needed for creative expression, allow autonomy to explore ideas and ask questions that spark dialogue Goals develop (short-, mid- and long-term) objectives and plans that can be revisited. • Key skill builders: strategic planning and time management • Best methods: be supportive, develop S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-specific) goals and create a

S.W.O.T (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis. Exposure develops an understanding of the infinite opportunities at their disposal. • Key skill builders: learning, conflict resolution and sense of higher purpose • Best methods: build effective community partnerships to leverage resources, provide workforce opportunities and create diverse programs and special events

Tools for Positive Impact When developing a recreation center’s programmatic offerings, it is important to determine the likes and dislikes of the young men being served. Enlist their feedback about ongoing programs and activities, use outcome-based programming and keep them interested by engaging them in social activities with their peers (especially with those individuals who they do not know). This allows them to practice the skills they’re being taught and to build meaningful bonds with other young people. Finally, be sure to give them access to new ideas and opportunities. Like their peers, young men of color need to be nurtured and supported, and park and recreation professionals can provide just that. We have a responsibility to do the best we can to foster relationships, set good examples, provide opportunities and show these young men they can be successful. Now that you are thinking about the impact that you can make, how will you be “BRIDGE-ing” the gap? Elliott Brown, B.S., is Recreation Manager for D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation (elliott.brown@dc.gov). Marcus Coates, M.P.A., is Interim Chief of Community Recreation for D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation (marcus.coates@dc.gov).

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THREE WAYS PROPANE MOWERS CAN SUPPORT MUNICIPAL PARKS IT CAN BE CHALLENGING for parks departments to meet the demands of managing many greenspaces while staying


on budget and on time. On top of this, private donors and boards are increasingly requesting that funds be directed toward more energy efficient, and sometimes costly, improvements.

Parks can see a potential

30 – 50% REDUCTION in fuel costs, compared to gasoline.

However, there is an alternative fuel that can help parks of all sizes manage these challenges and continue to meet, or even exceed, the expectations

Propane mowers produce

of local residents, visitors, and budgets — propane.


Municipalities using propane-powered mowers, or accepting bids for fleets that operate with the

greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline.

alternative fuel, can benefit from the fuel’s reduced emissions, low costs, and refueling options that can increase crew productivity.

Quick refueling process

REDUCES DOWNTIME normally spent at gas stations.



For decades, gasoline equipment was the default option for keeping greenspaces well maintained. But the equipment is increasingly facing regulations as research continues to show that the small gasoline engines on commercial mowers and handheld equipment are major contributors to pollution.



Parks managers and superintendents are often very aware of their annual budgets, particularly in planning around capital projects, such as new recreational facilities, expanding trails, and renovations to existing facilities. With propane mowers, parks can see fuel costs reduced by as much as 30-50 percent compared to regular octane gasoline, allowing those funds to be relegated toward other projects. One reason for propane’s lower fuel costs is that the price of propane traditionally falls between the prices of natural gas and oil. This greatly limits market price fluctuations compared to the wild price swings that gasoline and diesel often have in a given season. Propane is also widely available across the United States. In fact, approximately 90 percent of the propane in the U.S. is also produced within the country, which helps insulate costs from the whims of the global oil market and can be a huge help when it comes time to plan budgets.


In contrast, a study commissioned by the Propane Education & Research Council found that propane mowers produce fewer emissions than gasoline-equivalent units, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent, nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions by 19 percent, and sulfur oxide (SOx) emissions by 16 percent. Propane mowers also meet — and often exceed — emissions standards in municipalities or regions affected by “ozone action days” that otherwise limit use of equipment with internal combustion engines. Because of this, parks can keep summer employees and daily maintenance from being sidelined during a busy season. The fuel is also recognized by the EPA as a non-contaminant of air, soil, and water, making it safer to use around residents and visitors who enjoy park greenspaces than gasoline, which contains harmful chemicals and can cause damage to grass and grounds if spilled.



Propane mowers offer several advantages to daily productivity, too, allowing crews to get work done faster and move on to other projects. For one, full propane cylinders can be delivered to a park’s fleet facility or easily filled up from a bulk tank at the end of the day so that crews can quickly load full tanks onto equipment at the start of their day and head directly to a site. Additional full cylinders can even be loaded onto trailers to swap out with empty cylinders during the day, eliminating the need to stop at gasoline refueling stations.


To learn more about how propane mowers can be used by parks and see case studies of current parks departments using the fuel, visit Propane.com/Resources-for-Municipalities.

a n B la ci NRPA’s Park n and Recreatior Month Cove r e Contest winn 2019.

This year’s winning Park and Recreation Month Cover Contest photo captures the two most popular leisure activities in South Florida: enjoying the water and fishing. 40 Parks & Recreation

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g in Act Beach, pier and ocean usage at Juno Beach Park By Cort Jones



t’s no easy task to narrow down hundreds of photos of people enjoying their local parks or recreation centers to a group of just 10 finalists. Each photo tells the story of a community providing opportunities for the people who live there to have healthier, happier, more fulfilling lives. Local park and recreation agencies make their communities better, and the 2019 Park and Recreation Month Cover Contest — as it does every single year — perfectly captured that in the hundreds of photos that were submitted from across the country. It was a fierce competition when the 10 finalist photos were selected and put to a public vote on Facebook in late May. But on May 24, a photo taken by Bob Gibson was crowned the winner — and cover photo for the July issue of Parks & Recreation magazine — with a total of 1,136 Facebook “likes.” Gibson, who lives in Palm Beach County, Florida, takes photos while visiting the various parks in the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department’s system and sends them to the department to use and, hopefully, to help raise awareness about its offerings. The beloved Juno Beach Pier and Juno Beach Park — part of Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department — that graces the cover of this issue is home to a variety of recreation activities, amenities, conservation initiatives and volunteer opportunities, and is a favorite spot among locals and visitors alike. Parks & Recreation magazine recently sat down with Chris Korbelak, CPRP, manager of the office of public engagement for Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, to talk about W W W. PA R K S A N D R E C R E AT I O N . O R G | J U LY 2 0 1 9 |

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Sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest.

Parks & Recreation: The Juno Beach Pier at Juno Beach Park is home to the Responsible Pier Initiative, what can you tell me about that? Chris Korbelak: Florida’s east coast is home to some of the most heavily used sea turtle nesting beaches in the United States. Each year, thousands of sea turtles are accidentally hooked or become entangled because of recreational fishing. Anglers often cut their line instead of attempting to assist with rescue efforts out of fear of prosecution or negative attention. The Responsible Pier Initiative is a first-of-its-kind program, designed by Loggerhead Marinelife Center as a collaborative tool to work directly with people who fish and fishing piers. The purpose of these efforts is to provide responders on fishing piers with the necessary resources to effectively rescue sea turtles that are injured or stranded on or around fishing piers. The program, which has spread to 65 piers worldwide, has recorded 629 reported interactions, 547 sea turtle rescues and more than 18,000 pounds of debris removal. If your agency is interested in bringing the Responsible Pier Initiative to a pier near you, contact Katie O’Hara, Loggerhead Marinelife Center conservation coordinator, at koha ra@marinelife.org. A beach safety presentation and rescue demonstration.

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the Responsible Pier Initiative at Juno Beach Pier and learn more about some of the events at Juno Beach Park and how the community rallied around the photo that Korbelak submitted to get it on this year’s cover.

P&R: What other kinds of conservation or environmental initiatives are going on at Juno Beach Park? Korbelak: Juno Beach Park is part of a 9.5-mile stretch of prime sea turtle nesting beach that Logger-

head Marinelife Center monitors. During the first half of this year, the Marinelife Center recorded 8,293 nests from various species, including Loggerhead, Leatherback and Green sea turtles. In addition to regular beach and underwater cleanups, balloons are prohibited at the park to promote the safety and protection of sea turtles. Hospital staff at the Marinelife Center regularly treat turtles with complications due to marine debris ingestion. Balloons are often released — purposefully or by accident — and end up littering the ocean. Deflated balloons resemble jellies, a common prey for sea turtle species. P&R: What kinds of recreation opportunities are available at Juno Beach Park, and how many people can you find enjoying the beach on a typical day? Korbelak: Juno Beach Park is popular for a fun, relaxing day in the sun along the shore. It offers 300 feet of guarded beach along the Atlantic Ocean. Surfing, paddle boarding (as seen in the photo) and fishing are permitted outside the guarded swimming areas. The Juno Beach Pier extends 990 feet and includes a bait shop with a snack bar. The park also includes single-table picnic shelters, restrooms and outdoor showers. There are also no parking or entrance fees. In the summer, between 800 and 1,000 people visit this popular beach daily. In fiscal year 2018, the beach had 482,115 visitors. The pier averages 110,000 visitors per year. P&R: The photo that is on the cover of this issue had 1,136 likes on Facebook at the voting deadline for the 2019 Park and Recreation Month Cover Contest.

Can you tell me a little bit about how the community rallied to make this happen? Korbelak: Juno Beach Park, the Juno Beach Pier and Loggerhead Marinelife Center are some of the most treasured destinations among locals and visitors in northern Palm Beach County. Both of our organizations have a huge social media following that strongly supports our conservation efforts. Once the photo album went up, the contest image was shared with local municipalities, partner agencies, park patrons, employees and even the media. They embraced the opportunity to share their love of the park by participating in the contest and sharing with their friends. The photo not only re-

Juno Beach Park, the Juno Beach Pier and Loggerhead Marinelife Center are some of the most treasured destinations among locals and visitors in northern Palm Beach County. ceived an overwhelming number of likes and hearts, but it also quickly became an online community where participants reminisced and shared stories about their park and the impact it has had in their lives. P&R: Why did you choose to submit this photo? Korbelak: One of the main reasons visitors come to Palm Beach County is to enjoy the beach, and

Creating Fun Ways to Spray & Play! From contemporary designs to fun themes, we work with you to develop innovative aquatic play equipment and environments. CONTACT US FOR YOUR NEXT AQUATIC PLAY EXPERIENCE. 512.392.1155 | www.waterodyssey.com

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2019 Park and Recreation Month Cover Contest Finalists

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Bismarck Parks and Recreation District (North Dakota)

City of Miami Beach Parks and Recreation Department (Florida)

City of Reno Parks, Recreation & Community Services (Nevada)

Grapevine Parks & Recreation (Texas)

Wellesley Recreation (Massachusetts)

Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (Minnesota)

San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department (Texas)

Town of Castle Rock Parks and Recreation (Colorado)

Whitehall Parks and Recreation (Ohio)

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Anglers enjoy a day of fishing off the Juno Beach Pier at Juno Beach Park in Florida.

Juno Beach Park is one of the local favorites. Enjoying the water and fishing are two of the most popular leisure activities in South Florida, and this photo captured the moment. Although not visible in the photo, Palm Beach County’s United States Lifesaving Association (USLA)-certified Ocean Rescue staff works to reduce the incidence of death and injury at all beaches through public education, adhering to national lifeguard standards, ongoing training programs and promotion of high levels of lifeguard readiness. At Juno Beach Park, the staff is challenged with safely balancing beach, pier and ocean usage among swimmers, surfers, people fishing and families wishing to enjoy the beach. This balance ensures that all these groups have some time to enjoy the park and the wonderful natural resources it encompasses. P&R: How does it feel to know your beloved park is featured on the cover? What does that mean for Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department and the entire community? Korbelak: We are thrilled the Juno Beach Park and Juno Beach Pier are featured on the cover of Parks & Recreation magazine. This park is an awesome example of a free opportunity for public access to enjoy the Florida coastline, dune ecology and water recreation. Our team takes great pride in maintaining this park and providing public safety ocean rescue services to visitors. With more than 5.4 million visits to all our beach parks last year, it’s clear the public loves our parks as

much as we do. The opportunity to share, through this image, the important balance of public access, environmental stewardship and outdoor recreation is invaluable. P&R: And, since it’s July, what kinds of things does the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department have lined up for Park and Recreation Month? Korbelak: In addition to winning the cover contest, the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department is also very excited to introduce our new mascot during Park and Recreation Month! The mascot, a friendly squirrel, named Oakly, will be making appearances at summer camps and a variety of events for the first time throughout the month to help participants get their Game On!

This park is an awesome example of a free opportunity for public access to enjoy the Florida coastline, dune ecology and water recreation. As for Gibson, we’d say he’s been successful in his goal of raising awareness about Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department’s offerings through photos. To learn more about how you can get involved with Park and Recreation Month and promote the widespread benefits of local parks and recreation to your community, visit www.nrpa.org/july. Cort Jones is NRPA’s Communications Manager (cjones@nrpa.org).

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Lynchburg (Virginia) Parks & Recreation unveils a new Sibshop program that provides support for siblings of special needs children By Vitisia Paynich


ebekah Meadows was sorting through her mail one day when she came across the Lynchburg (Virginia) Parks & Recreation community resource guide. She flipped through the publication, scanning the various activities and program offerings when one listing piqued her interest: Sibshop training. “It really caught me off guard, but it was exciting because I’d been following that particular group for about 10 years,” says Meadows, an LPC outpatient therapist at Impact Living Services. “I’ve read their books and just kept up with [Sibshops] on social media.” Sarah Viar, a mother of three and wife of an active duty military service member, learned about the facilitator training via social media. She says a friend shared the Lynchburg Parks & Rec post announcing its Sibshop event. After clicking the registration link, Viar signed up herself and her 9-yearold son, Caleb. “I think the timing was just right,” she admits. “I was sort of looking for something to be a part of that I could contribute to in a positive way.” Sibshops are recreational gatherings that offer siblings of

special needs children the opportunity to meet and connect with other sibs like them. These events encourage participants to have fun, laugh, as well as openly discuss the good and not­-so­ good aspects of having a sibling with special needs. What’s more, Sibshops enable these typically developing children to learn firsthand about the services their brothers and sisters receive while offering a positive and stress-free experience. In early March 2019, Lynchburg Parks & Recreation hosted a two-day Sibshop training for park and rec staff, healthcare professionals, parents and community members interested in becoming certified Sibshop facilitators. Families and typically developing siblings were invited to partake in a demonstration on the second day.

Sibshops’ Origins In the United States, 56.7 million people have disabilities, while approximately 4.5 million include people diagnosed with intellectual or developmental disabilities. The Sibshops concept came about in 1982 when Don Meyer, then a University of Washington special education graduate student, and his colleagues began studying how disability or any kind of mental health or developmental concerns impact not only the person with the diagnosis or the caregiver taking that individual to and from therapy and doctor appointments, but also the entire family unit. Meyer established the Sibshop model because he wanted to create a support program for school-age brothers and sisters in a highly recreational setting with a huge emphasis on fun. Meyer’s early work led to the founding of the Sibling Support Project in 1990, a national program dedicated to brothers and sisters of individuals with special needs. Headquartered in

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In March 2019, Lynchburg Parks & Recreation began the first day of Sibshop training.

Bellevue, Washington, the Sibling Support Project is now part of the Kindering Program, an organization that provides education and therapies to special needs children. Emily Holl, director of Sibling Support Project, says, “Traditionally, there haven’t been a lot of support services for siblings the same way that there are for parents.” She adds that research shows sibling experiences parallel parent experiences, “and brothers and sisters have many, if not most, of the same concerns as parents of children with special needs.” However, fewer opportunities exist for typically developing brothers and sisters to connect. To date, there are nearly 500 Sibshops throughout the United States and in eight other countries. Observing the Program Kelsey Laubach, community recreation programmer for Lynchburg 48 Parks & Recreation

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Parks & Recreation, first discovered Sibshops when she was in college working on her master’s degree in therapeutic recreation. One of her professors had completed the Sibshop training, and a friend, also trained as a second-generation facilitator, was now running Sibshops in Oshkosh and Appleton, Wisconsin. Laubach decided to visit her friend and check out her Sibshops. “Just seeing my first one, I was hooked right away,” she recalls. “They were amazing! They gave the children an opportunity to discuss what was going on in their family, how they were feeling, and it was with other kids who knew exactly what they were going through.” She says the second Sibshop featured a “Date with My Dad” theme. The children then had a chance to talk directly to their parent and share their feelings. Some

talked about having their needs met second or constantly having to adjust because their sibling needed something else, while others discussed how they felt having to always go to the hospital instead of hanging out with friends. As for the dads, Laubach says, “It was really hard for them to hear, but at the same time, it was really important [that they did] and just take that afternoon and spend time with their child.” Laubach’s experience in Wisconsin inspired her to visit the Sibling Support Project website to look up the nearest Virginia-based Sibshop. “I discovered that the closest one following this program was more than two hours away, which is a lot to ask of a family…,” she notes. Recognizing a need for a Sibshop in her community, Laubach contacted Holl at Sibling Support Project during fall of 2018 to learn how she could launch a program in Lynchburg. Holl recalled her conversation with Laubach, who, she says, “was just waiting to find the right opportunity in her own professional journey to be able to offer Sibshops, because she was so impressed by the model and really thought it would be a great service to families.” Sibshop Comes to Lynchburg Holl led the first day of Sibshop training in Lynchburg by providing an overview of the program and its origins. Those in attendance included Laubach and Rachel Smith, Lynchburg’s community recreation programmer — both first-generation facilitator trainees — and 18 other participants, including Re-

bekah Meadows and Sarah Viar who were also training as facilitators. Taunya Bryant, another special needs mom, also signed up for the training. She is an ID case manager/support coordinator for Horizon Behavioral Health, a healthcare services organization that provides case and medication management, psychiatric services and crisis stabilization. Although her son has since passed away, Bryant says, “I’ve always been interested in programs for special needs children and siblings as well.” One of the highlights was the afternoon sibs panel. “It’s adults who have a sibling with special needs,” Laubach explains. “It’s really powerful to be able to hear from siblings about their experiences and to be able to ask them questions,” Holl contends. In fact, Laubach says one of the Lynchburg Parks & Rec staff members volunteered to sit on the panel. “He was in our marketing department and working on my stuff [when] he said to me: ‘Well, I think this kind of relates to me.’ But, he had never really talked about it before,” she recalls. “The second day was a handson training, which was super fun,” Bryant says. “We had children come in who helped us assist with [presenting] an actual Sibshop, so that we could see firsthand how a Sibshop is run and learn the different types of games and activities you do and get that feedback.” The demonstration Sibshop on day two encouraged parents to bring in the siblings. Among those

who participated was Viar’s son, Caleb, who is big brother to his special-needs sister, Adley, age 5. “He had a great time,” says Viar, “and he got to talk about things I don’t think we bring up on a daily basis. They definitely [allowed] him to express himself and he enjoyed that. He [also] enjoyed having other kids in the group who were able to express their own experiences.” Viar says that the only downside to the Sibshop, according to her son, was that she was present. “I think that it’s definitely a setting where if I was a facilitator, he would not be a part of [it]. I would want him to have his own experience,” she explains. Thus, Viar would make sure that she would either find a different Sibshop, or if they had to go to the same one, they would just go on different days. Holl notes that during the demonstration Sibshops, in most cases, the kids in attendance have

never met before. “We rarely have kids who know one another,” she says. “They come in very uncertain and maybe a little timid, and it’s such a quick transformation. Usually by lunch, the kids are sitting together, talking and having a great time. With the trainees and the adults who participate, we do a debrief after the Sibshop, and time and time again, people comment on how quickly the kids open up. I think it’s really nice that it’s a mix of discussion and recreational activities.” Meadows had an opportunity to speak to one of the parents whose son attended the demo Sibshop. “This particular mother just did a beautiful job of recognizing the importance of needing to do a little extra something for the siblings as well,” she says. “What I loved about it was her sense of trust in the process, because I think when you have a

Sibshop trainer, Emily Holl (standing left), conducts an exercise designed to get kids sharing their thoughts about having a special needs sibling.

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Parks & Recreation



A long string represents a “feeling” spectrum during one of the sibling activities.

of heavier topics related to having a sibling with special needs.

child with a disability, sometimes, you’re just tired [from] your kids, you’re worn out and for this specific group of people, I would imagine it would be very challenging to trust a group of people with another one of your babies. But, she was able to vocalize how much she appreciated it and really understood what Sibshop was and what it wasn’t. It was just a wonderful conversation.” Creating Partnerships During the two-day training, Laubach managed to forge partnerships with Bryant and Horizon Behavioral Health, and with Meadows, who is an outpatient therapist. “While we were doing the training, we all just got together and discussed having them [cofacilitate] the Sibshop,” says Laubach. “And the nice thing about that is it doesn’t all fall on one person.” Since the training, Lynchburg 50 Parks & Recreation

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Parks & Recreation has rolled out its Sibshops Summer Series. The first one, “Sibshop in the Kitchen,” took place June 5 at Miller Center, while the second, “Explore Ivy Creek,” will be held July 2 at Ivy Creek Park. Rounding out the summer, the third Sibshop, “Family Picnic and Pool Party,” will take place August 8 at Miller Park. Although a typical Sibshop is designed for siblings ages 8 to 13, Laubach believes in looking more at the entire family. “My goal is to run a Sibshop or [a] family event at least once a month,” she says. However, she admits that Sibling Support Project’s Holl has cautioned against offering too many, whereby kids begin thinking they “have to” attend another workshop and “talk about things.” She says her intent is to keep the program moving and make sure that sibs are having fun, but they’ll still have an opportunity to discuss those kinds

Final Thoughts Why is parks and recreation a good fit for Sibshops? “I truly believe that park and recreation departments are really the heart and soul of their community,” contends Holl. “And, I love that more park and rec departments are thinking about inclusion and ways that they can create opportunities for families of kids with disabilities and other diagnoses to really be part of that community and to enjoy the same kinds of activities that everyone in the community has access to. I also love the idea of Sibshops being offered through parks and rec, because it’s just a go-to place for families looking for activities for their kids that are going to nurture and help them grow, and Sibshops are certainly an opportunity for young brothers and sisters to do that.” If you’re interested in starting your own Sibshop at your park agency or to learn more about the program, visit www.siblingsupport.org.

Sibshop Resources Sibling Support Project www.siblingsupport.org Arc 3 Siblings - www.youtube. com/watch?v=Ve-yGz5KzYs   “20/20” Report on an autistic boy www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxVt Js-ZtW8 Vitisia Paynich is a Southern Californiabased Freelance Writer for Parks & Recreation magazine.

Are you ready to dance? Take the #ParkRecTwoStepChallenge for the chance to win WEEKLY PRIZES!

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Disability Rights Activist Haben Girma to Deliver Closing General Session Keynote


aben Girma is many things, including an American disability rights activist, lawyer, author, speaker and the first deafblind graduate of Harvard Law School. Girma, who travels the world teaching the benefits of choosing inclusion and advocating for equal opportunities for people with disabilities, believes disability is an opportunity for innovation. In 2013, for her advocacy on behalf of deafblind individuals and her efforts in promoting educational excellence for AfricanAmericans, Girma was named a “White House Champion of

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Change” by President Barack Obama. Three years later, she made the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, and in 2018, was one of three individuals selected by the American Foundation for the Blind to

receive the Helen Keller Achievement Award. Germa’s work has also garnered her international recognition from Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and she’s been honored by President Bill Clinton. Parks & Recreation magazine spoke with Germa, who’ll share more about her passions and thoughts on an inclusive world during the Closing General Session


bility survey of their programs and services to identify barriers. Accessibility consultants can help with this. Once you’ve identified the barriers, work to remove them. Some barriers include paths that are not wheelchair accessible and the absence of maps and program information in accessible formats. P&R: You have accomplished and experienced more than many people have in a lifetime. What keeps you motivated? Girma: My strong sense of curiosity keeps me motivated. I want to experience as much as I can in this ever-surprising world.

of the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference on September 26 in Baltimore. Parks & Recreation: What has been your biggest success so far? Haben Girma: I recently finished writing my first book, and I’m excited to share it with the world. Haben The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law comes out on August 6. Through engaging stories, the book teaches people to identify barriers to access and advocate for their removal. P&R: Since becoming a lawyer to advocate for those with disabilities, have you seen progress? Girma: Overall, people with disabilities have greater access now than in the past. We’ve witnessed both progress and setbacks. We continue to educate organizations and advocate for greater inclusion.

P&R: What do you think an inclusive world would look like? Girma: An inclusive world is one where people with disabilities have all the same choices available as the non-disabled. P&R: What is one thing individuals could do to learn/ educate themselves to create more inclusive communities? Girma: When you don’t know something about disability, respectfully ask a question rather than making assumptions. Take the time to learn how to make your organization more accessible. P&R: What can/should park and rec agencies do/be doing to make parks and recreation more inclusive? What are some of the biggest barriers? Girma: Park and recreation agencies should conduct an accessi-

P&R: Teenagers today, whether from affluent or low-income families, are facing a variety of challenges and stress. What advice would you offer them as they try to write their own adventures? Girma: As I was growing up, I discovered kayaking, rock climbing, skiing, ice skating, river rafting and surfing. Through the process of learning to participate in these sports, I discovered new things about myself. Embrace your curiosity and allow it to help you discover new aspects of yourself and your world. Seek out others who share your interest and build communities around those interests. Learn more of Girma’s story during the Closing General Session, Thursday, September 26, 2019, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Baltimore Convention Center Ballroom.

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Parks & Recreation




A1 Chops: Livin’ Their Dream in Baltimore There is a down-to-earth vibe and exuberance that exude from the drumming duo Timothy Fletcher and Malik Perry, who make up A1 Chops. Fletcher and Perry, who look like they could be twins, met during band practice at Edmondson-Westside High School in Baltimore, Maryland, their hometown. They founded A1 Chops in 2014, playing on snare drums around the city. “Our favorite place to play,” says Perry, “was downtown at the Inner Harbor.” Four years later, these pretty much selftaught musicians would be invited to showcase their talent on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” after a video of them performing singer Ciara’s “Level Up” went viral and caught DeGeneres’ attention. When not performing on the streets of Baltimore, the two rising stars visit local schools to not only encourage, but also to inspire the youth of Baltimore to follow their dreams and make them a reality! When asked how they got their start, Fletcher explains: “We wanted to take drumming serious and always thought it looked cool and wanted to take it to the big stages, so we came up with ideas to become known, like street performing. We both had the same vision. We hope our act makes the community believe that no matter what you do, if you follow your dreams, they can come true.” A1 Chops has performed on “The Ellen Show” several times, where Fletcher and Perry were able to show music legend Pharrell Williams their amazing drumming skills. They’ve also received mention on Ciara’s Instagram for their “Level Up Challenge,” as well as performed with rapper Young Dolph and opened for rapper Tory Lanez. In early January 2019, Fletcher and Perry, who are dedicated to giving back to the community they credit with their success, learned A1 Chops would be featured on DeGeneres’ new web-based series, “The Build Up.” Over the course of six episodes, the show will follow them as they work to rebuild parts of Baltimore. They’ve already put up a community mural, helped renovate the music room at their old high school and performed at a Baltimore Ravens game at M&T Bank Stadium. With their increasing fame, Perry credits putting God first with helping them manage the demands on their time and energy. Perry adds: “We communicate and do not let other people change our personality or persuade us to be something we are not.”

Don’t miss A1 Chops’ energizing performance during the Closing General Session, Thursday, September 26, 2019, 4 p.m. - 5 p.m.

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N R PA . O R G / C O N F E R E N C E



Education Highlights: The Magic of Modification


ave you ever had a great idea, only to find out later that someone else had the same idea and has already implemented it? Ever think to yourself, “That’s a great idea, but I would have done it differently”? Come to the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, and you’re sure to not only be inspired by the more than 40 education sessions within the Recreation and Sports Programming track, but also come away with your next great programming idea. It’s a two-step process. Step one: select a session that features an idea you like. Here are just a few options: Train the Trainer: Incorporating Floorball into Your Existing Sports Programming Looking for a sport that engages a broader population than traditional sports? Come, learn about Floorball. It’s similar to floor hockey but differs in key areas, such as the equipment needed and the rules of the game — both of which are focused around safety and inclusion. Attendees will learn the history of the sport, get a crash course on all aspects of the game, learn how to effectively market the program to the community and get hands-on training playing the game. If you’re looking for the next big thing to bring to your programming and get hands-on learning at the same time, this program will certainly do that. Come ready to engage, move and have fun! Speaker: David Crawford, Floorball Guru, LLC E-Sports: Get in the Game E-sports is an explosive, billion-dollar industry. Are you and your department ready for its impact on community recreation? This session will explore the hard data and take an honest look at the issues involved in bringing e-sports to your commu-

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nity centers. From space planning in an existing facility and design of a new facility, to the legal implications, we will discuss all angles of the issues involved in incorporating e-sports into your programming. The e-sports wave is coming, and it’s time to get in the game! Speakers: Craig Bouck, Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture; Mick Massey, Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture Not Another Ball Game: Diverse Programs for Diverse Populations Diversity surrounds us, but do we program for it? Or, do we continue with traditional programming, leaving some residents behind, denying them the physical and psychological benefits of recreation programming? Traditional programs, such as sports leagues, camps or afterschool programs are of great worth, but diverse interests require diverse programs! This session will discuss dimensions of diversity, behavior and life stages as it relates to programming. We’ll share four specific programs that Idaho Falls Parks and Rec offered to reach new people in new ways. NRPA advocates that park and rec agencies embrace social equi-

ty. Social equity means embracing the philosophy that “it is a right, not a privilege” for our residents to expect agencies to think beyond the traditional programs that flood our agencies and to provide diverse programming for diverse interests. Speakers: Roberto Abreo, City of Idaho Falls Parks and Recreation; Chris Horsley, City of Idaho Falls Parks and Recreation Drum One, Drum All: How to Build Community Using Interactive Music Making Learn the benefits of community music making and the concrete steps of how to start a community drum circle in your facility. Tips for marketing, setup, equipment and/ or finding a facilitator in your area to partner with will be discussed. This will be an experiential speed round, so get ready to get your groove on! Speaker: John Yost, Rhythm Revolution Step two: attend the education session to learn how to implement the idea. What worked? What were some unforeseen barriers? How would the idea be received by your community? Who is the person at your agency that you’ll need to talk to first to get the ball rolling? It’s the magic of modification of the inspirational ideas that will ultimately be the spark to action, but you’ll need to be in the audience to be inspired! To browse the complete education schedule and register, visit www.nrpa.org/conference.


A ‘Deep Bench’ of Subject Matter Experts at the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference


ome 550 thought leaders in conservation, health, community development, programming and more will share their expertise with attendees at this year’s NRPA Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, September 24–26. From these subject matter experts, attendees will learn innovative and time-tested ways to make their communities great places to live. So, who are these the standout speakers? Following is some background information about a few of them:

Neelay Bhatt Vice President, PROS Consulting INC. Neelay Bhatt has presented multiple TEDx talks and coached TEDx presenters. He has been a keynote speaker around the world, from the United States to China, Europe and New Zealand. As the vice president at PROS Consulting INC., he has led more than 125 strategic/master planning, sports facility development projects globally.

Deborah A. Cohen, M.D., M.P.H. Senior Scientist, RAND Corporation As a senior scientist for the RAND Corporation and Pardee RAND Graduate School faculty, Dr. Cohen focuses on how structural environmental factors — social and physical — influence health. She has studied how neighborhood parks influence physical activity and how community characteristics affect health disparities and health.

Joel H. Fish, Ph.D. Director, The Center for Sport Psychology Dr. Fish is a nationally recognized expert in sport psychology, who has worked in the field for more than 25 years. He has spoken at the NRPA Annual Conference 16 times and at more than 300 universities nationwide. He is also the author of the book, 101 Ways to Be a Terrific Sports Parent.

Rafael Payan, Ph.D. General Manager, Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District Dr. Payan served as an instructor for the past five years at the NRPA Directors School. He has worked in parks, recreation and resource conservation for more than 35 years, developing the internationally recognized Kartchner Caverns State Park, along with numerous award-winning cultural, environmental and recreation projects.

Steven Waller, Ph.D. Professor, recreation and sport management, and director, Center for the Study of Sport and Religion at University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Dr. Waller worked in parks and recreation for 25 years and taught the same practices for 22 years, focusing on management, administration, organizational behavior and religion, leisure and sport. He has more than 60 peer-reviewed publications and 100 peer-reviewed national/international conference presentations.

Lakita Watson Executive Director, Richland County Recreation Commission Lakita Watson began her career in parks and recreation more than 20 years ago. She has served as director of Suffolk (Virginia) Parks & Recreation and executive director of the Richland County (South Carolina) Recreation Commission. She has presented on the local, state and national level many times, and is currently the chair for NRPA’s Leadership Development Network and the Ethnic Minority Society. To learn more about all the experts speaking at the conference this September, visit www.nrpa. org/conference.

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2019 NRPA Annual Conference Exhibit Hall Highlights


he 2019 NRPA Annual Conference exhibit hall will immerse attendees in the sights, sounds and entertainment of one of the largest indoor parks filled with nearly every type of amenity. More than 400 exhibitors will feature all the latest and greatest play equipment, park-site amenities, technology for maintenance and management solutions, shade and shelters, lighting, turf and flooring, aquatics, athletic gear, surfacing and much more. With seven hours of exclusive exhibit hall time, attendees will have plenty of time to explore and network with leading product and service providers, connect with fellow park and recreation professionals, experience some of the most exciting and interactive education sessions and win prizes.

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25 at 10:30 a.m., will receive a special giveaway from the Background Investigation Bureau and Burke Playgrounds, respectively, so make sure to get there early. There will be many other opportunities to claim giveaways while exploring all the exhibit hall has to offer. Many of the exhibitors will be doing gift card drawings each day, and The Toro Company will give away $1,000 cash prizes to two lucky winners. Attendees who complete the EXPOdition scavenger hunt and get a stamp from every participating exhibitor will be entered into a drawing to win free registrations for the 2020 NRPA Annual Conference in Orlando, iPads, FitBits, T-shirts and gift cards. If you get hungry while exploring, lunch will be served in the exhibit hall on Wednesday, September 25, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The best part is, you will be able to test or see a demonstration of nearly every product or service firsthand. This includes

cutting-edge equipment and technology debuts, cute four-legged friends demonstrating several dog-park displays, testing your reflexes at Superior Recreational Products’ Daisy Dash Challenge, participating in the Greenfields 2019 NRPA Fitness Challenge for a chance to win fitness equipment and much more. In addition to all the opportunities to meet vendors and find new products and services, attendees can also participate in lively education sessions at the Learning Playground and visit with the NRPA staff to learn about NRPA member benefits in the NRPA member area. The NRPA staff will be on hand to provide details about current projects and answer questions about member benefits, certifications, online learning, research, programs and grant opportunities. You can relax in the lounge, engage with colleagues and NRPA staff, play games and pick up some great giveaways. Make sure to visit the Parks & Recreation magazine booth to chat with the editorial staff about interesting topics, current issues and compelling story ideas. All of these vendors and top brands only come together like this once a year, so don’t miss out on your opportunity to attend the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference, September 24–26 in Baltimore, Maryland. Visit www.nrpa.org/Conference to learn more and register.


NRPA Live: Bringing the Virtual Audience into the Live Classroom


s the NRPA Annual Conference continues to grow and evolve, we’re continually looking for ways to further engage and improve the conference experience for those in attendance, while also extending the benefits of the conference to those who may not be able to attend. NRPA Live is a virtual event held in conjunction with the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference. The 2019 NRPA Live complete package (1.8 CEUs) includes all three days of live streaming with a total of nine full education sessions and five speed sessions. This package also includes access to recordings of an additional nine full education sessions and five speed sessions. These recorded sessions will be available following the live streamed event, and the sessions have been curated around the following topics this year: STEAM/ design thinking, big data, aquatics, climate resiliency, alternative revenue streams and mental health. To increase engagement with the conference experience, NRPA has enlisted Conferences i/o, an audience engagement platform for conferences, meetings and events, to provide an option for virtual participants to communicate directly through live polls and chat questions with the presenter during education sessions, bringing the virtual audience into the live classroom. Live interviews with some of the top speakers and NRPA program managers will also be broadcast through NRPA Live to dig deeper into trending topics. NRPA will facilitate online discussions before, during and after the event to foster dialogue about education topics

and encourage the growth of NRPA’s professional networks. If you register to attend the live virtual event, you will have access to all the live and recorded content, which equates to more than 1.8 CEUs. Following the event, all recorded content will be bundled into respective topic areas

for continued access. NRPA Live extends the conference experience globally, making this a sure alternative for those who may not be able to travel to the event this year. For more information about NRPA Live bundle packages and to register, visit www.nrpa.org/ NRPALive.

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NRPA UPDATE Equipping Park Professionals with Green Infrastructure Skills By Jennifer Fulcher


n May, 27 park professionals gathered in Philadelphia to make history. They’d been selected by NRPA to receive scholarships for green infrastructure training, which took place May 14–15 and, on May 16, they took the National Green Infrastructure Certification Program (NGICP) exam. Those who pass the exam will be some of the first park professionals, as well as among the first 500 individuals overall, to receive NGICP certification. NRPA, as part of its Great Urban Parks Campaign (GUPC), hosted this training session in partnership with the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. GUPC launched in 2015, with the primary purpose of improving environmental and social outcomes in underserved com-

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munities through promoting and advancing green stormwater infrastructure projects with parks, and developing resources and training for park, planning and other professionals to improve equity through green infrastructure. “As a leader in conservation, our goal is to ensure park profession-

als everywhere have the proper skills and knowledge to construct, inspect and maintain high-quality green infrastructure in parks in order to address community flooding issues and build climate resilience,” says Kellie May, NRPA vice president of programs. NGICP, a national-level certification program initiated by WEF and DC Water, equips those working in the field with the knowledge to properly build, inspect and maintain green stormwater infrastructure in the United States. Incorporating green infrastructure in parks can help improve the environment, while also engaging and educating members of the community. “The idea behind green infrastructure is that we mimic or restore the natural hydrological balance,” explains Dwane Jones, NGICP trainer. More people live in urban environments now than in the past, which makes restoring natural methods for handling stormwater increasingly important. “As more people move into these spaces, green infrastructure has a future position that will continue to grow and expand,” he adds. At the event, Jones reviewed the extensive NGICP training materials. He discussed the elements of different types of green infrastructure, from bioswales and rain gardens to green roofs and permeable pavement to cisterns and dry wells, as well as the strategies for safe construction and successful operation of all these systems. He stressed

the importance of maintaining the projects after construction. “You will hear me refer to these as assets because it’s an investment,” Jones says. “These are investments because we spend money [on them].” Installing these investments without developing and following through on a maintenance plan results in the assets not lasting as long or being as effective as they should, he points out. The reinforcement of this idea stuck with trainee Matthew Wallace, property management specialist and park planner for Guilford County, North Carolina. He has seen a lack of follow-through on maintenance for installations. “I love having other examples in other cities to point to and say, ‘the onus has to be for maintenance on the front-end,’” he says. Many of the trainees did not have much experience with the topic, and some had never seen these green infrastructure elements in person before. “I’m new to green infrastructure, so I had to do a lot of learning before I got here,” says Heidi Shegrud, landscape architect for Herriman City, Utah. She enjoyed the interactive nature of the NGICP learning materials, which include quizzes for each section or module. “I appreciate this opportunity. It was really amazing to be a part of this,” she says. Philadelphia is considered a “green infrastructure pioneer” for the way it is using a comprehensive, nature-based approach to manage stormwater and leveraging parks and open space to meet federal water-quality mandates. The trainees were given a chance to see the city’s practices in person with a half-day tour of four different sites

throughout Philadelphia. At each stop, they learned about the green infrastructure elements and the maintenance plans in place from local Philadelphia Parks & Recreation employees, as well as from members of the community. “I really enjoyed the site visits,” says David Mayer, operations director for the Bismarck (North Dakota) Parks and Recreation District. “I think they’re great applications.” This opportunity allowed the participants to see the real-world application of NGICP concepts. Jeff Ahlers, natural resource and sustainable practice specialist with the city of Dubuque (Mississippi), was inspired by the city’s strategies to involve members of the community in the maintenance of green infrastructure sites. “The outreach with the citizens is amazing,” he says. The event also provided trainees with the opportunity to network with other park professionals who

are interested in green infrastructure. “I gained a lot of knowledge,” says Nick Makris, project supervisor for the city of Tarpon Springs, Florida, who appreciated “getting everyone’s perspective of the unique challenges that each of us face in our cities, our municipalities, our different regions.” “My favorite part was getting to chat with everyone and build a green infrastructure network across the country,” says Rachel Ware, park planner for the Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation Department. As one of the few proponents of green infrastructure in her region, Ware notes the importance of the network of contacts she now has and the case studies of green infrastructure in other locations. “[It] holds a lot of weight when I talk about it to the administration that manages our park system,” she adds. Jennifer Fulcher is NRPA’s Communications Manager (jnguyen@nrpa.org).

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NRPA Recognizes Excellence in Parks and Recreation with Its 2019 Awards Program


ith nearly 200 applications submitted for the 2019 NRPA National Awards, the Awards Committee had a demanding task set before it this spring. Committee members spent hours reviewing applications, before a call at the end of May to discuss, debate and determine the 2019 winners. NRPA would like to thank all applicants and the Awards Committee for their substantial contributions to determine this year’s winners. Awards will be presented at the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference, September 24–26, 2019, in Baltimore, Maryland. Congratulations to the following 2019 NRPA National Award Winners!

NRPA Innovation Awards

NRPA president and CEO. “Congratulations to this year’s winners who have demonstrated their commitment to building communities through innovative park and recreation practices.”

The NRPA Innovation Awards recognize and honor the latest advancements in the field of parks and recreation. These awards showcase the inspiring park and recreation agencies that have improved and strengthened their communities through innovative practices in conservation, health and wellness, social equity and park design. “NRPA is proud to recognize innovation in parks and recreation with these awards,” says Kristine Stratton,

Innovation in Conservation Award Metroparks Toledo for Howard Marsh Metropark – Phase 1 Construction, Toledo, Ohio Metroparks Toledo worked with state and federal agencies to restore a wetland area, known as Howard Marsh Metropark – Phase 1 Construction, to provide high-quality habitat, water-quality improvement and public access. The three-unit


Individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease take advantage of fitness programming offered by Port St. Lucie Parks and Rec that’s aimed at mitigating the illness.

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wetland design, with two bidirectional water pump stations and two one-way agri-drains, takes advantage of site topography to give managers the ability to independently control water levels of each unit to maximize wildlife habitat diversity and visitor experiences. The park’s unique design immerses visitors in a total wetland experience with a spectacular 360-degree view of three interconnected marshland units interspersed with nine restored upland habitat islands. There are nearly 4 miles of accessible trail throughout the park. Innovation in Health Award City of Port St. Lucie Parks and Recreation for Rock Steady Boxing, Port St. Lucie, Florida The City of Port St. Lucie Parks and Recreation Department researched and, after identifying a non-contact, boxing-based fitness program for individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, brought the Rock Steady Boxing Program to the city’s fitness centers. Rock Steady Boxing is based on the concept of intense “forced” exercise, which suggests that certain types of exercise may be neuro-protective; that is, slowing progression of Parkinson’s disease. The program empowers people afflicted with this disease to fight back and gives them hope by improving their quality of life. Once it was established that the program is a proven, effective and proactive aid for those with Parkinson’s disease, the city worked to offer it at an affordable rate across all socioeconomic demographics.

Innovation in Social Equity Award City of Santa Clarita for Jakes Way Neighborhood Program, Santa Clarita, California City of Santa Clarita staff converted a vacant apartment in a densely populated apartment complex into a mini community center to serve residents with limited access to parks and facilities because of transportation, language, financial and cultural barriers. City employees and neighborhood committee members work alongside volunteers, school representatives and nonprofit staff members to create ongoing recreational and educational opportunities, including an afterschool program, summer camp, English classes, workshops, family events and more. Additional supportive services are woven into recreation by bringing in local school staff, sheriff ’s deputies, nurses and other service providers. This novel approach makes it much more likely that children will participate in recreation activities and avoid negative pressures and enhances the overall quality of life in the neighborhood. Innovation in Park Design Award Three Rivers Park District for Nine Mile Creek Regional Trail, Minneapolis/St. Paul Metropolitan Area, Minnesota Designing and constructing a nature-based, 15-mile regional trail through five fully developed cities required complex planning efforts, multiple partnerships and creative engineering on the part of the Three Rivers Park District. The outcome, Nine Mile Creek Regional Trail, was purposefully routed to access transit and major employment nodes whenever possible and is part


The City of Santa Clarita’s mini community center provides activities for children with limited access to parks.

of Three Rivers’ 160-mile regional trail network. The trail is also one of the most scenic in the Three Rivers system, with nearly 2 miles of boardwalks traversing long stretches of wetlands and its namesake creek. It is open year-round to bicyclists, walkers, runners and dog walkers. Between June 1 and June 7, the four winning innovation award projects were put to a public vote, and NRPA members and the public were encouraged to vote for the project that would receive the overall Best in Innovation Award. That winner will be announced on September 24 at the Opening General Session of the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference.

Starkville Parks & Recreation, Starkville, Mississippi RWJF-NRPA Award for Health Equity Tina Fleming, community services director, and Lindsey Jorstad, outreach manager, Gwinnett County Government, Lawrenceville, Georgia National Distinguished Professional Award Dirk Richwine, CPRE, Parker, Colorado

NRPA Scholarships and Fellowships

Robert M. Artz Advocate Award Chris Riley, park board commissioner, Decatur Park District, Decatur, Illinois

The scholarships and fellowships provide recipients with the opportunity to attend and explore the operation of the field at the NRPA Annual Conference. A primary focus is to inspire future participation and leadership in NRPA and to develop professional contacts with leadership and members from around the nation. Recipients receive complimentary NRPA Annual Conference registration, a travel stipend and their hotel expenses are reimbursed. NRPA is proud to recognize the following individuals with scholarships and fellowships:

Robert W. Crawford Young Professional Award Gerry Logan, executive director,

Young Professional Fellowships • Jeremy Bajdaun, Town of Miami Lakes Parks and Open Spaces

NRPA Spotlight Awards The NRPA Spotlight Awards are presented to individuals to honor their efforts — both professional and personal — in the field of parks and recreation. NRPA is proud to recognize these individuals with the following awards:

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• Luke Bolinger, Town of Erie Parks and Recreation • Sarah Hansen, City of Golden Valley Parks and Recreation • Elissa Malone, City of Frisco Parks and Recreation Student Scholarships • Kandice Newton, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse • Kristen Sikorsky, Kansas State University Diversity Scholarships • Attiyya Atkins, Broward County Parks and Recreation • LaCleveia Morley, City of Miami Department of Parks and Recreation “The NRPA National Awards and Scholarship Committee is pleased to honor the 2019 NRPA Awards, Scholarships and Fellowships recipients,” says Dan Olson, chair of NRPA’s national awards and scholarship committee and director of operations for Champaign Park District in Champaign, Illinois. “The committee was honored to review all the applications of qualified individuals and agencies that have made significant contributions to their communities through the field of parks and recreation.” Award recipients will be recognized and celebrated during conference at the Best of the Best Ceremony, Wednesday, September 25 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Applications for the 2020 National Awards will open in January. To learn more about the NRPA Awards, visit www.nrpa.org/ awards.

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Applying to CAPRA — A Journey to Accreditation Sharon J. Bousquet, CPRE


he City of New London (Connecticut) Recreation Department’s journey to achieving accreditation by NRPA’s Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) began with one employee attending NRPA’s Directors School. That employee was me, and in August 2010, after completing my first year of the school, I returned to the office and pitched the idea of our agency becoming nationally accredited to our director of recreation, who immediately said “Yes. It was the beginning of a huge learning process for us, a small community from a state with no other accredited park and recreation agencies.

The first, very important step was to have everyone involved buyin to the process. In the winter of 2010, we hosted a CAPRA training at our office for all staff members and Parks and Recreation Commission members to attend. With everyone invested in the path forward, we applied to CAPRA shortly thereafter. While the application forms might seem minor, for us, it involved getting the city manager and parks and pecreation commission to sign their approval of us committing to the process, which would require resources, time and money from a city that had little of those to offer. New London is a small, highly diverse, low-income city where all school children receive free breakfast and lunch. De-

spite the challenges, we gained the approval needed to continue our quest for accreditation. Once applied, we began having department-wide accreditation team meetings led by those of us responsible for each section. We identified an accreditation leader who was responsible for the overall process and schedule, and outlined a two-year time frame with an expected completion range in spring 2013. As a department of five full-time staff (three in the recreation division, one in youth affairs and one in the senior center), we assigned people to sections according to their strengths. We started at February 2013 and backtracked to create a timeline of deliverables. I would later learn how crucial this was to the process and to our success. In the fall of 2012, we set up a mock visit with one of the few accredited agencies in New England. I had written up the self-assessment as I believed it was supposed to be written at the time. While the visitor made a few suggestions as to organization, he gave us a thumbs up and told us that overall,

we were ready. I had also set up to become a visitor through CAPRA and was scheduled to attend a visit in spring 2013. Following the mock visit, we submitted our CAPRA selfassessment and received a message from the CAPRA commissioner requesting a conference call. He informed us we needed to adjust our self-assessment further if we intended to have CAPRA come out and visit, and he gave us improved guidelines and more information about what the self-assessment should look like. I spent the next week rewriting the self-assessment to their specifications, re-submitted it and was approved for a CAPRA visit. The visit was an amazing experience, and the entire city came together to support us in the journey. When our visitors left, we had at least 10 standards we hadn’t fulfilled. Three of them were required, and one was as big as the comprehensive plan. The Monday after our visit, I headed out of state to another city where I was now the visitor assessing another agency. The experience was invaluable, and I can’t say enough about how important it was in our process. I quickly learned our comprehensive plan was in fact correct, but because of the way it is named by the state of Connecticut — The Plan of Conservation and Development — we hadn’t presented it properly. When I return, we were able to quickly redo our three required standards and resub


New London’s City Pier at Waterfront Park.

mit them for approval. They all passed, and in fall 2013, we became the first park and recreation agency in Connecticut to achieve NRPA’s CAPRA Accreditation. During the next four years, I went on multiple visits to other agencies and improved my knowledge on accreditation. We also researched, set up and deployed a new accreditation software that made the process immensely easier, as our documents were now all in one place. In February 2018, we submitted an email to CAPRA with a link to our accreditation software. I, again, received communication from the CAPRA commissioner asking to speak to me. This time, he was asking about the software and wanted permission to use our self-assessment as an example. Subsequently, when the visitors did come, we

received a passing score of 100 percent compliance and were reaccredited in fall 2018. Accreditation has changed many things in our department, all of them for the better. The support we have received from the mayor, Parks and Recreation Commission, other departments and city residents has been overwhelming. It has taught us things about our community we never knew and has taught other departments in the city things about us to ultimately bring us together as a team. The process was invaluable and it has benefited our agency by changing the perceptions of the administration and public about what we do and how well we do it. Sharon J. Bousquet, CPRE, is the Recreation Program Coordinator for the City of New London, Connecticut, Recreation Department (sbousquet@ci.new-london.ct.us).

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Family Health & Fitness Day Wrap-Up


RPA thanks everyone who participated in Family Health & Fitness Day, Saturday, June 8, 2019. The overwhelming response to this ongoing initiative is a testament to the field’s commitment to health and wellness and the programs that strengthen individuals mentally and physically. This year, NRPA invited everyone to “Get Fit” With Parks and Recreation by participating in one of these health-focused, family-friendly activities that benefit people of all ages year-round: Take a Walk • 75 percent of park and rec agencies provide walking trails Go for a Swim • 69 percent of park and rec agencies provide areas for swimming Enroll in a Fitness Program • 78 percent of park and rec agencies offer fitness classes

Create Your Own Exercise Routine Most park and rec agencies offer space to exercise — including indoor and outdoor fitness equipment • 57 percent of park and rec agencies have rec centers • 55 percent of park and rec agencies have gyms • 38 percent of park and rec agencies have fitness centers Play Outside • 92 percent of park and rec agencies have playgrounds • 75 percent have baseball/softball fields • 83 percent have basketball courts • 55 percent have dog parks NRPA encourages agencies everywhere to use this list to promote park and recreation-sponsored health and wellness activities throughout the year. New this year was a nationwide challenge that encouraged everyone to do one minute of jumping jacks (regular or modified) with family and/or friends at a local park or recreation center. The challenge was a hit, and we thank everyone who took the time to promote it, especially our partners, which include Baltimore City Recreation & Parks, Chicago Park District, Idaho Falls Parks & Recreation, Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces, Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation, and San Antonio Parks and Recreation. Everyone was asked to share photos and videos online, and the response was widespread. In addition to park and recreation agencies,

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hospitals and health organizations — such as the American Lung Association — doctors and individuals, and even Wolf Trap National Park joined the #NRPAFamilyFitDay conversation, which resulted in nearly 1.7 million Twitter impressions! Celebrated the second Saturday of June each year, Family Health & Fitness Day, which is sponsored by Greenfields Outdoor Fitness Equipment, promotes the importance of parks and recreation in keeping communities active and healthy. Many communities host special events on this day, while others simply encourage their residents to visit a local park or recreation center where they can participate in a variety of family-friendly activities, such as walking, hiking, biking, kayaking, golfing, tennis and swimming. Additional information about Family Health & Fitness Day is available at www.nrpa.org/family-fitness.

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NRPA Introduces the Community Engagement Resource Guide


arks are created to benefit the people they serve. When community members have a say in what projects happen in their neighborhoods, they recognize their power and take ownership of the site. But, doing so does not come without challenges. In June, NRPA released its Community Engagement Resource Guide: Creating Equitable Access to High-Preforming Parks (www.nrpa.org/ publications-research/best-prac tice-resources/). This resource provides park and recreation professionals with a road map to implement equitable and inclusive community en-

gagement strategies around the planning, design, construction, maintenance and activation of park projects and park plans. It is based on existing research, interviews with park and recreation professionals and feedback from local and national community engagement experts. Equity and inclusion are central to this guide, as we believe an inclusive, meaningful engagement process ensures parks and public spaces are created by the people they are intended to serve. NRPA heard concerns from many in the field about the difficulty of getting people to attend traditional community meetings, prioritizing staff

time and resources and/or finding staff with the right skills to address a history of mistrust and to build lasting relationships with community members. The guide provides tips, best practices and case studies from the field and addresses these challenges through four main categories: • Internal Assessment • Building Trust with Communities • Community Engagement Strategies • Evaluation Check it out at www.nrpa.org/publi cations-research/best-practice-resourc es/, and use it to strengthen the bond between your agency and the people you serve.


Use this guide to design your own community engagement plan. Find the tips, best practices, case studies and other information you need to implement inclusive and equitable park projects. Download your own copy today at nrpa.org/community-engagement

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Project Play: Youth Coach Training and Resources


oaches are critical to providing kids with early, positive experiences in sport and play. They help kids develop confidence and skills, both on and off the playing field. But, coaching, and finding people to coach, has become a challenge in today’s society given the increasing lack of civility, particularly at sporting events from spectators toward coaches and game officials. The U.S. Olympic Committee and Nike (inspired by Project Play (www.aspen projectplay.org), which was launched in 2013 by the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program), have partnered to create “How to Coach Kids” (www.howtocoachkids.org), a free, interactive online training course and

resource library. The How to Coach Kids library provides materials on everything from sport-specific information (including bobsled, canoe, squash and more) to audience-specific information (e.g., “how to coach kids with intellectual disabilities”). The 30-minute course is designed for community organizations and youth sports leagues that would like to offer foundational training to their volunteer coaches. Active kids do better academically, physically and emotionally. Unfortunately, many kids don’t have access to the great experiences that help them learn to love sports and physical activity. And, many with access end up dropping out because of the pressure

to secure scholarships, to find or be the next great [fill in the blank] player or the expense associated with playing in travel leagues that often are the only way kids can get on a team in high school. Whether it’s at school or as part of a community group or an organized team, some kids are missing out on being physically active and developing valuable life skills. How to Coach Kids is focused on getting all kids moving and having a great time, while developing those important life skills. It also provides coaches with the tools to help them inspire young athletes in their communities. To take the course or share the resource with your coaches, go to www.howtocoachkids.org.

The Latest Park and Recreation News and Trends

On the Go

Available on iTunes and Google Play


The Official Podcast of NRPA

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Hot Topics NRPA Connect is an online network of more than 62,000 park and recreation professionals who can answer your job-related questions, have probably dealt with and can offer advice on many of your challenges and can weigh-in on trending topics in the field. Check out one of this month’s topics: Geese on Golf Courses (this is always a popular topic) — a member asked how to effectively keep geese off parks and/ or golf courses. Several NRPA members offered the following suggestions: We had the USDA Wildlife Services relocate the geese every year! We helped round up, cage and release them elsewhere. We then bought a product to spray on the lawn areas, and the geese would no longer land on those areas. However, like any liquid spray application, it washed away when we got heavy rains.

For years, we’ve owned and used Border Collies to chase them off. Basically, if you harass them with dogs enough, they move on.

Green laser pointers work very well in harassing the geese, which seem to think the laser beam is a long, green “stick” that is going to get them. Get a decent one that projects the beam a good distance and use it on a regular basis and at night (more effective).

We put up a snow fence around the lake edge that made it difficult for the birds to get from the water to the grass. We also used a combination of a remote-control toy truck and a boat to make the areas less desirable. It was time consuming, but that combination seemed to work.

Log in to NRPA Connect at www.nrpaconnect.org today to read more suggestions for resolving this very popular issue.


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Member Benefit: Performing Quality Background Checks with the BIB


ummer programs are here, and it is important to keep children and community members safe by performing quality background checks! Following are four questions you should be asking to ensure you are running quality screens: How accurate is your data? Most information received by states is through county records. In some cases, the records are either missing data or inaccurate. You’ll need to assess what screening methods you are using to get the best data from every state relevant to your applicants. What is your background check costing you? Selecting background checks based on the lowest cost can lead to a low-quality screen. The best approach is to ask: “Are we getting the best quality screen for a fair price?” Are you getting the full story? When records, or pertinent information from




a record, are missing, it becomes challenging to make effective hiring decisions. Making sure you’re getting the best data possible from as many sources as possible ensures you’re getting the full story. Are you getting instant results? Quality background checks are typically completed in about three days. If you are getting instant results, you should be skeptical of the quality of that screen.


Our Commitment to Keeping Kids Safe BIB is proud to partner with the NRPA to help park and recreation agencies protect what matters with quality background checks. With our Secure Applicant technology, you’ll get a professional background screen, an easy-to-use platform and exceptional service. Visit www.nrpa.org/BIB to learn more.

Member Spotlight: Jodi Ackerman By Lindsay Collins


odi Ackerman is a community center programmer for Lansing, Michigan Parks and Recreation. The community center serves several roles, including food pantry, tutoring lab and library. It also provides programming, such as activities and daily lunches for seniors and classes from jiu jitsu to dance. Ackerman’s focus is on out-of-school time programs for kids of elementary age. She also oversees summer and spring break camps. The community center also partners with the Lansing School District to offer a late-start Wednesday program, for which teaching staff come to offer enrichment programming with the support of the park and rec staff. While Ackerman is only stationed at one center, she oversees programs for all four of Lansing’s community centers. During the summer weekdays, each site hosts 10½ hours per days of camp for about 60 kids. Parks & Recreation magazine spoke with Ackerman to learn about the summer camps and what the job means to her. Parks & Recreation: We learned you take your summer campers on trips, including a big trip to the Michigan State Capitol. Tell us a bit about that? Jodi Ackerman: We have eight weeks of summer camp, and we take kids on a trip every week, which is included in the cost of the camp. One of the trips is to the Michigan State Capitol as part of our Michigan Recreation and Parks Association kickoff to Park and Recreation Month. Because we tend to bring the most kids, we are there in the morning and other camps come in the afternoon. There’s a bunch of different activity stations to participate in — some are run by organizations such as the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Blue Cross Blue Shield. Lansing Park and Recreation actually runs an activity station. It’s anyone who

wants to promote outdoor recreation, education, and health and wellness and just want to get kids active. It’s hosted by the No Child Left Inside Coalition, and this is the eighth annual Come Outside and Play at the Capitol event. P&R: You mentioned that the trip serves as your kickoff for Park and Rec Month. What are some of the other ways your agency celebrates? Ackerman: We have a family scavenger hunt. It’s a digital hunt that takes place all through the month of July and gets people outside in our parks doing different family activities, visiting different sponsors, and just getting outside and familiar with different parks and activities that are available. A lot of things throughout the hunt are provided free or are low cost. P&R: What is the most rewarding part of your job? Ackerman: I think seeing the growth in the campers and our staff. Many

of the staff are college-aged students. It’s amazing to see them grow from year to year — or even from the start of summer to the end of summer — in their skills and their abilities. We have an awesome opportunity to give kids experiences and help them develop skills and relationships that they don’t get from other places. Things that aren’t going to happen in school and may or may not happen if they join a sports team. It’s a really cool way for kids with a variety of backgrounds, skills and interests to be able to come together and build community. Seeing them develop as individuals and as a group is amazing. P&R: Do you have any stories that come to mind you can share with us? Ackerman: I was a camp counselor back about 20 years ago, and one of my first campers who walked up the first day — I was nervous, she was nervous — is now one of my staff members who’s worked for me for several years. Actually, she and her brother both work for me, and he has kids of his own who come to camp. There are other kids who were campers with us who have become staff. It’s really gratifying to know that it has made a difference in their life and that they want to give back in that same way. — Lindsay Collins, Associate Editor for Parks & Recreation magazine

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Parks & Recreation Crossword 1




















21 22






27 28

Across 1 New e-cigarette epidemic 4 Animal life in a region 7 Give qualities and abilities to 10 Native American emblem 12 Transport 14 Licenses 15 Accomplish 17 Sing like a bird 19 Trash left in parks, for example 21 Signed up for 23 Relative value 24 Georgia city with the famous Piedmont Park 27 School abbreviation 28 Popular gatherings where people can buy healthy produce, 2 words


Down 1 Geese flying formation 2 Seed 3 Recently 5 Important programs that have a positive impact on children’s health 6 The N in SNAP 8 Business degree 9 Keynote speaker at the NRPA Conference in Baltimore in September, Cal ____ 11 Spanish for more 12 Swimming stroke 13 Cheerleader cry 16 Cigarette butts, ash, etc., become an ____ and health hazard in parks if not handled 18 Internet radio 20 One-on-one coach 22 Little League equipment 23 Officiate 25 It’s better fresh! 26 Everyday article

Across Down 1 New e-cigarette epidemic 1 Geese flying formation 4 Animal life in a region 2 Seed 7 Give qualities and abilities to 3 Recently 10 Native American emblem 5 Important programs that have a positive impact on children's health 12 Transport 6 The N in SNAP 14 Licenses 8 Business degree 15 Accomplish 9 Keynote speaker at the NRPA Conference 17 Sing like a bird in Baltimore in September, Cal ____ 19 Trash left in parks, for example 11 Spanish for more 21 Signed up for Complete the crossword and visit www.nrpa.org/crossword to verify your answers and to enter into a 12will Swimming stroke drawing to receive one free NRPA Live Individual session or $50 off an NRPA Live Package. A winner be 23 selected Relative randomly July 31, value 2019. 13 Cheerleader cry Parks 24& Recreation Georgia city with the famous Piedmont 16 Cigarette butts, ash, etc. become an ____ | J U LY 2 0 1 9 | W W W. PA R K S A N D R E C R E AT I O N . O R G

10 WAYS TO GET OUT AND PLAY Meet Me at the Park This Summer and bring a friend or two! Your local parks and recreation centers offer the perfect opportunities for summertime fun.

1. GO ON A WALK. A paved trail or nature hike will have you smiling in no time. You can even find themed trails or exercise circuits at many local parks. 2. MAKE TIME TO SPLASH. Pools, splashpads — even waterparks — can all be found through local parks and recreation. Make sure to sign up for swim lessons too! 3. VOLUNTEER FOR FAMILY FUN. From clean-up events to planting gardens to helping track pollinators, opportunities abound in local parks. 4. GET OUT WITH THE WHOLE FAMILY. Nothing says summertime like picnics with your family. You can even bring Fido and check out a local dog park too! 5. PLAN A NIGHT OUT. Your local park and recreation department has prepared a jam-packed summer for you! Check their calendar for concerts, weekly movie nights and special events. 6. VISIT A NEW PLAYGROUND. Local parks offer a lot more than a swing set these days. Explore your community for playgrounds that bring all generations together. 7. TAKE A STAYCATION. Camping, boating and beaches, oh my! Your state and local parks offer opportunities to take a relaxing weekend off without going far. 8. GET YOUR GAME ON. Even if you missed the deadline for summer sports leagues, find the local pick-up game schedule or location of the nearest multisport court. Game on! 9. GET ROLLING. Visit a local skatepark or adventure bike course. Got wheels? Many parks offer accessible and paved trails to make it easy to get around! 10. ESTABLISH A HEALTHY ROUTINE. Commit to trying new foods at the farmers market or community garden. Use the rec center or local park’s fitness equipment. A park and rec professional can help you find your new routine.

Learn more about Meet Me at the Park by visiting www.nrpa.org/meetmeatthepark

NRPA is dedicated to providing learning opportunities to advance the development of best practices and resources that make parks and recreation indispensable elements of American communities. Find out more at www.nrpa.org/education.

MAINTAIN YOUR AFO CERTIFICATION WITH NRPA’S PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES Are you searching for ways to obtain the CEUs necessary to renew your AFO certification? Look no further! Last month, NRPA released its new Splash Pad Certificate and began a new quarterly aquatics webinar series, which will be held each March, June, September and December. Also, this year’s NRPA Annual Conference will feature a learning track organized into group A and B content. Also, NRPA will soon be releasing our Aquatic Management Professional Certificate, an online program providing courses in human resources, budget and finance, maintenance management, risk management and marketing. Finding professional development opportunities to maintain your AFO certification has never been easier! To learn more, go to www.nrpa.org/aquatics.


August 18–22, 2019

Hyatt Lodge, Oak Brook, Illinois www.nrpa.org/Directors

September 24–26, 2019

11-13 16-18 17-19 18-20 18-20 21-23

Saratoga Springs, New York Griffin, Georgia West Hollywood, California Dublin, Ohio Leesburg, Virginia Baltimore, Maryland


27-28 Doral, Florida


13-15 Fayetteville, New York 14-16 Littleton, Colorado 21-23 Hobbs, New Mexico


1-2 Sarasota, Florida 12-13 Gainesville, Florida 20-21 Sacramento, California



9-11 Raleigh, North Carolina




12-13 18-19 19-20 22-23


Naples, Florida West Bend, Wisconsin Escondido, California Baltimore, Maryland







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Baltimore, Maryland www.nrpa.org/Conference

12 16 17 17 23

Show Low, Arizona Leesburg, Virginia Town of Florence, Arizona Leesburg, Virginia Baltimore, Maryland

November 3–7, 2019 Wheeling, West Virginia www.nrpa.org/SMS




OPERATIONS Memorial Park — Sustainable Municipal Golf Course and Site of the 2020 Houston Open By Steve Wright, M.A., M.S.


he city of Houston’s Memorial Park Golf Course is undergoing an $18 million facelift to transform the municipal course into a state-of-the-art facility and future home of the PGA Tournament’s Houston Open. While the catalyst for this change is a desire to return the tournament to Memorial Park, the new design will produce a model for creating sustainable golf courses across the country.

Finding the Right Designer Considerations of the historic


Aerial view of the irrigation lake that will help provide water for Houston’s Memorial Park Golf Course, which is undergoing a transformation to become the future home of the PGA Tournament’s Houston Open.

Giles Kibbe, president of Astros Golf Foundation — the charity hosting the tournament — explains why Houston Astros owner Jim Crane and his team entered into a public-private partnership to renovate the course. “Houstonians have al-

ways talked about trying to move the Houston Open back to Memorial Park. To make that happen, there needed to be a significant upgrade in the facilities, but the money wasn’t there to make it happen. When we agreed to run the tournament, we felt like Jim and the Astros had a voice that could get the community behind this project and raise the funds to finally make it happen.”


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Key players in the golf course redesign (l to r): Don Mahaffey, the president of Greenspace Methods; Mike Nuzzo, a golf-course architect consulting on the project; Brooks Koepka, professional golfer who has assisted with designing the golf course; Giles Kibbe, president of the Astros Golf Foundation; and Eric Iverson and Brian Schneider, golf-course architects also consulting on the project.

nature of the course, the Memorial Park Master Plan and PGA Tournament needs drove the Astros Golf Foundation to select Tom Doak, a golf-course architect who has designed multiple top-rated courses around the world, to design the new course. When asked how Doak was selected, Kibbe explains, “There are only a handful of golf course architects who have designed multiple courses that are ranked in the top 100 in the country. We interviewed all of them — Tom being one. We brought four of them to look at Memorial Park. They were all very interested in working on our project, but we felt like Tom was the best fit. He has a great vision for the redesign and has a tremendous desire to turn Memorial Park into one of the best courses on the PGA Tour.  The one thing that Tom has not done in his career is design a course that hosts a PGA Tour event. He wanted to do that, and the PGA Tour was excited about having him do it.” With Doak on board, the redesign of the course was set to not only put Houston back in the center of the golf world, but also to create a

model for golf course sustainability through stormwater management.

Sustainable Water Management Kibbe continues, “The plan included getting the golf course irrigation system off the city’s potable water. The course was using 60 million gallons of potable water each year to irrigate the golf course. As a critical part of our course redesign, we had Tom design a stormwater retention and irrigation system that would capture the vast majority of stormwater at the course and store it to be reused to irrigate the course.” Don Mahaffey, president of Greenspace Methods, is on the

As a critical part of our course redesign, we had Tom design a stormwater retention and irrigation system that would capture the vast majority of stormwater at the course and store it to be reused to irrigate the course. ground overseeing the renovation process. He explains, “The retention pond will have 3 feet of watertight freeboard. This will allow for water storage in all parts of the pond.” Mahaffey also explains that the project will not only expand the

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A cleared area of the golf course, under construction.

The department’s overall goal is to build a sustainable golf course and reduce water usage by 50 percent — a goal projected to be met within three years thanks to the renovation. amount of rainwater that can be stored, but will also expand the network of pumps covering the northern side of the golf course that feed stormwater into the lake. Houston Parks and Recreation Department Golf Course superintendent Jason Harsh is excited about the changes and the course designer. He says, “Tom wanted this challenge to design a course that would challenge the PGA Tour players, while also providing a challenging and fun course to play for the amateurs.” 78

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Harsh goes on to say, “The department’s overall goal is to build a sustainable golf course and reduce water usage by 50 percent — a goal projected to be met within three years thanks to the renovation. The new retention system will allow water runoff from 65–70 acres of the course to be reused for irrigation. That, along with individual sprinkler control, new computer application technology to start and stop the system and the use of soil moisture meters to identify water needs of specific turf areas make the system a win-win for the city and Memorial Park Golf Course.” The new system allows for the fine tuning of each sprinkler to use only the water it needs in any given area. This is a big improvement over programming the 14,000 sprinklers in three-head blocks and

risking over- or under-watering parts of the course. To further maximize water efficiency, drought-tolerant turf and vegetation will also be installed on the course. These improvements also take into account environmental factors unique to Houston by incorporating the course’s topography into the water management design. Kibbe explains, “Based on Houston’s annual rainfall, this new network of small ravines and expanded lakes will capture 80 million gallons of stormwater that can be reused to irrigate the golf course. Depending on when that rainfall occurs, we might not need to use any city water in the future. This will save the city a lot of money, conserve water and reduce discharge into Buffalo Bayou. We are providing a tremendous benefit to all of Houston for years to come.” The Astros, coming off their 2017 World Series victory, are helping to open a new era in Houston sports by spearheading the renovation of Memorial Park Golf Course. The upgraded course, opening late 2019, will put Houston on the national stage once more and provide a model for sustainable municipal golf courses across the country. Kibbe hopes that moving the Houston Open to the newly renovated Memorial Park will “transform the Houston Open into one of the premier events on the PGA Tour” and “help [Houston] promote the city during a nationally televised event.” Steve Wright is the Director of Houston Parks and Recreation Department (steve. wright@houstontx.gov). @HPARD


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PRODUCTS Unique Play Structure Landscape Structures Inc., a Delano, Minnesota-based commercial playground equipment manufacturer, has launched the Crab Trap™, a unique play structure that challenges kids ages 5 to 12. With a plethora of opportunities to climb, crawl and hang out, the Crab Trap delivers open-ended play experiences that excite creativity and critical decision making. The Crab Trap is sure to keep kids engaged with its limitless climbing routes. In addition to the net climber surround, there are various levels of challenge designed inside the playground structure. With a healthy mix of the O-Zone® climbers, climbing cables, a patent-pending braided belt and more ground-level climbers, the Crab Trap provides visual and tactile interest as well as fresh new experiences. LANDSCAPE STRUCTURES INC., 888.438.6574, WWW.PLAYLSI.COM

Robotic Pool Cleaner Pentair offers the Prowler 920 robotic inground pool cleaner, which makes cleaning fast, easy and convenient. It operates independently from the pool’s filtration system with a powerful all-surface, high-speed scrubbing brush that doesn’t require a booster pump, making it cost-effective and eco-friendly. The dual-level filtration system captures large and ultra-fine debris with a top-access basket for easy emptying. The Prowler 920 comes with a robust caddy for easy transport and storage. For smartphone control, try the Prowler 930. Prowler robotic pool cleaners are ideal for cleaning park and recreation facility pools this summer. PENTAIR, 800.831.7133, WWW.PENTAIR.COM

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Nutrient Optimizing System SiteOne® Landscape Supply introduces LESCO CarbonPRO™-L. CarbonPro-L with MobilEX is a revolutionary nutrient optimizing system that harnesses the power of plant-microbe interactions and organic soil sciences to maximize plant health and performance. The proprietary MobilEX mobility technology supports cell-wall stability by mobilizing calcium ions from organelle storage and increases nutrient transport by binding minerals to facilitate movement throughout the plant’s vascular tissues. The multisolution product can be tank mixed with most non-pesticide liquid applications. CarbonPRO-L with MobilEX is an ideal option to optimize invested nutrient dollars to manage high-performing turf, resulting in ultimate customer satisfaction, and is a new tool to manage challenging restrictions or blackout application periods. SITEONE LANDSCAPE SUPPLY, 800.748.3663, WWW.SITEONE.COM

Inclusive Water Play Component Water Odyssey’s Water Coils™ fosters inclusive water play and access. This inviting play component creates screens of water that provide a sensory-rich water experience for users of all abilities. Four helical coils are standard — order as many or few as desired. Coated with Aqua Armor, the most durable chlorine, UV and vandal-resistant coating in the industry. Low profile rounded flanges are easy on the feet and reduce toe-stubbing. ADA and ASTM compliant. WATER ODYSSEY, 512.392.1155, WATERODYSSEY.COM

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Live Stream Top Sessions from the NRPA Annual Conference

This year we are live streaming nine full education sessions and five speed sessions from the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference in Baltimore. Interact with speakers, access conference-related content and earn up to 1.8 CEUs from the comfort of your own home or office.


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Foster social, emotional, and cognitive development with Burke’s New PlayEnsemble™ Collection BCIBURKE.COM Trademarks are the property of BCI Burke Company. BCI Burke Company 2019. All rights reserved.


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GymsForDogs.com sales@GymsForDogs.com 800-931-1562 84 Parks & Recreation

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MORE POWER FOR YOUR PARK milbankworks.com

Play doesn’t care what a body can or cannot do. Because play lives inside us. All of us. And as we grow older. We come back to what we know. That play will always shape us. To see the new We-Go-Round™, visit playlsi.com/We-Go-Round. ©2019 Landscape Structures Inc. All rights reserved.

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Build and quote your fountain online!

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Our commercial grade allstainless-steel fixture is built to last and helps to reduce waste from disposable water bottles. Resistant to sunlight, heat, and vandalism and available in 11 striking powder-coated colors!

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Kay Park Recreation Company.............................................................. 84

Amish Country Gazebos.......................................................................... 82

Landscape Structures Inc............................................................. 4, 5, 85

Anchor Audio.............................................................................................. 82

Milbank......................................................................................................... 85

Aquatix by LSI...............................................................................................9

Most Dependable Fountains ................................................................. C2

BCI Burke Playgrounds............................................................................ 82

Musco Sports Lighting............................................................................... 7

Bedford Technology...................................................................................17 Bright Idea Shops, LLC. ........................................................................... 83 Daktronics..................................................................................................... 11 DOGIPOT........................................................................................................ 83 Dumor............................................................................................................ 15 Easi-Set Buildings..................................................................................... 83 Eco Chemical.............................................................................................. 29 Fountain People/Water Odyssey...........................................................43

National Recreation Systems/PlayCore............................................. C4 PERC....................................................................................................... 38, 39 Pilot Rock/RJ Thomas Mfg. Co. ............................................................. 25 Polly Products............................................................................................ 85 Salsbury Industries...................................................................................27 Scoremaster Goals................................................................................... 85 Shade Systems..............................................................................................1

Gared Sports.............................................................................................. 84

Spectrum Aquatics................................................................................... 86

Goldenteak/The Wood Carver, Inc. ...................................................... 84

Uline................................................................................................................ 11

Greenfields Outdoor Fitness............................................................... 2, 3

Victor Stanley.............................................................................................. 19

Gyms for Dogs/Livin the Dog Life......................................................... 84

Waterplay Solutions.................................................................................. 21

John Deere.................................................................................................. C3

Willoughby Industries............................................................................. 86

(ISSN 0031-2215) is published monthly by the National Recreation and Park Association, 22377 Belmont Ridge Rd., Ashburn, VA 20148, a service organization supported by membership dues and voluntary contributions. Copyright Š2019 by the National Recreation and Park Association. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Opinions expressed in signed articles are those of the writers and not necessarily those of NRPA. Issued to members at the annual subscription price of $30, included in dues. Subscription: $46 a year in the U.S.; $56 elsewhere. Single copy price: $7. Library rate: $58 a year in the U.S.; $68 elsewhere. Periodical postage paid at Ashburn, Virginia, and at additional mailing offices. Editorial and advertising offices at 22377 Belmont Ridge Rd., Ashburn, VA 20148. 703.858.0784. Postmaster, send address changes to Parks & Recreation, 22377 Belmont Ridge Rd., Ashburn, VA 20148.

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advertiser index

American Swing Products ..................................................................... 82


Whether you want to make a bigger impact on your community, keep your expertise fresh, or improve your professional status, CPRP certification will open the door to more and better opportunities.

Staying informed of recent and new trends beyond the internals of our departments sends a message to the communities that we serve - hey, not only do we hold the degrees but we’re certified! Daniel Stines, CPRP Parks & Recreation Director, Town of Harrisburg, NC

Become a Certified Park and Recreation Professional www.nrpa.org/CPRP

Park Bench

A Citywide Scavenger Hunt


For the third year in a row, the city of Lansing (Michigan) Parks and Recreation kicked off Park and Rec Month by hosting its very own month-long citywide scavenger hunt. “We begin the hunt with a kickoff party at the end of June,” says Marcus Wells, community center programmer for Lansing Parks and Recreation. “This is when most families register and when the game begins.” They receive their packet of clues, which direct them to 20 of Lansing’s more than 110 local parks and participating local businesses where they can take interactive photos. Players then upload their pictures to a photo-sharing app, where they are compiled and scored by scavenger hunt coordinators. Photo are scored based on content, with park photos being worth six points and business photos worth slightly more. Families are encouraged to collect as many photos as possible in hopes of becoming the scavenger hunt champions. They also have opportunities to earn additional points, such as by referring other local families to participate. Other scavenger hunt activities include geocaching, a GPS-guided expedition where smartphone users enter coordinates into their map to navigate to a location that contains hidden items. While geocaching provides opportunities for any participants to collect prizes throughout the hunt, top scorers receive larger rewards, such as tickets for the family to visit Michigan’s Adventure amusement park. Many of the items and prizes offered are funded by donations from local business sponsors. In its first year, 12 families (a total of 60 individuals) participated in the scavenger hunt. Last year, that number grew to 17 (more than 100 individuals) and will likely continue to increase as awareness of the game continues to grow. “The hunt gets people to visit new places they might not have been to,” says Wells, “and brings more traffic to local parks and businesses.” Not only does the game get individuals and businesses involved with their parks and community, but it also gets families outside and engaged with each other. To learn more about Lansing’s park and rec scavenger hunt, visit its Facebook page at www.face book.com/lansingparksandrecreation. – Lindsay Collins, Associate Editor, Parks & Recreation magazine

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150 BASEBALL GAMES. 5 CAMP DAYS. 2 CONCERTS. 1 TURF MANAGER WHO CAN FIELD THEM ALL. The Charleston RiverDogs field gets a lot of traffic. And not all of it is baseball driven. But 2017 Single A Sports Turf Manager of the Year Mike Williams kept his field going and growing — even after an unfortunate accident with a contaminated sprayer that almost killed his rye grass. With the help of John Deere equipment and local dealer support, he was able to make it through the season. And snag a much deserved honor. To get a championship performance on your field, see your local John Deere dealer or visit JohnDeere.com/Sportsturf



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Parks & Recreation Magazine - July 2019  

Parks & Recreation Magazine - July 2019  

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