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contents november 2017 DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Natalia E. Briggs

volume 52 | number 11 |

Air Force Staff Sgt. Justin Fuchs competes in the 22 kilometer male recumbent cycling competition at the 2017 Department of Defense Warrior Games.


38 The 2017 DoD Warrior Games Invade Chicago The DoD Warrior Games, the culminating event for the Military Adaptive Sports Programs, took place this summer in Chicago, Illinois. For the first time, this Paralympic-style sports competition for seriously wounded, ill or injured post-9/11 service members and veterans was not conducted on a military installation and was open to the public. The success of this year’s games rests not only with the athletes and their caregivers, but also with the outside-the-box thinking of the event’s organizers. John Prue

42 Healthy Military Families Families experience many challenges during the deployment of their loved ones who are in the military and often have higher rates of depression, 4

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anxiety, sleep disorders and other mental health issues. Recognition of these challenges led Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) department at Fort Riley, Kansas, to look at how participating in activities can promote resiliency in the spouses and families of deployed service members. Carol Potter and Matt Enoch

46 Inspiration in the Big Easy Close to 8,000 park and recreation professionals gathered in the Big Easy in September for the 2017 NRPA Annual Conference, and it was one for the record books! The various education sessions, speakers, exhibit hall and numerous networking events, coupled with the energy of the great city of New Orleans, were the perfect recipe for an exciting affair. Cort Jones

contents november

columns 8 Perspectives

departments 12 Research „„ NRPA Americans’ Engagement with Parks Survey Report Released 12 „„ Park Pulse: Recreation Centers Play an Important Role in Communities Nationwide 14

16 Community Center „„ The Single Marine Program 16 „„ A Place to Heal 18 „„ I Am a Park & Rec Kid! 19

20 Member to Member The San Diego Park and Recreation’s Veterans Program: A New Battlefield Sonia Myrick

50 NRPA Update „„ TPL, NRPA and the ULI Launch a 10-Minute Walk Campaign 50 „„ NRPA’s Board of Directors: Looking for a Few Good Candidates 50 „„ Taos Land Trust to Carry Out Water Restoration Project along the Rio Grande 51 „„ NRPA’s Roland Richardson Among NAAEE’s 30 Under 30 51 „„ Connect Hot Topics 52 „„ Member Benefit: A One-Stop Shop for Arts & Crafts Supplies 52 „„ Member Spotlight: Carol Potter 53

Because Everyone Deserves a Great Park! Barbara Tulipane, CAE

10 Editor’s Letter Thank You for Your Service Gina Mullins-Cohen

22 Advocacy A Park Champions Smackdown Jayni Rasmussen and Chelsea Hodgkins

24 Law Review Park Permit for Location-Based ‘Pokémon Go’ Games James C. Kozlowski, J.D., Ph.D.

30 Future Leaders Advice to Young Professionals on Creating a Successful Department Robbie Spencer

32 Conservation Making Stormwater Great — for the First Time Scott Taylor, P.E., and Seth Brown, P.E.

34 Health and Wellness Improving Military Readiness Through Physical Activity Hayley Hamilton, David Brown, Heather Devlin, Janet Fulton, Allison Colman and Maureen Acquino

36 Social Equity Reimagining Conservation: The Next 100 Years Kevin Bryan and Robert García

„„ Parks & Recreation Crossword 54 „„ Professional Development Calendar 55

56 Operations Naval Station Guantanamo Bay

58 Products 59 Marketplace 63 Advertiser Index 64 Park Bench Hooping for Hearts Sonia Myrick


Parks & Recreation

DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Patrick Gordon

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Because Everyone Deserves a Great Park! If you haven’t already noticed, NRPA has a new tagline, Because everyone deserves a great park. It explains why NRPA exists rather than what it does, which includes certifying individuals, accrediting agencies, educating Congress and hosting more than 8,000 park and recreation professionals at our annual conference. NRPA’s history goes back more than 100 years when the founders worked to ensure that everyone living in the United States had a right to parks and recreation. In fact, they believed, as we do today, that parks are our birthright. The freedoms we cherish in our country, the values we share and the inalienable rights we exercise are what define us, and so do our parks. Perhaps no other country in the world has the rich heritage of national, state and local parks that we do in America. We love our parks. But, it has become increasingly apparent over the years that not everyone has equal access to a quality park. In fact, new research shows that one in three people do not have access to a park or open space within 10 minutes of their home. This is as unacceptable today as it was 100 years ago. To rectify this inequity, NRPA, The Trust for Public Land and the Urban Land Institute recently launched a national campaign to ensure that there’s a great park within a 10-minute walk of every person, in every neighborhood, in every city across America. The “10-minute walk” campaign marks the start of a multiyear partnership with cities and mayors nationwide. Beginning in 2018, the campaign partners will work with cities on measurable policies and strategies to advance the 10-minute walk vision. As a lead partner, NRPA will develop and share additional research and training resources ( to support park and recreation agencies and their partners in this important work. And, we will also provide best practices and funding. Mayors across the country are signing on to actively pursue the 10-minute walk goal. To date, more than 100 mayors have already pledged their support, and while that’s encouraging, this movement will require more elected officials to step up. To see if your city or mayor has made a commitment, visit If they haven’t yet and you can help with the conversation, visit for talking points and research. But, what is a great park? During conference in New Orleans, NRPA’s board of directors challenged the NRPA team to answer this question. To ensure we get it right, we would like to hear from you — you know parks better than anyone. To participate in this important work, send a brief paragraph or a few bullet points about what you think makes a great park to NRPA’s commitment to building healthier communities; conserving our natural resources, lands and waters; and providing the benefits of parks and recreation requires the support from the field, like-minded organizations, the public and elected officials. Our Three Pillars — Health and Wellness, Social Equity and Conservation — support our belief that everyone has the right to a park that’s close to home, is easy to get to, has quality amenities, and is safe and accessible to all. Why? Because everyone deserves a great park!

BAR BAR A T ULIPAN E, C AE President and CEO 8

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

NRPA’S MISSION: To advance parks, recreation and environmental conservation efforts that enhance the quality of life for all people. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Roslyn Johnson

Chair of the Board of Directors Leon T. Andrews, Jr.

Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Greenbelt, Maryland

National League of Cities Washington, D.C.

Chair-Elect Jack Kardys Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department Miami, Florida

Past Chair Stephen Eckelberry Bartlett Park District Bartlett, Illinois

Treasurer Michael Kelly Chicago Park District Chicago, Illinois

Jack Kardys Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department Miami, Florida Chicago Park District Chicago, Illinois

Karen Bates Kress Park Advocate Emigrant, Montana

Herman Parker

Molly Stevens

Michael Abbaté, FASLA City of Portland Parks and Recreation Portland, Oregon

Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center Austin, Texas

Nonet T. Sykes The Annie E. Casey Foundation Baltimore, Maryland

Xavier Urrutia City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation San Antonio, Texas

Dr. Howell Wechsler

Jesús Aguirre

Alliance for a Healthier Generation New York, New York

Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation Seattle, Washington

LIFE TRUSTEES Beverly D. Chrisman

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

Neelay Bhatt PROS Consulting Indianapolis, Indiana

Hayden Brooks

Lexington, South Carolina

Anne S. Close Fort Mill, South Carolina

James H. Evans New York, New York

Rosemary Hall Evans Sugar Hill, New Hampshire

American Realty Corporation Austin, Texas

Earl T. Groves

Kong Chang

Charles E. Hartsoe, Ph.D.

City of Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Saint Paul, Minnesota

Kevin Coyle

Gastonia, North Carolina Richmond, Virginia



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Thank You for Your Service In honor of Veterans Day on November 11, we proudly devote this month’s issue to the military. As you read through these pages, you’ll learn how park and recreation agencies are giving back to those serving in the armed services, and how they are making a difference in the lives of our military families. Our cover story, on page 38, titled “The 2017 DoD Warrior Games Invade Chicago,” by contributor John Prue, of the Morale, Welfare & Recreation (MWR) Naval Station in Great Lakes, Illinois, profiles this incredible Paralympic-style sports competition, which took place this past summer. The “Windy City” hosted the eighth annual Warrior Games, in which post-9/11 service members and veterans, who have been seriously wounded, ill or injured, demonstrated their athletic prowess in a variety of sports, including cycling, track and field, sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball, to name a few. Approximately 265 athletes from the U.S. Army, Navy/Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Air Force and Special Operation Command teams competed in the games, which also welcomed athletes from the United Kingdom and Australia. Although we dedicate this issue to our active and retired service members, we mustn’t forget about their loved ones and the sacrifices they, too, have made to our country. Writers Carol Potter, formerly of MWR Policy, and Matt Enoch, community program coordinator at Fort Riley Family and MWR, discuss the challenges that military families must endure — and how their experiences impact their health and wellbeing — when their spouse or parent serving in the armed services is deployed. The feature, “Healthy Military Families” on page 42, highlights a study showing how participating in Morale, Welfare and Recreation activities at Fort Riley, Kansas, can help blue star families, particularly spouses, become more resilient and less stressed when their loved one is away on active duty. Next, in this month’s Operations article on page 56, contributor Jennifer Bardoni, of Navy Morale, Welfare and Recreation Department at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, offers an inside look at what it’s like to manage recreation programs at a remote location and explains what makes Naval Station Guantanamo Bay so unique. For those who couldn’t make it to NRPA’s Annual Conference last month, please check out our wrap-up feature on page 46. Also, be sure to mark your calendars for next year’s conference, September 25–27, 2018, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Lastly, as you celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday later this month with your families, please remember to also give thanks to those brave men and women currently serving in our armed services.

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

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PRESIDENT AND CEO Barbara Tulipane, CAE VICE PRESIDENT OF MARKETING, COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLISHING, AND EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Gina Mullins-Cohen EXECUTIVE EDITOR Sonia Myrick ASSOCIATE EDITOR Cort Jones EDITORIAL CONTRIBUTOR Catrina Belt PUBLICATION DESIGN Creative By Design SENIOR SALES MANAGER EASTERN REGION AND EUROPE Kip Ongstad 703.858.2174 SALES MANAGER WESTERN REGION AND ASIA Michelle Dellner 949.248.1057 MAGAZINE ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS Keith Anderson Gerald Brown Ernest Burkeen Brendan Daley Anthony-Paul Diaz Ryan Eaker Robert García Kathleen Gibi Sandra Gonzales Tim Herd Brian Johnson Todd Lehman Sam Mendelsohn Maria Nardi Lisa Paradis Gil Peñalosa Vic Richard Dr. Kevin Riley Karla Rivera Paula Sliefert Anne-Marie Spencer Stephen Springs Randy Wiger

Research NRPA Americans’ Engagement with Parks Survey Report Released By Kevin Roth, Ph.D.


t the 2017 NRPA Annual Conference, we released this year’s edition of the NRPA Americans’ Engagement with Parks Survey report. This is our annual research study that probes the public’s usage of parks, the key reasons that drive their use and the greatest challenges preventing greater enjoyment. Last year’s report found that Americans see parks and recreation as an important service, provided by their local government, which they frequently use and are willing to support with their tax dollars. The latest edition of this report, now available at, builds on these themes to paint a robust picture of the role parks and recreation plays in our communities and highlights the most important priorities Americans place on their local agencies. The report’s chief findings include: Parks and recreation is ingrained deeply in the lives of people throughout the United States. Eighty-six percent of Americans have visited a local park and/or recreation facility within the past year. More specifically, the typical American visits their local park and recreation facilities around twice a month, or 22 times per year. Many people are even heavier park and recreation users, with 14 percent visiting their local park and recreation facilities between 21 and 50 times over the past year and nearly one in 10 indicating they have done so on average at least once a week. Who are more likely to be heavy users of local park and recreation facilities? Millennials, those who identify as Hispanic and parents are more likely to report more frequent visits to local park and recreation facilities. On the other end of the spectrum are baby

12 Parks & Recreation

boomers, who make far less frequent visits to their local parks. High-quality park and recreation amenities are a crucial factor in where Americans choose to live. Eighty-five percent of survey respondents say that the proximity to parks, playgrounds, open space or recreation centers is a major factor in their decision on the neighborhood or area where they live. This includes two in three people who say that it is “very important” or “extremely important” in where they choose to live. Park and recreation opportunities are a particularly strong driver when choosing a place to live for millennials, Gen Xers, those who identify as Hispanic or non-white, parents and those earning higher incomes. Americans see parks and recreation as an important service delivered by their local government. Local governments provide their residents with many vital services that improve the quality of life in the community. This includes parks and recreation, which Americans place at nearly the same level of importance as they do for virtually every other major service delivered by their local government. A full 92

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percent of Americans agree that parks and recreation is an important service provided by their local government. This compares well with other local government services, including: • Public safety: Fire/EMT (98 percent) and Police (97 percent) • Water/Utilities (97 percent) • Roads/Transportation (97 percent) • Health services (95 percent) • Education (94 percent) • Economic development (93 percent) • Social services (90 percent) Americans agree that the NRPA Three Pillars represent what they see as key goals for their local park and recreation agency. Around four in five survey respondents see each pillar as a critical function of their local agency, with solid support

across virtually every demographic grouping, including age, income, household formation and political affiliation. Eighty percent of survey respondents rate it as either “extremely” or “very” important that their local park and recreation agency focuses on health and wellness, including providing residents with improved access to healthy food and increased opportunities for physical activity. Seventy-nine percent of survey respondents support their park and recreation agency devoting efforts to improve social equity, including ensuring access for all people in their communities to the benefits of local parks, regardless of race, age, income or any other characteristic. Seventy-nine percent of Americans see it as “extremely” or “very” important for their agency to devote resources to conservation, including protecting open spaces and engaging their communities in conservation practices. This year’s survey focused closely on the Conservation Pillar, finding that Americans cherish having easy access to nature and natural resources in local parks, trails and waterways. More than nine in 10 Americans attach a high value to having access to nature and natural resources, such as those delivered by the local parks, trails and waterways located in their community. This includes 78 percent of survey respondents who say these resources are either “very” or “extremely” valuable. Further, Americans place a high value on the protection of the natural environment in their communities. In turn, there is widespread agreement — 95 percent — among survey respondents that their local government should work to protect natural resources, such as fresh air, clean water and unpolluted green spaces through the acquisition and maintenance of local parks, trails and green spaces adjacent to lakes, rivers and waterways.

Americans see parks and recreation as an important conduit to connecting their communities to nature. This includes a great desire for their local park and recreation agency to offer guided nature walks, environmental education and nature-focused youth camps or service days, such as tree planting and river cleanup. Eighty-eight percent of survey respondents agree that it is important their local park and recreation agency provides these types of programs and scheduled activities to engage community members more closely with nature and the outdoors.

...the typical American visits their local park and recreation facilities around twice a month, or 22 times per year. Americans are nearly united in their support of their local government, including their local park and recreation agency, strengthening their community’s resiliency. Virtually everywhere in the United States is subject to extreme weather conditions, with greater percentages of Americans experiencing such events each year because of climate change and growing populations living in particularly fragile locales. Potential weather events may vary by region but can include flooding, severe thunderstorms, hurricanes, blizzards, droughts, extreme temperatures (both hot and cold) and wildfires. Four in five survey respondents expressed concern about their community’s ability to withstand or recover quickly from natural disasters, including 54 percent of survey respondents who are

“very” or “extremely” worried about their community’s resiliency. The degree of anxiety is made even more remarkable by the fact that this survey was conducted before the spate of recent hurricanes, fires and floods raised the public’s consciousness of how natural disasters impact day-to-day life. Americans see their local park and recreation facilities playing a vital role in their region’s ability to be resilient from natural disaster. Eighty-seven percent of survey respondents agree that the local government and park and recreation agency should make the needed investments to ensure their community is more resilient to natural disasters. A few examples of these investments include: • Parks doubling as flood control areas • In open spaces, selecting vegetation that mitigate pollution from stormwater runoff • Cultivating tree canopies in urban areas that help lessen the heating effects • Planting drought-resistant plants • Using recreation/community facilities to serve as emergency centers during excessive heating/cooling events or during and after a natural disaster. This column touches on just a few of the many takeaways from the 2017 NRPA Americans’ Engagement with Parks Survey. However, the main message from the report is that parks and recreation is an integral part of Americans’ lives as they transform our cities and towns into vibrant communities. I encourage you to take a closer look at the results to reaffirm the support your constituents have for the great work of your agency. But more importantly, consider using the findings from this report to tell your local stakeholders and the media about the many vital ways the general public engages with your agency. Kevin Roth, Ph.D., is NRPA’s Vice President of Research (

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NRPA Park Pulse Each month, through a poll of Americans that is focused on park and recreation issues, NRPA Park Pulse will help to tell the park and recreation story. Questions span from the serious to the more lighthearted, and with this month’s poll, we take a closer look at the various nontraditional services Americans would like to see offered by their recreation centers.

Recreation Centers Play an Important Role in Communities Nationwide Per a recent NRPA poll, Americans urge their local recreation center to offer a wide variety of nontraditional services, including…

Nature-Based Activities

Healthy Living Classes

Programming for Older Adults




Access to Computers and the Internet

Inclusive Facilites for All Abilities and Needs

Health Clinics and Services




These are in addition to services traditionally offered by park and recreation agencies — including fitness centers, out-of-school time programming and aquatic facilities. This Park Pulse survey was conducted on behalf of NRPA by Wakefield Research among 1,000 nationally representative Americans, ages 18+, between August 3 and 9, 2017.

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How Would You Judge Your Agency’s Performance?

You Shouldn’t Have to Guess NRPA Park Metrics is the most comprehensive source of data benchmarks and insights for park and recreation agencies. Use NRPA Park Metrics to easily build customized reports and compare your agency to others to gain more funding support, improve operations and better serve your community.

Enter your data by November 30 to get a free Facility Market Report - an analysis of the market served by one of your facilities.


Community Center The Single Marine Program Integral to morale and quality of life for young, single Marines By Meghan Edwards

T Photo courtesy of the US Marine Corps

his past April, 60 Marines from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in Havelock, North Carolina, traded in their rifles and PT gear for gardening gloves and trowels. The Marines swept, dug and raked at various places, from schools to veterans’ homes, as a part of the Single Marine Program Days of Service, an event that takes place across the country and involves thousands of Marines. But, these acts are only a small part of a program that’s integral to Marine morale and quality of life. In 1995, the Marine Corps established the Single Marine Program (SMP), which was designed to address concerns that many young, single Marines were unhappy with overall Marine Corps life. The idea was to create a place where they could not only get out of the barracks and connect with other single Marines, but could also be empowered to come up with workable solutions to the problems they were experiencing with Marine Corps life.

The SMP provides recreational activities and facilities to single Marines, as well as ample opportunities for volunteerism. What makes this program especially unique is that its members have an opportunity to have their voices heard — members sit on councils at the installations where they are stationed and bring the thoughts and ideas of their comrades to the attention of higher leadership. “Marines join this program because it empowers them,” says HQMC Program

Manager Michael Brown. “Marines power the program by participating in and offering their ideas, and, in turn, the Marine Corps leadership empowers them.” However, this isn’t the only reason the SMP is a hit. The opportunity to volunteer and get out in local communities is hugely popular among participants. Although each installation’s program provides opportunities throughout the year, the biggest event is the annual Days of Service. Events can range from beach cleanups and veteran home visits, to more traditional, structured activities, such as Habitat for Humanity builds. This year’s Day of Service brought more than 7,000 volunteers together to contribute nearly 29,500 hours of service to their communities. For Sgt. Daniel Hosch, president of SMP at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, SMP is all about bringing Marines together. He joined as soon as he began his Marine Corps career. “I was stationed in Okinawa, and being over there was a huge culture shock for me,” he explains. “Joining the SMP helped me find people to connect to.” Hosch says that he’s seen the program save lives. Military life is stressful, and getting those Marines who may be introverted or less inclined to form a community to engage is crucial. “I’ve seen Marines totally open up. They begin to feel like they’re part of something,” he adds. Other activities single Marines particMarine volunteers haul logs during the SMP’s Annual Day of Service at Prince William Forest Park in Virginia.

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ipate in are largely recreational. Participants go on sponsored trips to places like New York City or play paintball together. The program also provides them with specific recreational facilities on installation sites. For those interested in creating a similar program, Brown says the most important aspect is to let the participants do the driving. “We’re only here to support them. The Marines come together to decide every aspect of the program, from the trips they go on to what they need to bring to the attention of leadership,” he says. And, because the program is fully endorsed by the leadership, the single Marines see that their concerns are listened to and that there’s follow-through. Although the SMP does this by bringing concerns to the attention of the local installation leadership, other non-military institutions may be able to do something similar by voicing concerns through visits to city councils or smaller governing

Photo courtesy of the US Marine Corps Photo courtesy of the US Marine Corps

SMP volunteers clean up Yuu Beach at Iwakuni City in Japan

structures such as town halls. Also, to see success within the program, Brown advises giving it time to settle. There is no marketing campaign to push for Single Marine Program membership. Instead, participation is garnered through word-of-mouth and growth is organic. Ultimately, however, creating something like the SMP comes down to

U.S. service members participate in a sumo wrestling competition.

community. “The SMP really speaks to Marines and brings us together,” says Hosch. “These are activities we could do on our own, but instead, we’re working as one team, one community.” Meghan Edwards is the Digital Content Editor for Marine Corps Community Services (meghan.

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Community Center

A Place to Heal The city of Las Vegas creates healing park in four days to honor shooting victims By Paula Jacoby-Garrett


n Sunday, October 1, 2017, a lone gunman opened fire from a hotel window on a crowd of more than 20,000 concert-goers at the Route 91 Harvest Festival on Las Vegas Boulevard in Las Vegas. Fifty-eight people were killed and 489 people were injured, making this incident the deadliest mass shooting by an individual in U.S. history.

The Impact The country was stunned as yet another mass shooting took the lives of the innocent, with no apparent answers as to why. The Las Vegas community was especially hard hit as it awoke the following morning to the media accounts and more information began surfacing. News started spreading about community members who had been shot and scenes of victims and of bloodied ER rooms began to surface. Among the difficult tasks was trying to explain this senseless act to our children. From Idea to Park in Four Days When Jay Pleggenkuhle, a local landscaper and owner of Stonerose Landscapes, awoke

Monday morning, still struggling with emotions about this tragedy, he had the idea of a pop-up park as a memorial. He approached Las Vegas city officials, who immediately liked the idea but wanted something more permanent. The city offered a half-acre site in the Art District that had originally been slated for a dog park. Before noon that day, donations for the park were already coming in. Local nursery and landscape companies donated 58 tupelo trees, one for each victim, a variety of shrubs and plants, soil, walkway pavers and other materials. The famed Las Vegas magicians, Siegfried and Roy, donated an oak tree, called the “Tree of Life,” to be at the park center, surrounded by a heart-shaped planter.

Over the next few days, more than 1,000 people offered their support, either through volunteering to help install the park or by providing materials or funds. Volunteers included local high school students and a fraternity from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The Opening By Friday evening, following the shooting, an opening event for the park was held with several groups singing for the attendees, and Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Councilman Bob Coffin addressing the crowd. “The Healing Garden allows a place for everyone to grieve for the tragedy that occurred, as well as provides a place of support for each other as a community,” says lifelong Las Vegas resident, Maria Paxinos. The park features a pathway, seating area and a center planter with the “Tree of Life.” In the center is a wooden palette wall called the Remembrance Wall. Photos of the 58 victims adorn the wall with notes and mementos filling the spaces. Paula Jacoby-Garrett is a Freelance Writer based in Las Vegas, Nevada (paula.jacoby.

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I Am a Park & Rec Kid! The valuable life skills gained from that experience By Anna Amselle, CAE


t all started in Parks. When I was 4 years old, I started taking swimming lessons at the local park and recreation pool in Winterset, Iowa. By the time I reached high school, I had worked my way up the ranks to become a lifeguard and then worked at my college pool, as well as at the local park and recreation swimming pool. Through these experiences, I learned how to manage a pool; motivate, hire and train new lifeguards; teach swimming lessons; and work with the public. Annual CPR training and first aid training every three years was also part of the requirement for being a lifeguard. The experiences and trainings were all very valuable life skills, and recently, the value of one of those skills was realized during a very critical situation. I had just sat down to watch my daughter’s soccer practice when her coach asked if I knew CPR. “Yes,” I replied, “but it had been many years ago.” On a neighboring field, a man, who had been coaching his son’s team, had collapsed to the ground and was unresponsive. As I rushed over to where he lay, I thought that my CPR training should come back

to me, just like remembering how to ride a bike, right? Another coach was on the phone with the 911 operator when I reached the man. I felt on his neck for a pulse, but it was very faint and inconsistent. The other coach couldn’t locate a pulse on his right wrist, so, I checked his left wrist and felt nothing. Immediately, I began doing CPR and time seemed to completely stop around me. During my lifeguard training, I recalled the instructors working with us to be sure to push consistently in a steady, rhythmic motion while applying direct force to the chest. Now, the 911 operator was walking us through the steady beat of compressions — 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and repeat. My arms were growing tired, but this man and his son, who had witnessed his dad’s collapse and the subsequent efforts to revive him, needed my help.  It was the longest 13 minutes of my life, as I did compressions until the ambulance arrived. Twelve emergency responders emerged from two ambulances and a fire truck. Once the man was stabilized, the

paramedics moved him into the ambulance and transported him to the hospital. One of the emergency responders who had been collecting information from people at the scene, asked me who had given him CPR and I told him I had. From the tone of his voice, I assumed I’d done something desperately wrong. He took down my contact information and again noted that I was the one who had performed CPR. So, I asked him why and if I had done something wrong. Did I further injure the man because of my rusty skills? “No Ma’am,” he replied, “you saved his life. Were you trained to be able to do that?” I’m a parks and recreation kid. I grew up in parks, I worked for parks and my family still enjoys parks. My park and recreation jobs gave me the skills to save that man’s life. There were hundreds of people present, but either none had training in CPR or wanted to step up. This is why my job with NRPA is so important to me, and it’s why I love growing up a parks and rec kid! Anna Amselle, CAE, is NRPA’s Chief Operating and Financial Officer (

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Parks & Recreation


Member to Member The San Diego Park and Recreation’s Veterans Program: A New Battlefield By Sonia Myrick


an Diego, the eighth largest city in the United States and the second largest in California, is home to more than 1.4 million people. The city is also home to the nation’s largest concentration of military personnel, with some 95,000 veterans. Since there is a large military presence, the City of San Diego Park and Recreation Department, Therapeutic Recreation Services (TRS) wanted to provide recreational opportunities for injured service members/veterans. TRS already provides a wide array of recreational opportunities for children and adults with various disabilities, but when it received a $66,600 grant from UnitedHealthcare, specifically to help wounded veterans, the stage was set for an idea that had been brewing for about a year and a half to become a reality.

Photo courtesy @jayarmi

Tip-off at the wheelchair basketball scrimmage between the Naval Medical Center’s Wolfpack and Adaptive Sports and Recreation’s Hammer.

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“We recognize that the military offers many resources at various military hospitals and military services,” says Recreation Specialist Nick Hurd, “but we wanted to create programs where injured service members and veterans are more involved within their local communities. In planning the program, we hoped to create a social and friendly environment where individuals can engage in different recreational activities and, hopefully, spark a new interest or hobby for them. We also hoped that relationships and friendships with their peers who have similar backgrounds and interests would develop.” In addition to the UnitedHealthcare grant, nearly $8 million in Community Development Block Grant funding is earmarked to renovate a three-story YMCA building, which will be the new home to TRS. The renovated facility, Park de la Cruz (PDLC), scheduled to open in the summer of 2018, will increase recreational opportunities for individuals with disabilities, older adults, veterans and community members. The growth of the veterans program has largely been organic. “We initially spread the word through agencies that we have partnered with in the past — the Veterans Administration, Naval Medical Hospital and Wounded Warriors,” says Recreation Specialist Juan Razo. “At first, the program did not get much attention because we were new to the population, but word got out quickly, and now, we see a lot of potential growth. We have had great reception from the participants, who are now asking for more

Paddleboarding and archery are among the activities the City of San Diego Park and Recreation Department, Therapeutic Recreation Services (TRS) offers to injured service members and to veterans.

Freedom on Four Wheels With the funds from UnitedHealthcare, TRS also hosted a wheelchair basketball scrimmage in August of 2016 to celebrate the opening of the PDLC gymnasium, where TRS plans to host more wheelchair sports tournaments in the future. As part of its pre-season, the Naval Medical Center’s team, Wolfpack, took on the Adaptive Sports and Recreation’s team, Hammer. The wheelchair basketball program is helping veterans stay strong and continue to experience that sense of comradery. U.S. Marine Corps veteran and Wolfpack Wheelchair basketball player Jorge Salazar says: “It’s very important to have a facility like this. We can’t just

Photos courtesy Nick Hurd

activities. We strive to create different opportunities that are not being offered as much, in addition to highlighting our local community resources, such as the bay, beaches and mountains.” The staff reports that participants really enjoy relaxing and mellow outdoor activities that do not need extreme/extensive physical conditioning. Paddleboarding and archery are among the activities offered through TRS. “Seeing the enjoyment of an injured service member hitting a bullseye during archery or having an injured service member with Parkinson’s stand up on a paddleboard, brings a lot of enjoyment and excitement to me personally,” says Hurd. The feedback frequently given by the injured service members is that the programs are low-stress and the instruction is thorough and provided in a safe, non-intimidating environment. One participant shared that there are days he does not want to leave his house and is very depressed, but he’ll come out to the archery program every time, no matter what. The program staff knows that stressful situations can lead to participants not wanting to come back. go outside in the street and play because it completely destroys our wheelchairs, so when we have a beautiful court, great facility and great staff, it makes it so much better. This is our new battlefield here. It allows you to get that sensation that you’re going fast again. Whether it’s a layup or you get hit, you get right back up and keep going.” Salazar, a single dad of two, is a double above-theknee amputee. Quality vs. Quantity The veterans program has been in place for approximately a year. From the outset, the staff has encouraged feedback from the participants to improve the existing programs and to see what they

would like to try in the future. They’ve observed that many new bonds and friendships have been formed and, since many of the members belong to different organizations, the program staff is beginning to collaborate with those organizations to create new programs. “Starting a new program to members who currently have a variety of recreational opportunities already available to them can be difficult. It may sound easy, but not oversaturating the programs with the same recreational opportunities is a challenge. In addition, identifying the best time and day for programs is challenging, to avoid conflicting opportunities for participants,” explains Hurd. “There are a lot of resources for military members for recreation, but if you make positive and meaningful bonds with your members or participants, they typically continue coming back to your programs. Get to know your audience and make them feel welcome,” he advises. “My advice would be to focus on quality over quantity,” Razo adds. “There are many veterans, and you could have huge programs with big numbers, but when you have a smaller group, you build relationships and, therefore, in my opinion, make more of a difference in their lives.” Sonia Myrick is the Executive Editor for Parks & Recreation magazine (

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Parks & Recreation



A Park Champions Smackdown By Jayni Rasmussen and Chelsea Hodgkins


ark Champions — NRPA members advocating for the future of parks and rec by inviting their members of Congress to events, park dedications, program kickoffs and more — are going to the mats. NRPA members have hosted more than 50 Park Champion events this year, showing members of Congress firsthand the importance of federal investment in local parks and recreation. the Park Champion initiative to invite their members of Congress to an event highlighting their parks and programs.

Som Subedi claimed his custom Park Champion WWE-style championship belt at the 2017 NRPA Annual Conference in New Orleans.

Every year, we recognize an incredible Park Champion with the Park Champion of the Year award. In case you missed it, Som Subedi, of Portland Parks & Recreation, claimed his custom Park Champion WWE-style championship belt in New Orleans. It was, if we do say so ourselves, awesome. We featured Som’s winning Park Champion event in last month’s issue, so this month, we’re highlighting the other amazing finalists who tapped into 22 Parks & Recreation

Mount Airy Parks and Recreation: Hero Day with Congresswoman Virginia Foxx On August 3, finalists Director Catrina Alexander and Assistant Director Darren Lewis of Mount Airy Parks and Recreation in North Carolina invited Congresswoman Virginia Foxx to Hero Day at their summer camp. Hero Day campers participated in fun, educational activities led by staff from the local police, fire and recycling departments. After observing the Hero Day activities, Congresswoman Foxx handed out free lunches to the children through the USDA Summer Food Service program. It’s critical that Congresswoman Foxx, who chairs the House Committee on Education and the Workforce — which handles USDA nutrition programs — see how park and recreation agencies like Mt. Airy are participating in the program. “Following the event, Congresswom-

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an Foxx, the city manager, the mayor and the board members expressed how the event helped them to understand the importance of recreation and community partnerships. Furthermore, it confirmed their commitment to healthy youth initiatives. “It was a huge win,” say Alexander and Lewis. The Mustang Parks Foundation: Brittany’s Play Adventure Opening with Senator James Lankford Aware of the need for an accessible playground in her community, finalist Lynly Grider, executive director of the Mustang Parks Foundation, spent two years collaborating with Mustang Parks and Recreation, elected officials and community groups to design, fund and build Brittany’s Play Adventure, Mustang, Oklahoma’s first all-inclusive park. Through the Park Champion initiative and by leveraging relationships, Lynly, more than 300 community members, U.S. Senator James Lankford and state and local officials celebrated the opening of Brittany’s Play Adventure on June 3. The opening, which gave some families the opportunity to play at a park for the very first time, showed Senator Lankford the importance of parks and recreation in building happier, healthier communities for everyone. East Goshen Parks and Recreation Department: East and West Goshen Bicentennial with Congressman Ryan Costello On June 3, East Goshen Township Parks and Recreation in Pennsylvania brought history to life for 3,500 residents and elected officials, including Congressman Ryan Costello, to celebrate the bicentennial of the split between the East

and West Goshen Townships. Parks and Recreation Director and finalist Jason Lang coordinated with local organizations to create a fun, historically accurate performance of the split. “The Park Champion initiative means a lot to our department and our community,” says Lang. “Every park and recreation agency should have strong relationships with its community and elected officials — they play a huge part in securing funding for current and future initiatives. It has helped us secure more than $4.1 million in grants to maintain and build trails, playgrounds and park structures.” Kansas City Parks and Recreation: Black/Brown Celebration with Congressman Emanuel Cleaver On July 3, finalists Director Mark

McHenry and Special Projects Manager Terrence Williams of Kansas City Parks and Recreation hosted Congressman Emanuel Cleaver at the Black/Brown Celebration, a community event celebrating diversity. Attended by more than 4,000 community members, the event featured a concert headlined by performer Sheila E. and a fireworks show. The celebration was co-sponsored by the Black/Brown Coalition and Wells Fargo. At the event, Wells Fargo announced large financial investments to increase the number of African-American and Latino homeowners and promote financial counseling and education. By participating in the event, Congressman Cleaver saw the important role parks and recreation plays in creating a brighter, more equitable future.

You Just Made the List Are you ready to jump into the ring to be the next Park Champion of the Year? This year at Conference, we signed up more than 300 new Park Champions! If you missed the steamboat on signing up in New Orleans, don’t worry. It’s easy to sign up at If you have any questions, email Jayni Rasmussen at or call 703.858.4731.

Jayni Rasmussen is NRPA’s Advocacy and Outreach Manager ( Chelsea Hodgkins is NRPA’s Government Affairs Intern (

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Park Permit for Location-Based ‘Pokémon Go’ Games By James C. Kozlowski, J.D., Ph.D.


he first runaway hit in this augmented reality game genre, Pokémon Go, arrived on the scene in July 2016. “Augmented reality” (AR) refers to the digital enhancement of physical senses, most commonly sight. Mobile games, like Pokémon Go, use location-sensing technology and AR imagery to create a game world where players interact with digital content in designated geolocations, called “game stops,” to discover virtual creatures that are algorithmically generated in response to players’ locations. Pokémon Go quickly became one of the world’s most popular mobile game applications. Across the country, the unanticipated popularity of Pokémon Go drew thousands of visitors to public parks and places to play the game. As described in the case of Candy Lab Inc. v Milwaukee County, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113122 (E.D. Wis. 7/20/2017), Milwaukee County claimed those playing Pokémon Go had “trashed Milwaukee County parks, stayed after park hours, caused significant traffic congestion and made excessive noise.” Milwaukee County cited reports of inadequate bathrooms for parkgoers, unauthorized vendors in the park, parking violations and significantly increased traffic congestion. According to the

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county, the impact of these activities “ultimately cost the County thousands of dollars in increased police and park maintenance services.” In response, the county adopted an ordinance, which gave rise to the federal court opinion described herein. The challenged ordinance required those offering AR games to apply for event permits and to secure garbage collection, security and medical services, as well as insurance. Offering a game without a permit could result in a fine or jail time.

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Texas Rope ’Em In March 2017, the plaintiff, Candy Lab, announced the launch of “Texas Rope ’Em,” a location-based AR application based on a traditional poker game. Although the storylines are quite different, Texas Rope ’Em has gameplay elements very similar to Pokémon Go. Both games include location-based and AR elements that require players to travel to real-world locations to play. These locations included, at times, public parks that are owned and maintained by the defendant, Milwaukee County. Like Pokémon Go, Candy Lab’s mobile application game accesses a mobile phone’s rear-facing camera during gameplay and overlays visual elements onto the image of the real world as seen through the camera, including playing cards, which the user can collect. Part of the game involves the user traveling to specific real-world locations to collect

these cards, with the aid of the camera images and an in-game map. Texas Rope ’Em players begin the game with two of the five required playing cards. To build their hands, players must carry their mobile device to game stops indicated on the game map to obtain a new card. Once the player has set his or her hand, the cards are played against the dealer. If the player loses, he or she can try again. Players who beat the dealer win points and, in future versions of the game, will be able to win in-app bonuses or prizes. Candy Lab reports that none of these prizes will be worth money. Pokémon Go Discontent? In response to perceived problems associated with AR game use in public parks, Sheldon A. Wasserman, a member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors (“Wasserman”) proposed Resolution 16-637, which became Section 47.03(3) of the Milwaukee County Code of General Ordinances, to regulate games like Pokémon Go by targeting the companies that publish them. Multiple supervisors spoke against the ordinance during deliberations, disputing claims about the game’s impact. These officials argued that the gamers were not causing disturbances and that it was a positive development to see a diverse new group of people using the parks. They perceived the true driving force behind residents’ complaints to be fear of the unknown and umbrage at an unanticipated increase in use of the nearby public parks. In response, Wasserman emphasized that the ordinance was not directed against Pokémon Go players but, instead, sought to regulate the businesses that profit from them. Wasserman believed that the ordinance could help control the growing popularity of games like Pokémon Go and, perhaps more importantly, leverage that popu

larity to make money for the county, which was required to maintain the parks that were so heavily used during gameplay. Game Permit Ordinance On February 2, 2017, the Milwaukee County Board adopted an AR game ordinance by a vote of 13–4. On February 20, the Ordinance was published and became effective. It read, in pertinent part as follows: (3) Permits required for location-based augmented reality games. Virtual and location-based augmented reality games are not permitted in Milwaukee County

tion adopting the ordinance (but not the codified language itself) defined “virtual gaming” as follows: An activity during which a person can experience being in a three-dimensional environment and interact with that environment during a game, and the game typically consists of an artificial world of images and sounds created by a computer that is affected by the actions of a person who is experiencing it; and...[further provides that] Pokémon Go fits the characteristics defined by virtual gaming and is considered as such by the standards of the DPRC.

Across the country, the unanticipated popularity of Pokémon Go drew thousands of visitors to public parks and places to play the game.

Parks except in those areas designated with a permit for such use by the Director of the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Culture [the ‘DPRC’]. Permits shall be required before any company may introduce a location-based augmented reality game into the Parks, effective January 1, 2017... Game activity shall only occur during standard park hours, unless otherwise authorized by the DPRC Director, who has the authority to designate special events and activities within the Parks outside of the standard operational hours. The ordinance did not define the term “location-based augmented reality games,” although it implied that Pokémon Go is such a game. The resolu-

The park permit application process was described on DPRC’s website for companies that create and promote such game, including plaintiff Candy Lab, Inc. That process included an internal review by the DPRC to determine the appropriateness of the application based on site selection, protection of rare flora and fauna, personal safety and the intensity of game activities on park lands. The DPRC website noted that the “Milwaukee County Parks 2017 Special Event Application” (the “Permit Application”) was required for “virtual gaming.” The 10-page Permit Application requested a large amount of information about a proposed event, such as estimated attendance, location within the park, event dates and

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times, a site map, and whether and how the event will be advertised. The Permit Application also required detailed plans for garbage collection, onsite security and medical services, and warns that applicants will be responsible for these services. In addition, the Permit Application required applicants to have liability insurance and make it available on-site for inspection. It also required payment of several fees and gave the DPRC the discretion to demand more information. Furthermore, the Permit Application cautions “[s]ubmittal of an application does not automatically grant [an applicant] a permit or confirmation to conduct your planned event.” Specifically, the Permit Application warned

Game Developer Challenge Game developer, plaintiff Candy Lab, wanted to offer Texas Rope ’Em to county residents to use in Milwaukee County parks, but it did not want to incur the fees associated with obtaining the services necessary to secure a permit. In late March 2017, Candy Lab’s CEO, Andrew Couch, contacted the county to explain Texas Rope ’Em and confirm whether Candy Lab was required to obtain a special event permit before releasing its game to the public. DPRC Special Events Coordinator Ryan Broderick responded: “You must complete the attached Special Event Application and submit with a map of all of the areas that you would like to add virtual gaming stops.” Couch in-

Milwaukee County claimed those playing Pokémon Go had “trashed Milwaukee County parks, stayed after park hours, caused significant traffic congestion and made excessive noise.” that “Milwaukee County Parks in its sole discretion may grant, deny, revoke, or suspend any permit, at any time and for any reason.” The ordinance was codified at Section 47.03(3) of the County Municipal Code. Chapter 47 of the Code regulates County “Parks and Parkways.” Section 47.29(1) specified that the penalty for violation of a provision of that chapter was a fine of not less than $10.00 or more than $200.00. A court could order up to 90 days of jail time if the fine was not paid. In addition, police officers could arrest violators, and the DPRC could issue citations in addition to the penalties described in the municipal code. 26 Parks & Recreation

quired a second time to confirm whether “Candy Lab requires a Special Events permit before releasing Texas Rope ’Em to the public.” Broderick said, “Yes.” Candy Lab did not apply for a permit. Instead, it challenged the ordinance in federal district court as a violation of its First Amendment right to freedom of speech. In so doing, Candy Lab filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to prohibit enforcement of the ordinance. In response, the county filed a motion to dismiss, claiming Candy Lab’s complaint had failed to state a claim based on the First Amendment. Moreover, the county reported the ordinance was not currently being enforced against Candy Lab.

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Are Video Games Protected Speech? In determining whether the ordinance violated the First Amendment, the federal district court had to consider “whether Texas Rope ’Em counts as protectable speech and how protections for video games under the First Amendment interact with park permitting schemes like that enacted in the Ordinance.” As noted by the federal district court, “video games, like other forms of expression, are entitled to First Amendment protection.” The county, however, claimed, “Candy Lab’s game does not warrant protection because it does not have sufficient expressive elements, such as plot, characters, or dialogue.” As characterized by the county, Candy Lab’s game was “no more than a pictorial overlay on the real world to facilitate a card game; it communicates no ideas or messages.” Moreover, the county claimed no court had extended the First Amendment to AR games. The federal district court rejected the county’s argument that the game lacked expressive content. In so doing, the court quoted the U.S. Supreme Court regarding “the challenges of applying the Constitution to ever-advancing technology.” According to the Supreme Court: “The basic principles of freedom of speech and the press, like the First Amendment’s command, do not vary when a new and different medium for communication appears.” Based on the evidence submitted in this particular instance, the federal district court was “satisfied that Texas Rope ’Em has sufficient expressive content” to warrant First Amendment protection: The game immerses a player in a Western-themed virtual environment, complete with a Texas-themed game title, color scheme, and graphics, allowing the player to corral favorable playing cards using

an animated lasso. The game conveys ideas related to the Wild West and scavenger hunting to lend an air of excitement and novelty to a traditional card game. Moreover, what Candy Lab’s game lacks in compelling literary tropes, it makes up for by employing features distinctive to the medium (such as the player’s interaction with the virtual world). These include displaying card locations on a map on the user’s phone, which the user must then physically navigate to and ‘grab’ using the phone’s camera. The federal district court, therefore, found “Texas Rope ’Em contains at least the minimum quantum of expression needed to constitute protectable speech.” Having determined that Texas Rope ’Em was entitled to First Amendment protection, the federal district court then considered Candy Lab’s claim that the ordinance was an “invalid prior restraint on speech.” Content Neutral? As noted by the federal district court: “The First Amendment accommodates reasonable restrictions on the time, place, and manner of speech, as long as they are (1) content-neutral, (2) narrowly tailored to serve a significant government interest, and (3) leave open ample alternative channels for communication of the information.” Most significantly, in this instance, the court found the ordinance was content neutral because it did not place any restrictions on a particular viewpoint or subject matter. On the contrary, the court found the challenged ordinance could be “interpreted and applied without reference to the subject matter of Texas Rope ’Em — i.e., a Texas-themed poker game.” In so doing, the court

rejected the notion that the ordinance was content-based because a county employee would have to review the content of a game, like Texas Rope ’Em, to determine if a particular AR game fell

within the scope of the ordinance. As characterized by the court, the ordinance merely imposed restrictions on “functionalities” of AR games, specifically “the fact they are location-based.”

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In so doing, the court found the ordinance “covers such games regardless of their content, be it poker, zombie-killing, or Pokémon-catching.” As a result, the court concluded the ordinance was content neutral; that is, not applied “to one game or another because of the topic discussed or the idea or message expressed.” Moreover, in the opinion of the federal district court, “the history and purpose of the Ordinance do not reflect a content-based animus [i.e., hostility] in the County officials who adopted it”: [The County’s] aim was to prevent litter, vandalism, traffic, and other problems attendant upon AR games like Pokémon Go. There is no evidence that their decisions were premised on a dislike for Japanese art or culture any more than a desire 28 Parks & Recreation

to curb gambling or show distaste for Western aesthetics. In short, nowhere in the Ordinance is there an indication that the County sought to agree, disagree, or otherwise express a view on the content of the AR games that might be played in its parks. While acknowledging the ordinance treated AR games differently from other mobile applications, the court found this distinction was based on “the mode or channel of speech, not its content.” As a result, the federal district court concluded the ordinance was content-neutral. Inadequate Procedural Safeguards Despite content-neutral time, place and manner restrictions in the ordinance, the federal district court found the chal-

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lenged ordinance did not “employ sufficient procedural safeguards to ensure the protection of First Amendment rights.” As noted by the court, a content-neutral regulation “may not condition speech on obtaining a license or permit from a government official in that official’s boundless discretion”: An acceptable regulation must contain adequate standards to guide the official’s decision and render it subject to effective judicial review. Such standards are critical because even in cases where a regulation is content-neutral on its face, placing unbridled discretion in the hands of a government official or agency, may result in censorship. In this instance, the court found “no such standards exist” in the challenged ordinance. While the ordinance directed all prospective game publishers to complete the Permit Application, it was left to the discretion of county officials to determine “the appropriateness of the application based on site selection, protection of rare flora and fauna, personal safety, and the intensity of game activities on park lands.” What was most troubling, was that the court found the Permit Application allowed the reviewing official unbridled discretion in determining the “appropriateness” of a given application. Specifically, the court was concerned by expressed language in the Permit Application, which asserted: “Milwaukee County Parks in its sole discretion may grant, deny, revoke, or suspend any permit, at any time and for any reason.” Accordingly, the federal district court held the challenged ordinance was invalid because it vested “unbridled discretion in the hands of a County official.” As noted by the court, an ordinance which vests the government with virtually unlimited authority to grant or deny a permit violates the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech.

In addition, the federal district court found the criteria in the ordinance were “too vague to afford adequate protection to free speech interests.” While the ordinance mentioned “site selection” as an issue of concern, the court found “no guidance as to which sites within a park might be suitable for playing an AR game,” or what events presented an “unreasonable danger to the health or safety of park users.” Similarly, the court found the challenged ordinance lacked clear and specific standards to guide county officials when considering “protection of rare flora and fauna” or “the intensity of game activities on park lands” when reviewing a permit application. Furthermore, while the ordinance listed “personal safety” as a relevant consideration, the court found “public safety” was too nebulous a concept to pass constitutional muster, as opposed to a “more robust criterion” like “unreasonable danger to the health and safety of park users.” Under these circumstances, the federal district court, therefore, concluded the ordinance had failed to provide “narrowly drawn, reasonable and definite standards to guide the County officials who must apply it.” Unsophisticated ‘Event’ Ordinance The federal district court also expressed serious doubts in determining whether the challenged ordinance was “narrowly tailored to serve the interests it purports to promote.” As characterized by the court, the “strangeness and lack of sophistication” in the ordinance was evident in the fact that the ordinance treated “game developers, like Candy Lab, as though they are trying to hold an ‘event’ in a Milwaukee County park.” As noted by the court, “Candy Lab’s video game will not be played at a discrete time or location within a park.” As a result, the court found it was “incongruent with

how Texas Rope ’Em (or any other mobile game) is played” to require Candy Lab to “secure insurance, portable restrooms, security, clean-up, and provide a timeline for an event.”

ment from too readily sacrificing speech for efficiency. In this instance, the federal district court found the county had failed to show that a less restrictive measure was

...officials argued that the gamers were not causing disturbances and that it was a positive development to see a diverse new group of people using the parks.

In the opinion of the federal district court, the county could better address the expressed concerns raised by AR games by “directly regulating the objectionable downstream conduct”: This might include aggressively penalizing gamers who violate park rules or limiting gamers to certain areas of the park. Such measures would assuage the alleged evils visited upon the parks by gamers while stifling less expression than the Ordinance does. Moreover, in the opinion of the court, the county’s contention that the ordinance “solves the problems presented by AR games” was “irrelevant.” While recognizing the government’s interest in the “orderly use of its property,” the federal district court acknowledged “the government may not regulate expression in such a manner that a substantial portion of the burden on speech does not serve to advance its goals.” Where certain speech is associated with particular problems, silencing the speech is sometimes the path of least resistance. But by demanding a close fit between ends and means, the tailoring requirement prevents the govern-

insufficient to promote and protect the “orderly use of its property.” Ordinance Blocked As a result, at this initial stage of the proceedings, the federal district court found “a reasonable likelihood that Candy Lab will succeed on its claim that the Ordinance violates the First Amendment on its face.” The federal district court, therefore, granted Candy Lab’s pretrial motion for a preliminary injunction, prohibiting enforcement of the challenged ordinance. The federal district court would then conduct further trial proceedings to determine whether a permanent injunction was warranted. Given the “strangeness and lack of sophistication” in this unconstitutional ordinance, the county might be expected to avoid the cost of additional litigation and choose to heed the court’s suggested alternative; that is, “aggressively penalizing gamers who violate park rules or limiting gamers to certain areas of the park.” 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 ( Webpage with link to law review articles archive (1982 to present):

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Parks & Recreation



Advice to Young Professionals on Creating a Successful Department By Robbie Spencer


ou’ve just been hired as the new park and recreation director or the new program supervisor in a brand-new department or one that needs a total renovation, and you’re still considered “wet behind the ears.” Where do you start? How do you approach the greatest challenge of your young professional career? You’ve had a few years of experience in the field and you’ve been educated to be a recreational professional, but has anything in your education or work experience prepared you for the challenge of starting a department from scratch or renovating an underperforming recreation department? This is exactly what happened to me two years ago at the age of 27. I became one of the youngest park and recreation directors in the state of Tennessee. I was hired to create a recreation department from scratch. I wasn’t sure what our elected board or our administration had in mind, or what their expectations were, but I knew what my expectations were and what I wanted to accomplish. In just two years, we have built a successful department

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from scratch. We have one of the highest program numbers in the Memphis metro area with a parks master maintenance plan; have created a comprehensive park and recreation plan, a fully functional staff, a sponsorship program and numerous partnerships; have created an identity for each park; and are developing a multimillion-dollar athletic complex. Because of our success, not only has the city of Lakeland’s property values gone up 12 percent, but

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our city has been ranked the third best place for young families to live in the state of Tennessee. But, how did we get here? How did I, a greenhorn, come into a situation and create a successful department as a young professional? Young professionals aren’t supposed to be able to do this yet, right? Wrong. You don’t need 20 years of experience in your job to be successful. You need a philosophy, a plan and to surround yourself with peers or a mentor who can provide you with knowledge and tips that can help you with certain endeavors. There are always challenges and obstacles you must overcome to create a foundation for success. If I can provide insight to other young professionals, I believe it is our duty to continue to pass along that torch for the next person in waiting.

Philosophy You must have a philosophy on which your department will be built. All cities and all departments differ. Some philosophies will be dependent on the scope of the city, the mayor’s vision or the culture. Whether you base your philosophy on any of the above, you should always establish your philosophy’s foundation on your own beliefs. Every young professional is different, so this is something you must establish for yourself. For example, I have built my philosophy on three key components: requiring high quality in everything, being unafraid to take chances and being unique. If you’re a program supervisor, there are two components I follow to provide successful programming: • First, I put myself in the shoes of a participant of the program or the parent of a child in the program and simply think about what I would want in that specific program. • Second, I keep the mindset that these are community members’ programs. I’m just the director, which means, I’m here to serve them, not the other way around. When I speak about high quality, I mean everything, from the uniforms we order for our sports programs, to how we maintain our parks and fields. Yes, everything will cost a little more, but if you plan it right, it will be well worth it. If you provide a high-quality product, people won’t mind paying a little extra if it’s worth it.

department. Avoid learning what your plan is while on the job. Yes, situations come up and you must adapt, but be prepared before you take over. This will at least help you adapt better when those situations do arise. Peers/Mentors I have been fortunate to have met certain people in my life who have greatly influenced me: my parents and family; my football coach at Ohio University; Dwayne Dixon, my mentor and friend; the late Mike O’Neil; and my previous boss, Richard Wright, who was like a father figure to me, to name a few. Having role models or mentors can help provide career progression. Whether or not it’s a mentor from a recreation field, cherish the positive influences you have surrounding you and use their knowledge to help provide a more impactful career. Taking over a new department or an underachieving one can be challenging for young professionals. However, following these tips will at least help better prepare you to embark on your journey as a future leader in our industry. Robbie Spencer is the Director of Parks and Recreation at City of Antioch, Illinois (

You need a philosophy, a plan and to surround yourself with peers or a mentor who can provide you with knowledge... With regard to being unafraid to take chances, I mean don’t be afraid to put out a new program or host a new event. If it doesn’t work out or it doesn’t bring success, that’s okay. Not everything will catch on, but you never know what will unless you try. Finally, don’t be afraid to be unique. If other city departments around the area or state are doing things the same or a certain way, don’t be afraid to be the trendsetter, not the follower. Being unique is what will separate you from everyone else. Plan Before you begin any endeavor — finding ways to increase revenue, increasing participant numbers, creating an identity for your parks — establish a plan and have a goal to guide you. Do your research and find out what are the top priorities of your

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Parks & Recreation


Aaron Volkening

Making Stormwater Great — for the First Time By Scott Taylor, P.E., and Seth Brown, P.E.


n the world of stormwater, the search continues for a simple solution to its management. That solution will no doubt include partnerships with state and municipal parks, because to effectively manage stormwater, municipalities and other National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit holders need open space for storage, groundwater recharge and vegetated filters. In urban areas, open space is in short supply. Parks can provide an opportunity for multi-benefit projects that include stormwater management, as well as active and passive recreation. The National Municipal Stormwater Alliance (NMSA), a 501c(3) organization, is dedicated to strengthening the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) program at the national, state and local level, in part by forming organizational partnerships to reduce the source of urban runoff-driven pollution, push for greater awareness of stormwater issues through public education efforts, and provide technical and fiscal information to decision makers in an effort to

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increase funding levels and financing options for stormwater programs.

sources. A recent article in Live Science found that pesticides from California’s valley farms were accumulating in tree frogs that live in national parks, including Yosemite and Sequoia. Agriculture remains a significant pollution source but is not the only cross-media stressor. Improving water quality, particularly groundwater quality, is difficult and expensive. Pollution prevention is by far the better option.

Parks Need Clean Water Nationally, the EPA estimates an average impairment by nutrients in rivers at 17 percent: for lakes, it’s 27 percent. Nutrients are just one of many pollutants that can limit the value of park resources. For parks to thrive, receiving water-beneficial uses must be protected. Increasingly, this means controlling pollutant sources — particularly cross-media

The Public Needs to Be Educated About Clean Water Since there is not a shortage of high-quality sources of clean drinking water in the United States, water pollution is not seen as a pervasive problem, but this may be changing. Recently, because of public health concerns associated with excessive pollutants from agricultural runoff, Toledo, Ohio, and Des Moines, Iowa, have experienced temporary shutdowns

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For parks to thrive, receiving water-beneficial uses must be protected.

of their drinking water treatment systems. Funding will be needed for programs and projects to improve stormwater quality, and there still is not an effective way to pay for them. Stormwater funding programs cannot continue to compete with public works, public safety and public parks. The following steps are necessary to obtain public funding: First, change how the public views and values water. Clean water at the tap should be linked to clean water in the environment. Second, package clean water projects with other improvements that achieve multiple benefits. For example, a stream restoration project in an urban park can be combined with road improvements, bike lanes, street furniture, sports fields and trails. Third, provide better information on the state of water resources in the environment. In all instances, the value of clean water, and the cost of polluted water, must be quantified and provided in practical terms. Clean water is in the public interest, as are high-quality recreation areas. Each supports the other, and each depends on the other. The National Municipal Stormwater Alliance (NMSA) will be dedicating a significant portion of its resources to education and awareness targeting both the public and decision makers in local, state and federal government. Funding and Financing Partnerships It is not uncommon for an urban stormwater management project to require input from various municipal departments, such as environment/stormwater, streets/roads, parks and recreation, public works, wastewater treatment services, economic development and even public education. Finding solutions that satisfy the competing interests of stakeholders can be challenging, but can also provide opportunities for multiple revenue

streams and financing sources at all levels. Groups, such as NRPA and NMSA, should work to shed light on avenues where additional opportunities may exist to develop synergistic approaches. At the federal level, agencies — such as HUD, FEMA, EPA, USDA, DOT — various military branches and other departments and programs have an interest in stormwater management and associated investments. These investments could be further expanded through coordination between programs at the federal, state and local level. Bringing park-related agencies into the fold would further expand the capacity to leverage additional funds to meet the needs for green space as well as stormwater management. In addition, there has been an interest in engaging with private partners to enhance overall investment potential. Examples include the use of urban green space to develop and harvest lumber (sustainably) using private investment capital that is repaid based on lumber sales; ecosystem services (carbon sequestration, water quality treatment, etc.), such as being championed in cities like Flint, Michigan, and Youngstown, Ohio; or the use of a public-private partnership (P3) to implement and maintain stormwater infrastructure, as is being done in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Prince George’s County is currently retrofitting up to 15,000 impervious acres

through implementation of green infrastructure on land controlled by churches, schools and parks. In these examples, credits associated with meeting stormwater requirements could be generated on park space and sold to private developers or to other municipal departments that may have regulatory obligations associated with stormwater management. The Future The NMSA will be seeking partnerships with park professionals to improve the quality of surface waters and change public perceptions about water. Multi-benefit projects, improved communication with feedback on problems, solutions and costs are needed. Funding and financing will be pivotal — for both parks and stormwater programs. Collectively, we can bring more resources to bear on problems of mutual importance, while demonstrating to the public that such projects offer high-value returns on investment. Detailed references for this article are available at www.parksandrecreation. org/2017/November/making-stormwater-great-for-the-first-time. Scott Taylor, P.E., is Vice President of Michael Baker International ( Seth Brown, P.E., is the Principal/Founder of Storm and Stream Solutions, LLC (seth.brown@

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Parks & Recreation


HEALTH AND WELLNESS Improving Military Readiness Through Physical Activity How park and recreation departments can help By Hayley Hamilton, David Brown, Heather Devlin, Janet Fulton, Allison Colman and Maureen Acquino


early one in four young adults are not healthy enough to serve in our military because they are overweight or obese. Regular physical activity can help people maintain a healthy body weight and protect against chronic Illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. Physical activity provides many health and fitness benefits, such as improved body composition, aerobic and muscular fitness, balance and flexibility, which can contribute to military readiness. Physical activity is also associated with positive mental health, improved quality of life and emotional well-being. The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (, produced by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, recommends that children and adolescents get about 60 minutes of physical activity every day and at least three days per week of muscle-strengthening activities. Despite the recommendations, only about one-quarter of high school students in the United States get the recommended amounts of aerobic physical activity. And, only about 2 in 10 (20.5 percent)

high school students meet the physical activity guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities. Increasing physical activity among youth calls for a multi-sectoral approach, and federal and non-governmental organizations alike see a vital role for parks and recreation. The Office of the Surgeon General in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Community Preventive Services Task Force and the National Physical Activity Plan Alliance have each released guidance on how parks and recreation can help communi-




IS IMPACTING NATIONAL SECURITY THE PROBLEM Almost 1 in 5 children and more than 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. struggle with obesity.

Only half of adults and about one quarter of youth get recommended amounts of aerobic physical activity.

Nearly 1 in 4 young adults are too heavy to serve in our military.

Over the last decade, we have experienced increasing difficulty in recruiting soldiers due to the decline in the health of our nation’s youth. Unless we see significant change in physical activity and nutrition in America our national security will be affected. Mark Hertling, Lieutenant General, U.S. Army (Retired)


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ties promote safe and easy opportunities for physical activity. These documents recommend a combination of built environment and programmatic approaches to increasing physical activity. One strategy to increase physical activity among young people is to provide greater access to safe and convenient places to be active, such as parks, trails and recreational facilities. Parks and recreation offers a wide range of close-to-home facilities and services at low or no cost to most Americans. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers the following “Three Ds of Physically Active Communities” prescription: 1. Design communities and streets that make being physically active safe and easy for people of all ages and abilities; 2. Develop or enhance access to places for physical activity; and 3. Deliver community programs that help people be physically active. Parks and recreation can play a role in each element of this prescription, as illustrated by the following success stories: • A success story on community design to increase safety and physical activity comes from the city of Houghton, Michigan, which gradually acquired a stretch of shoreline property to improve access to its waterfront. The city replaced industrial ruins with parks, marinas and paved bicycle and pedestrian trails as recommended by the Community Preventive Services Task Force. These trails now connect the city center to parks and residential districts. • A success story on developing or enhancing access to parks comes from San Francisco, which recently became

decline in the health of our nation’s youth. Unless we see significant change in physical activity and nutrition in America our national security will be affected. Mark Hertling, Lieutenant General, U.S. Army (Retired)


71% the first city in the nation where every resident lives within a 10-minute walk to a park. Not every 10-minute walk is the same, however. The Tenderloin Wellness Trail (https://tlcbd. org/tenderloin-wellness-trail) is part of a citywide project to improve equitable access to parks, including safe routes. The project team formed a partnership with the Tenderloin Community Benefit District, the Tenderloin Safe Passage collaboration and the Trust for Public Land. The partnership has increased the capacity of the Tenderloin Safe Passage program, which uses “corner captains” to improve safety during afterschool commutes for neighborhood children. Because of the program, captains have a more active role in their community, helping to build a culture of safety on the trail. At one local park, captains have become park ambassadors to greet visitors, share resources and coordinate park activities. The partners are conducting community outreach to identify ways to connect and enhance access to important community resources, such as parks and open spaces. • A success story on delivering community programs comes from Dallas, Texas, where the park and recreation department is taking steps to reduce the burden of childhood obesity and ensure that all children enrolled in out-of-school time (OST) programs are meeting daily physical activity requirements. Launched in 2011, the Mayor’s Youth Fitness Initiative (MyFi) requires all Dallas Park and Recreation OST sites to provide 60 minutes of physical activity each day, while providing nutrition and fitness education and family engagement opportunities to the community. Parks and recreation also offers unique opportunities for enlisted service members and their families. Military families have access to park and recreation locations and programs on military installations through Morale, Welfare and Recreation centers and services. The National Park Service provides free annual park passes to military families, and the “Troops for Fitness” program recruits veterans to lead health and fitness programs in local park and recreation facilities nationwide. Providing opportunities for young people to be physically active is vital to the health of our nation and may help improve our military readiness. Across the country, park and recreation agencies are working with their communities to improve access to places to be active and provide programming for young people to get moving. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Detailed references for this article are available at

3 most common reasons young people are ineligible.

71% of young people in the U.S. would not be able to join the military if they wanted to.

Overweight or obesity (31%)

Educational deficits

Criminal or drug abuse record

OBESITY IMPACTS MILITARY READINESS Obesity among active duty service members has risen 61% between 2002 and 2011. These individuals are less likely to be medically


ready to deploy. Both obesity and low levels of physical fitness increase the risk for injury among active military personnel.

Hayley Hamilton is an ORISE Fellow in the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( David Brown is a Behavioral Scientist in the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( Heather Devlin is a Lead Health Scientist in the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (jji3@ Janet Fulton is a Branch Chief in the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( Allison Colman is a Program Manager at NRPA ( Maureen Acquino is a Program Specialist at NRPA (






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Parks & Recreation


Photo courtesy of Glenn Nelson, Trail Posse


The Next 100 Coalition members.

Reimagining Conservation: The Next 100 Years By Kevin Bryan and Robert García


n March 2016, 35 grassroots organizations came together for the first-of-a-kind discussion among civil rights, environmental justice, health equity and grassroots conservation organizations pursuing a shared vision of a more diverse and inclusive culture in managing and preserving our nation’s public lands and waters.

Most members of this group, the Next 100 Coalition, represent communities of color that have consistently found themselves on the fringes of opportunity. It includes organizations that empower their constituents to realize their connection to the natural world and to understand how that connection can transform their lives and the lives of their families and communities. The Next 100 Coalition sees great opportunity in our public parks and waters, and is working to shape the next 100 years of conservation, public health and the economy. Our existing concept of conservation is often limited to boundaries of national parks and monuments, and does not stretch to include young boys and girls 36 Parks & Recreation

from communities of color. This concept of conservation seldom veers off historic trails to connect Americans across our vast diaspora, providing common paths to our histories, cultures and experiences. These conversations are long overdue, and often expose harsh truths about us as a nation. Achieving Our Shared Vision The Next 100 Coalition seeks green justice in the neighborhoods where people of color and low income live, learn, work, play, pray and age. The joys of playing in the park, soccer after school, biking and walking on safe paths to parks and schools, and physical education in schools are important to provide the

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health benefits of the great outdoors on a daily basis. Trips to far away mountains, beaches and rivers are fun, healthy and educational, and go hand in hand with diversity, inclusion and green justice closer to home. Coalition members, such as Outdoor Afro and Latino Outdoors, are encouraging African-American and Latino residents to find their place in nature. Groups like the Greening Youth Foundation and Hispanic Access Foundation are creating internships for minority youth, providing a more culturally diverse pool of candidates to serve as the next generation of

as we confront the challenges that emerge as we broaden our reach, we will be buoyed by the knowledge that the Next 100 Coalition’s agenda represents the will of the people. Kevin Bryan is Lead Organizer for Next 100 and Senior Policy Director, Keystone Policy Center ( Robert García is the Founding Director-Counsel for The City Project/Proyecto del Pueblo (rgarcia@

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stewards for the Earth and its people. In Colorado, Washington, Nevada and California, coalition partners have initiated local organizations under the same principles. The City Project and GreenLatinos are working on these shared values in urban, rural and wilderness areas, and are organizing civil rights, health equity and conservation leaders to stop construction of the border wall, based on its impact on people, places and values. At the national level, the coalition is also working to articulate the need to expand opportunity and access to our parks and waters and to garner support for our shared vision with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. The Next 100 Coalition members have testified before Congress to defend national monuments and the Antiquities Act, giving voice to millions of people, and have submitted public comments to the Secretaries of the Interior and Commerce Departments in support of maintaining the existing boundaries of our national monuments. Due in large part to the coalition’s efforts, in January, the White House directed federal land management agencies and recipients of federal funding to work toward more diverse and inclusive action plans for managing our public lands and waters, and spreading opportunities to all communities. The directive encouraged these agencies and recipients to increase recruitment and retention of employees from marginalized communities; establish accountability systems for incorporating diversity and inclusion in programs and activities; collaborate with other agencies and recipients to broaden diversity and inclusion; create new opportunities to provide access to and enjoyment of parks and waters; expand public engagement in decision making; and begin implementation of action plans without delay. The Next 100 Coalition actively supports efforts to include these principles into strategic thinking and action by state and local governments; in companies in the outdoor recreation industry; in environmental organizations focused on public lands and conservation policy; and in public health organizations focused on equity. While these initial efforts provide a good starting point, they are by no means sufficient. The coalition is working to establish a broader dialogue about increasing access of communities of color to public lands and making sure all of us can take advantage of the opportunities that parks and waters offer for better health and for professional and economic advancement. Our society must continue to embrace and support the diverse ways in which we connect with nature. We must also make sure these ways reflect our ever-widening diversity. The opportunities afforded by our public lands and waters are a collective inheritance that belongs to all of us in the present and future. The Next 100 Coalition will engage our leaders to push for policies and programs that reflect our nation as it is, not as it was. And,

Photo courtesy of Alex

NPS LA Ranger Troca (left) teaches youth to be environmental justice stewards during this year’s National Public Lands Day at Río de Los Angeles State Park.

Parks & Recreation


The 2017 DoD

Warrior Games By John Prue


he Department of Defense (DoD) Warrior Games, a Paralympic-style sports competition for seriously wounded, ill or injured post-9/11 service members and veterans, took place this summer in Chicago, Illinois. Approximately 265 athletes representing the U.S. Army, Navy/Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Air Force and Special Operations Command teams were joined in the “Windy City” by teams from the United Kingdom and Australia. All teams includ-

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Invade Chicago

ed athletes with upper-body, lower-body and spinal cord injuries; traumatic brain injuries; visual impairment; serious illnesses; and post-traumatic stress, who, from June 30 through July 8, competed in a range of events, including archery, cycling, track and field, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming and wheelchair basketball. But this, the eighth annual hosting of the games, would be different. According to Jerry Hieb, director of Navy Fleet & Family Readiness, “What made this

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year’s Warrior Games unique was that for the first time, the games were not conducted on a military installation, which provided the public with the opportunity to witness firsthand the courage and resiliency of these warrior athletes.” Competitions were held at world-class venues throughout the city, including McCormick Place, Soldier Field, United Center, Lane Tech Academy, the University of Illinois at Chicago and the beautiful Museum Campus, off Lake Michigan.

DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Natalia E. Briggs

Air Force Master Sgt. Israel “DT” Del Toro, competes in the men’s 22 kilometer recumbent cycling competition at the 2017 Department of Defense Warrior Games.

Military Adaptive Sports Program The DoD Warrior Games serves as the culminating event for the Military Adaptive Sports Programs. Many of the recovering service members and veterans use adaptive sports and other adaptive reconditioning activities to assist in their overall rehabilitation, as well as to overcome the challenge of adjusting to their new normal after their serious illness or injury. With oversight by the Office of Warrior Care Policy, the Military Adaptive Sports

Program provides reconditioning activities and athletic competition for close to 12,000 wounded, ill and injured service members. The program was designed to enhance recovery by engaging those wounded warriors early in individualized physical and cognitive activities outside of the traditional therapy setting. The overall benefits include reduced stress, increased quality of life, lower blood pressure, weight management and an enhancement of the rehabilitation process.

In addition, all wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans also have access to a program, called the “Healing Arts,” which allows them to express themselves through music, writing, dance and other artistic modalities to help improve their quality of life. The DoD Warrior Games began in 2010 when the U.S. Olympic Committee, in partnership with the Department of Defense, hosted the first games at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado

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Parks & Recreation



Springs, Colorado. For the next four years, the games were held in Colorado Springs, but that changed in 2014 when the DoD assigned the service branches to host the games and to assume all responsibilities of coordination and execution. First up was the Marine Corps, which in 2015 hosted the games at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia. The following year, the Army hosted the games at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York.

Planning and Execution The Navy’s partnership with the city of Chicago, started with the Chicago Mayor’s Office, through the Director of Veteran’s Affairs, and extended to the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. The Chicago Park District was also a major partner and helped with coordination and promotion of the Warrior Games. The park district, with its past experience hosting the Valor Games in partnership with World Sport Chicago, has been involved with supporting military veter-

DoD photo by EJ Hersom

Taking the Games Off Base In 2017, it was the Navy’s turn to host the games, and the decision was made, through the Commander, Navy Installations Command, to use the senior staff of the Navy Wounded Warrior-Safe Harbor Program to serve as the search committee for the right location. Wounded Warrior-Safe Harbor is the Navy’s sole organization for coordinating the nonmedical care of seriously wounded, ill and injured sailors and Coast Guardsmen, and for providing resources and support to their families and caregivers. Each service has an adaptive sports pro-

gram, and the intent was to help spread the word to both service members and the public about the importance of these programs in the healing process. The Navy planning team wanted to increase public awareness of the DoD Military Adaptive Sports Program, and taking the games off a military installation was seen as the best way to do so. Chicago, with its world-class athletic facilities and strong military connections dating back to World War I, was the ideal location for the 2017 Warrior Games.

Marine Corps veteran Sarah Rudder teaches starting from the blocks during track practice for the 2017 Department of Defense Warrior Games in Chicago, June 30, 2017. Rudder is an ambassador for the games. 40 Parks & Recreation

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ans and participating in adaptive sports competitions since 2011. The Chicago Park District actively advertised the Warrior Games via multiple platforms: Using its day camp program and its summer camp theme “Heroes,” the park district not only promoted the games to approximately 30,000 daycamp children and their families, but, during the games, also ran field trips to various Warrior Game competitions, helping to cheer on the athletes. Promotion for the games was incorporated into the park district’s annual float, and the Warrior Games, along with some of the athletes, were included in Chicago’s Memorial Day Parade, which is one of the country’s largest parades. Gerry Henaghan, the special recreation manager for the Chicago Park District, and her staff spent nearly a year assisting Navy personnel for facility visits, with planning, permitting and several other logistical aspects to support the execution of the games. Since 1968 when the park district organized its first Special Olympics for individuals with “intellectual disabilities,” adaptive sports in Chicago have been a key contributor in developing those, young or old, with physical or visual impairments. “Every person has the right to enjoy recreation and sports,” says Henaghan. “It is our duty to provide the equipment, guidance, education and, most importantly, the acceptance by individuals, their friends and family members.” Corporate partnerships were also a vitally important source of financial support for the games. Boeing and the Fisher House Foundation signed on to be the presenting sponsors of the 2017 Warrior Games and many other key sponsors soon followed. The Fisher House Foundation covered the cost for two family members to accompany each athlete, which included their transportation, lodging and some meals during the nine-day competition. The families/caregivers are a big part of the recovery and rehabilitation process,

DoD photo by EJ Hersom

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Colin Sheridan

Athletes’ family members cheer on their teams during the 2017 DoD Warrior Games.

Medically retired Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Sarah Rudder carries the 2017 Department of Defense Warrior Games torch into Soldier Field in Chicago, July 1, 2017.

and while the games are primarily focused on the athletes and their incredible experiences and accomplishments, it’s important to acknowledge and recognize the tremendous dedication and support of hidden heroes: the athletes’ family members and/or close friends who have made their own sacrifices to help their warrior athletes with their recovery efforts and athletic achievements.

Soldier Field, featuring comedian Jon Stewart as master of ceremonies. The introduction of the teams and athletes, along with the lighting of the official torch, were the emotional highlights. A mega-concert, starring Kelly Clarkson and Blake Shelton, capped off the opening ceremony of this world-class event for world-class heroes! The competition was outstanding with several very exciting individual performances and thrilling team sport finals for both sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball at the United Center. There’s not a heavy focus on the overall team medal counts but, after the games, the “Ultimate Champion” is recognized, based on receiving the top number of points over the entire competition. This year, U.S. Air Force Veteran, Senior Airman Jamie Biviano won the gold; U.S. Air Force Veteran, Captain Austin Williamson won the silver; and Veteran, Staff Sergeant John J. Stanz from team Special Operations Command won the bronze medal in the Ultimate Champion category.

The Warrior Games To participate in the Warrior Games, each service conducts trials about three to four months prior to the start of the games to determine the team members and who will participate in what events. Active duty and veterans select who will participate in these trials, but selections are also made based on past participation in the adaptive sports program and previously held “sports camps.” All athletes eventually go through a classification process for their individual sports and are placed in certain categories by their functional ability, including muscle power/range of movement, along with limb deficiency and/or visual impairment. It is not uncommon for athletes to compete in more than one sport. The games kicked off July 1 with a tremendous opening ceremony at historic

Conclusion The success of this year’s games rests with the dedication and hard work of the athletes and their caregivers, who are the true heroes. But, the willingness

of Navy senior leaders and the staff at the Navy Wounded Warrior-Safe Harbor Program to think outside the box and explore a novel approach to the games is equally deserving. The media coverage before, during and after the competition included Warrior Game athletes being featured in interviews on ESPN, a one-hour Sports Center live broadcast from the United Center and a variety of athlete vignettes on ESPN and other national news outlets. More than 51,000 people attended the 2017 Warrior Games and events. This compares to roughly 1,000 people who attended the Warrior Games at the United States Military Academy in West Point last year. The Navy Wounded Warrior-Safe Harbor Program fulfilled its vision of a Warrior Games, supported by the citizens of a large metropolitan city, with events played out in world-class venues and with increased media attention to recognize and promote the Military Adaptive Sports Program to the public. As we say in the Navy...Bravo Zulu!

John Prue is the Installation Program Director, Morale, Welfare & Recreation (MWR) Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois (

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Military Fam es A case study for all communities

By Carol Potter and Matt Enoch


amilies experience many challenges during the deployment of their loved ones who are in the military and often have higher rates of depression, anxiety, sleep disorders and other mental health issues. The longer the deployment, the greater the challenges that exist in all phases of the deployment. There’s the anxiety during the pre-deployment phase brought on by the anticipated separation, while the actual deployment phase creates added responsibilities and worry about family members being injured or dying. Even the homecoming or reintegration phase of deployment creates high expectations and the acknowledgement that everybody — the service member and his or her spouse and children — is different because of the deployment experience. Recognition of these challenges led to collaborative research on how participating in Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) activities at Fort Riley, Kansas, can promote resilience in spouses of deployed military members.

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families of deployed service members as blue star families. The first hurdle in undertaking this study was to secure the necessary financial support, which came from Kansas State University, which partners with Fort Riley’s MWR program, and from the Kansas Masonic Foundation. Once funding was secured, the MWR team began creating tailored activities, designed to have positive effects on the health and wellness of spouses of deployed military members, and recruiting participants. Participants completed surveys immediately before and at the end of the recreation activity to measure their levels of resilience. Photo courtesy of Matt Enoch

“Cocktails and Canvases” is a popular beginner group painting class that’s paired with the option of drinking wine.

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Blue Star Card Program This past spring and summer at Fort Riley, spouses of its deployed military members participated in the Blue Star Card Program. “Blue Star” refers to the long-standing practice of designating

Photo courtesy of Matt Enoch

What is resilience and why is it important to increase resilience for healthy military families? Resilience is the ability to respond to, and cope with, difficult or stressful experiences, situations, environments, people and setbacks in life. Our ability to learn from experience helps us build resilience. As you increase resilience, you increase your ability to handle stress and bounce back from demanding situations. For the armed services, the resilience of its service members, their family members, military units and communities is critical to mission readiness, the ability of the military to accomplish its assigned mission. On military installations, MWR provides well-balanced recreation that normalizes behavior after a stressful experience and promotes health and wellness. But, the MWR program is also important in building individual resilience and impacting service member and family readiness, which is especially critical during deployments.

Military families enjoy a zipline adventure, offered through the Blue Star Card Program.

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‘Hit Them Where They Are’ The process of recruiting spouses of deployed soldiers began with a “hit them where they are” strategy. The MWR team set up Blue Star Card registration tables at every possible family readiness group, pre-deployment town hall and other meeting or forums concentrated with spouses. While there was a self-directed registration option located at the MWR Leisure Travel Services program, a high percentage of program sign-ups occurred when the opportunity was taken directly to the spouse. Like a snowball effect, after about 100 spouses had been registered, word-of-mouth began driving a gradual increase in the program roster size. Facebook is the vehicle of choice for spouse communication, so MWR developed a Blue Star Card Program Facebook page and relied on it — and group emails — to disseminate information and manage promotions. Give Them What They Want When asked to identify their recreation programming needs, the military spouses typically offered open-ended responses about the programs in which they would participate. However, they strongly indicated that the discount or elimination of user fees and the provision of childcare

For the armed services, the resilience of its service members, their family members, military units and communities is critical to mission readiness... For the second activity, the MWR team leveraged an existing partnership with a local adventure park to provide spouses with a trip that featured the thrill of seven ziplines. Unlike “Cocktails and Canvases,” spouses were encouraged to bring their family members along. The cost per person was significantly reduced and was progressive, meaning that spouses of soldiers with a higher rank paid more than those with lower rank. The “Cocktails and Canvases” and ziplining activities were enthusiastically attended by spouses of deployed soldiers and garnered high customer satisfaction scores for the MWR programs. Participants ranged in age from 19 to 49, and 86 percent were spouses of service members with an enlisted rank, while 14 percent were spouses of officers. At the completion of the MWR activities, the resilience score for the spouses increased by an average of 5.2 points. Furthermore, 88 percent of the spouses agreed they have used recreation to deal with stress, 97 percent agreed the MWR activity provided them with a way to deal with stress, and 95 percent agreed the MWR activity made them more confident in their abilities. On a scale of 0–100, customer satisfaction with the MWR program increased from 83 to 90.5, indicating that the services exceeded their expectations. This research provided the Fort Riley Family and MWR program with many positive outcomes. It provided an opportunity, using outcomes, to measure and communicate the success of its MWR programs. Those measurable outcomes helped to bolster budget justification and demonstrate how funding MWR is translated into health and wellness results. By demonstrating the positive effects of MWR as an essential component of

The MWR team created tailored activities designed to have positive effects on the health and wellness of spouses of deployed military members.

Photo courtesy of Matt Enoch

were the two key components of any recreation program that would draw significant interest. Armed with this knowledge, the MWR team chose an already existing MWR program, called “Cocktails and Canvases,” popular beginner group painting classes paired with the option of drinking wine, for its first activity. For the Blue Star Card version of the program, the user fee was reduced by half and childcare was provided with the assistance of MWR’s Child and Youth Services Division. The spouses were then able to enjoy two hours of instructor-led painting and a drink ticket was included in the fee.

PARKS & REC Salsbury

health and wellness, this research influenced the perceptions of decision makers and may result in an increase in program funding in the future. By using health and active living as a central platform, MWR can positively affect the health and wellness of individuals and military communities. Carol Potter is a Consultant and Former Department of Defense Assistant Director of MWR Policy ( Matt Enoch, CPRP, is the Community Program Coordinator at Fort Riley Family and MWR (

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Inspiration in the Big Easy A look back at the 2017 NRPA Annual Conference By Cort Jones


early 8,000 park and recreation professionals gathered in the Big Easy in September for the 2017 NRPA Annual Conference, and it was one for the record books! The various education sessions, speakers, exhibit hall and numerous networking events, coupled with the energy of the great city of New Orleans, were the perfect recipe for an exciting affair — an award-winning bowl of NRPA gumbo, if you will. A traditional New Orleans second line parade set a celebratory tone for the annual Parks Build Community project unveiling at Lafitte Greenway on Sunday, September 24. Parks Build Community is a national initiative aimed at demonstrating the transformative value of parks on the health and wellness of communities across America. The Lafitte Greenway, which runs several miles from Armstrong Park just outside the historic French Quarter to City Park along Lake Pontchartrain, was

devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. NRPA partnered with the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORD) to revamp a section of the greenway with state-of-the-art play structures, exercise equipment, lighting, shade structures, water fountains and other amenities. More music and games followed the playground’s dedication ceremony, which was attended by representatives from NRPA, NORD, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and members of the community.

The second annual NRPA Student Recreation Challenge commenced on Monday afternoon, with teams from several colleges and universities competing in various challenges throughout the city. They were tested on their knowledge of parks and recreation, as well as with challenges that included creating a second line parade, reciting a famous soliloquy and even getting a total stranger to perform the Macarena dance with them. For the second year in a row, a team comprised of three students from Texas A&M took home the gold medal! The customary passing of the torch to the new NRPA board of directors chair took place during Tuesday’s Opening General Session as outgoing Chair Stephen Eckelberry, director of the Bartlett Park District in Illinois, introduced the new Chair, Leon T. Andrews, Jr., of the National League of Cities in Washington, D.C. Andrews shared his memories of growing up participating in park and recreation programs and expressed his excitement and commitment to ensuring that every family has access to a quality park. He was followed by NRPA President and CEO Barbara Tulipane, who stressed the need for communities and park and recreation professionals alike to be resilient. Tulipane touched on challenges, such as shrinking budgets, social disparities, climate change, chronic dis-

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Representatives from NRPA and NORD, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and members of the community cut the ribbon at the Parks Build Community project unveiling at Lafitte Greenway.

ease, obesity and addiction epidemics that are ravaging communities, and offered insight on what the industry can do to help communities become more resilient and face these challenges. This year’s keynote speaker, American Ninja Warrior host, Matt Iseman, delivered a humorous, yet sincere, address that elicited laughter, tears and probably a few blushes throughout the room. Iseman shared the following recipe for helping others lead a more active, healthy lifestyle and building a nation of Ninja Warriors: • It’s all about the story — stories inspire us • Make it fun — convince people they’ll have fun • Anyone can do it [overcome obstacles]. But, nobody a it alone! • Create your opportunity — get creative • Falling is not failing — winning can be defined in many different ways Following the Opening General Session, the doors to the massive, interactive exhibit hall opened and attendees flooded the show floor, eager to learn the latest trends and services available from some of the leading vendors in the industry. This year’s conference featured close to 500 industry exhibitors, more than 500 expert speakers and nearly 300 education sessions covering a vast array of topics beneficial to park and recreation professionals. New to this year’s educational lineup was the Director’s Corner, a learning area that featured facilitated discussions about the current problems that many agencies face. There also were 60, 20-minute speed sessions as well as a new aquatics learning track for aquatics professionals. “As a first-time attendee, I was amazed at the size of the conference,” says Rob Lewis, director of the Borough of Wyo

missing Parks and Recreation in Pennsylvania. “There were so many educational opportunities, and the ones I attended were outstanding. The exhibit hall was massive and a great place to see all the latest and greatest offerings in the parks and recreation field. I was very impressed with how well everything was run.” In keeping with the theme of New Orleans, NRPA’s “Member Quarter” in the exhibit hall was a popular stop for attendees looking for information on membership, professional development, partnerships, Parks & Recreation magazine and NRPA’s Park Path application. Attendees who visited each booth in the Member Quarter received the highly popular 2017 NRPA Annual Conference hurricane glass as a conference memento. There were a number of networking opportunities: from the exhibit hall happy hour and the opening reception at Mardi Gras World, to conversations in passing in the exhibit hall, new connections were made and older connections deepened. It was the perfect time to pick the brains of other like-minded professionals who care so deeply about this industry. “This conference gave me more networking opportunities in one week than I have had in a couple of years. Every agency across the country that was rep-

resented was so willing to discuss topics across the board in the parks and recreation profession,” says Adam Lockard, fitness program coordinator for Blue Valley Recreation Commission in Kansas. “This conference is an excellent opportunity to remove yourself from the daily grind of work, step back and learn the multitude of ways to accomplish great things for your community from others doing the same thing around the country,” says Dan Jones of the Cary Park District in Illinois. Planning is already underway for next year’s conference in Indianapolis, and we look forward to seeing you there. If you have an idea for an educational session for next year, information on how to submit session proposals can be found at program-schedule/proposals/. If there’s a session that you’d like to revisit or that you didn’t get to attend and you’d like access to the notes, visit http://www.nrpa. org/conference2017/about/resources-handouts/. Be sure to explain to your supervisor how beneficial this event is for your organization, and mark your calendars for September 25–27, 2018! Cort Jones is the Associate Editor of Parks & Recreation magazine (

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And the Award Goes to… At the Best of the Best ceremony during the 2017 NRPA Annual Conference in New Orleans, the following park and recreation professionals and agencies were formally recognized with awards for their outstanding work, which elevates our entire field:

National Awards

NRPA’s National Awards recognize the people and programs that best highlight the phenomenal work being done in our field. Robert M. Artz Advocacy Award Cora Masters Barry, Washington, D.C. Barb King Environmental Stewardship Award Recreation and Park Commission for the Parish of East Baton Rouge, Louisiana (BREC) Robert W. Crawford Young Professional Award Dr. Joshua T. Medeiros, Canton, Connecticut

Park Champion of the Year

The Park Champion of the Year Award is given to the NRPA member who advocated for parks and recreation and organized or facilitated an event showcasing his or her agency to a member of Congress and/or that member’s staff. This year’s recipient: Som Subedi Portland Parks & Recreation Oregon

Robert W. Crawford Hall of Fame

Established in 1987, the Robert W. Crawford Hall of Fame recognizes individual pioneers and leaders who have made extraordinary and lasting contributions to the advancement of parks and recreation in the United States, as well as to the mission of NRPA. Following is the 2017 inductee: Clifton E. French Three Rivers Park District, Minnesota

National Distinguished Professional Award Phillip S. Rea, Raleigh, North Carolina Excellence in Inclusion Award Madison School & Community Recreation, Madison, Wisconsin Excellence in Innovative Programming Award Recreation and Park Commission for the Parish of East Baton Rouge, Louisiana (BREC) Facility or Park Design Award Vigo County Parks and Recreation Department, Terre Haute, Indiana

Gold Medal Awards

Recipients of the 2017 Gold Medal Award Grand Plaque have demonstrated excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, programming and professional development, and innovation. The agencies receiving this honor include: Class I (pop. 400,001 and over): Johnson County Park & Recreation Board, Kansas Class II (pop. 150,001 – 400,000): City of Grand Prairie, Texas

RWJF-NRPA Award for Health Equity Patricia Solano, Raleigh, North Carolina

Class III (pop. 75,001 – 150,000): City of Roswell Recreation, Parks, Historic and Cultural Affairs, Georgia

Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Award for Excellence in Recreation and Park Research Award Mark E. Havitz, Waterloo, Ontario

Class IV (pop. 30,001 – 75,000): Bismarck Parks and Recreation District, North Dakota

Kudos Marketing Award Denver Parks and Recreation, Denver, Colorado National Partnership Award Durham Parks and Recreation, Durham, North Carolina

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Class V (pop. 30,000 or fewer): Itasca Park District, Illinois State Parks: Arizona State Parks & Trails, Phoenix, Arizona Armed Forces Recreation: MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina

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YOUR IDEAS ARE WORTH SHARING Submit your education session proposals for the 2018 NRPA Annual Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana.

BONUS: WIN FREE CONFERENCE REGISTRATION Submit your session proposals by December 1, 2017 for a chance to win a free full-package registration to the conference.

For more information, visit or contact

NRPA Update TPL, NRPA and the ULI Launch a 10-Minute Walk Campaign


ore than 100 of the nation’s most influential mayors have signed on to the “10-minute walk” campaign, launched October 10 by The Trust for Public Land, National Recreation and Park Association, and Urban Land Institute. Through this historic parks-advocacy campaign, these organizations, in collaboration with the nation’s mayors, will work to ensure that everyone in the United States lives within a 10-minute walk (or half-mile) of a high-quality park or green space. This bipartisan group includes mayors from across the country and represents cities large and small, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston; and diverse communities, from Oklahoma City to Chattanooga, that are developing innovative parks solutions. The U.S. Conference of Mayors, which represents more than 1,000 U.S. mayors, also unanimously passed a resolution urging all mayors to actively pursue the 10-minute walk to a park goal. Studies show that high-quality parks provide a wide range of benefits to individuals and cities themselves, from providing opportunities to be physically active and

to interact with nature, boosting business and helping to revitalize neighborhoods, to providing opportunities for neighbors to interact with each other and work together to improve their surroundings, and providing opportunities for environmental education. Reaching 100 percent served in cities nationwide will require major advances in park finance and construction; zoning changes to encourage park development; embedding this goal into city parks’ master plans; the expansion of “joint use” agreements that open school playgrounds, tracks and gyms for public use after hours and on weekends; and other innovations. The campaign will be working with cities

across the country, beginning in 2018, on measurable policies and strategies to advance the 10-minute walk vision. A full list of the mayors/cities endorsing the 10-minute walk standard can be found at and NRPA resources can be found at www. Generous support for the campaign has been provided by The JPB Foundation.

NRPA’s Board of Directors: Looking for a Few Good Candidates The NRPA Board of Directors is seeking individuals with experience in one or more of NRPA’s Three Pillars: Health and Wellness, Conservation and Social Equity. Whether you’re an innovative park and recreation professional, public health official, community planner, conservationist, park advocate or an elected official who wants to help NRPA further its mission, consider joining the NRPA Board of Directors. NRPA is committed to having a diverse board — including by geography, age, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and ability level — to ensure that its leadership reflects the communities it serves. To apply, go to, complete the application and return it to NRPA Director of Strategic Initiatives and Governance Michele White no later than February 16, 2018.

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he Taos Land Trust recently received a $575,000 grant from NRPA, in partnership with The Coca-Cola Company, to support its water restoration project along a portion of the Rio Grande. “Parks provide tremendous benefits — especially to the environment,” says Lori Robertson, NRPA director of conservation. “That’s why we’re proud to partner with The Coca-Cola Company on a project that both restores wetlands critical to the health of the Rio Grande and creates new park and recreational space for the people of Taos. This project captures the

import role parks play in strengthening the environment and communities.” Revitalizing this critical Taos wetland will help improve the water quality and quantity that feeds the Rio Grande, help mitigate the effects of climate change by minimizing the effects of extreme storms after periods of extreme drought, and enhance critical habitat to migratory and resident species, such as the endangered Southwestern Willow Flycatcher. The funding will also be used to create a community park — Rio Fernando Park — that will include walking trails and an area for conservation education.

Photo courtesy of the Taos Land Trust

Taos Land Trust to Carry Out Water Restoration Project Along the Rio Grande

NRPA is working in communities across the country to implement replicable restoration projects that improve the water quality and quantity of rivers and streams while increasing public stewardship and community access to waterways. The Taos project will serve as a case study for public lands managers and park and recreation agencies and will become a national model of how, through creative partnerships, restoration efforts in local parks can uniquely connect residents to their local waterways and provide multiple benefits to their communities. To learn more about this important work, visit

NRPA’s Roland Richardson Among NAAEE’s 30 Under 30


oland Richardson, development officer for NRPA’s conservation initiatives, was recently named one of the North American Association for Environmental Education’s 30 Under 30. A partnership between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service and the Global Environmental Education Partnership, the NAAEE 30 Under 30 program recognizes individuals in

the United States and internationally, 30 years of age or younger, who are game changers in their community. These young people are taking on leadership positions to make a difference for the planet and engaging their communities, building relationships, and using the power of education to create change, and Roland’s inclusion in this prestigious group is well-deserved. Roland’s love for the outdoors developed at an early age while on camping and backpacking trips with the Boy Scouts of America; he was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout in 2006. At the age of 14, he became involved with the Student Conservation Association (SCA), working on trail construction and restoration projects in national parks across the country. After high school, Roland completed an AmeriCorps-SCA internship, where he worked on large-scale conservation

projects in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts and educated local youth about the environment. This experience inspired him to pursue a career in the environmental field and, in 2012, he graduated from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, with a B.S. in Ecology. Today, Roland helps NRPA develop national programs that connect people to nature, encourage environmental stewardship and engage communities in conservation practices. Outside of his role at NRPA, he volunteers on several environmental committees and councils. Recently, he has become interested in environmental advocacy work and, earlier this year, spoke at his first congressional briefing, joining the Outdoor Alliance for Kids (OAK) to advocate for the Every Kid in a Park federal program. From all of us here at NRPA — Congratulations, Roland!

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NRPA Update

A One-Stop Shop for Arts & Crafts Supplies

Hot Topics NRPA Connect is the only networking platform that provides you with direct access to professionals in your field. You literally can post a question about parks and recreation to and/or ask for professional advice from 60,000 of your colleagues! Below are some of the hottest topics this month: Public marinas run by Parks and Recreation – Have a question about or just Interested in knowing which agencies operate public marinas? Some of your fellow park and recreation agencies have stepped up to assist with answering these types of questions. Join the discussion today. Solar Farms or Solar Parks on Public Lands – Is your agency considering adding a solar field on public property? Hear from colleagues who are in the final stages of installing a field or compare notes with others who are also thinking about installing this feature. Therapeutic/Inclusion Programs – This post has generated a lot of discussion on the implementation of therapeutic and inclusive programs, including examples of successful agencies, challenges and current programs. Check out what your fellow professionals are doing to encourage their entire community’s participation. Pickleball court construction specs – Is your agency looking to provide pickleball or advance what you are currently providing? Check out what some agencies are doing on NRPA Connect. Visit today! You’re sure to find a conversation that’ll pique your interest.





y a show of hands, how many of you have heard of Oriental Trading Company? I would guess many of you have your hands in the air. Did you know that you can order those same great Oriental Trading Company items from Fun Express at a lower price? Fun Express is the corporate accounts subsidiary of Oriental Trading Company. Fun Express extends a 20 percent discount off the Oriental Trading Company retail price. Found a better price? No problem. We’ll beat any advertised price you can find. Shipping? It’s always free on orders over $125. We’ve also eliminated the need to search for coupons or discount codes. Our Fun Express website has the prices already reduced to make it easier for you to shop and save money! Fun Express has eliminated the sometimes long and drawn out process of searching multiple websites and going store-to-store to find just the right items at just the right price for your program needs. Fun Express has created a one-stop shop for your arts and crafts, toys and novelties, and party decorations. We also have an entirely new line of education and STEM items! We’ve even made it easier to plan for your larger events by offering bulk assortments for the holidays, including bulk pre-filled Easter eggs! Got the holidays covered? Great! Fun Express has the items you need


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for summer camp and the before- and afterschool programs you offer as well! Whether it’s our famous inflatable campfire or you’re looking for the brand names you know and trust — including Crayola and Elmer’s — Fun Express has it all! How do you get your 20 percent discount? Visit our website,, and request a password. You can also contact Josh Mason, your dedicated parks and recreation representative at Fun Express, at 402.939.3053 or jmason@funexpress. com. Remember — when it comes to fun, we’re all business!

Member Spotlight: Carol Potter By Cort Jones


esilience is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. Resilience is especially important for the military in helping to overcome traumatic experiences encountered during deployments, to help family members cope with those deployments, to reduce stress and to boost energy levels. Carol Potter, who recently retired from the Department of Defense (DoD) after more than 33 years, was the assistant director of the Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) policy within the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy. She recognized that too many service members were returning from the adrenaline high experienced during deployment and engaging in harmful activities to get that same adrenaline rush. She also recognized that recreation — particularly high-adventure recreation — when offered in a supervised and safe environment, serves as a healthy alternative to destructive behavior. Parks & Recreation magazine recently caught up with Potter to learn more about her work developing policy for MWR and helping to build resilience for service members. Potter, who is one of the five judges for the National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Parks and Recreation, became the head judge for that award after this year’s NRPA Annual Conference in New Orleans. Parks & Recreation: What was your role at the Department of Defense? Carol Potter: I developed policy for the Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) program and worked with the services to develop recreation programs that would enhance not only the service members’ experiences, but also build physical and mental health. I conceptualized the “return and recreate” initiative to promote recreation for returning deployed service member and their families to reduce stress, promote reintegration and build resilience. I also challenged military recreation programs to meet the “return and recreate” needs of our service members, and all four military services developed a program to fulfill this initiative. P&R: What led to you recognizing the need for these types of recreation

programs for service members? Potter: Well, going further than that, I have a deep passion for recreation. I learned that when we were in Iraq and Afghanistan, our service members were returning and killing themselves in greater numbers once they returned home than those soldiers we had lost in the war. They had been on such an adrenaline high the entire time they were deployed, then they come home and they’re still looking for that excitement. So, they were doing things like speeding, drinking, using drugs and getting into accidents. I got to thinking about it, and the key is that with MWR we can offer service members, as well as their families, adrenaline-inducing experiences through just recreation opportunities. That really developed my push to get the military services more involved in looking at how our service members recreate once they come back home. P&R: How was this push to get the military services more involved in recreation for service members received? Potter: Every branch of service has developed specific recreation programs to work with service members once they return home. Each one of the services calls it something different, but they all benefit

the service members. So, it has been very beneficial not only to active service members, but also to their families and veterans. P&R: Even after retiring from DoD, you’re still doing a lot to present the benefits of recreation for service members. What are you working on now? Potter: The next thing I did was to look at recreation and building resilience. I got several of the services to offer preand post-activity surveys, and each survey had to do with being able to measure resilience when service members and families participate in a wide variety of recreation activities. This research project studied 40 recreation activities, and in each study, participants increased their resilience. The research demonstrated that military recreation programs facilitate building physical and mental resilience in service members and families, which increases military readiness. We’re looking at programs at each phase of deployment — before, during and after. Commanders want to know that their service members are ready to complete whatever mission they are given, and being resilient allows that to happen. I highly encourage partnering with the military and providing recreation opportunities for our service members — it’s very important and so beneficial for not only the service members and their families, but also for the community. Cort Jones is the Associate Editor for Parks & Recreation magazine (

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©Myles Mellor

Parks & Recreation Crossword

Across 1 Concept of including people of all races and upholding equal rights for all 5 Unruly crowd 7 Without chemicals or synthetic fertilizers 8 Riversides 9 Song and dance, e.g. 12 Results 13 Harvests a crop 14 Child-Advocacy org. 15 Latin-American 18 Expert 19 Once ____ a time 21 News channel 23 Mule of song 24 Trash can 26 Alias, for short 28 Movie extraterrestrial 29 Chemical used to kill bugs 33 Piece of corn 34 Dreaming about futures 35 Small kid

Down 1 Himalayan cedar 2 All the plant life in a park 3 It’s often used as a fundraising activity for charities 4 Allowing participation and access – a key principle for parks across the country 5 Statues and sculptures under scrutiny 6 Sculpted figures 8 Hiking and camping overnight 10 Member of the House, abbr. 11 Wellness locale 15 60 min. 16 Underground drain 17 NRPA’s Park Champion of the Year, Som ____ 20 Place for a BBQ 22 Little League equipment 25 Slant to one side 27 Temperature controller, for short 29 Designer of Harvard’s Kennedy Library 30 ___ Lanka 31 Ending for arbor 32 Martha’s Vineyard state

Check the answers to the crossword at As an added bonus for completing the crossword, you can enter a drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card. The winner will be randomly selected and notified November 30, 2017. 54 Parks & Recreation

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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

SCHOOLS AND CONFERENCES CONFERENCE SESSIONS AVAILABLE ONLINE The NRPA Annual Conference in New Orleans is now over, but the concepts that were shared during the conference live on. We captured 20 full education sessions and six speed sessions that were delivered during the conference, and these are all now available for your continuing education online! You can register for individual sessions or for curated bundles on the following topics at discounted prices: conservation, park planning, innovation, social equity, programming and advocacy. If you missed conference, are trying to follow up on a session that you missed while at conference, or are looking to obtain CEUs for a certification renewal, these archived education products are just what you need to stay current with the trends in parks and recreation. Find these and more at

March 11-16, 2018

January 28February 1, 2018

November 4-8, 2018

August 26-31, 2018 (tentative)

Temecula, California St. Louis Park, Minnesota Nashville, Tennessee North Miami, Florida Las Vegas, Nevada


5-6 6-7 6-7 7-8 21-22


Palo Alto, California Jupiter, Florida Folsom, California Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin Austin, Texas Milpitas, California Margate, Florida Marietta, Georgia Anderson, South Carolina


1-2 2-3 6-7 6-7 9-10 16-17 16-17 28-29 28-29



January 14-19, 2018




All NRPA Schools are held at Oglebay Resort in Wheeling, West Virginia, unless otherwise noted.

1-3 1-3 6-8 7-9 14-16 15-17 28-30 28-30

North Salt Lake, Utah Lexington, South Carolina Columbus, Indiana Riverside, California Kansas City, Missouri Winter Park, Florida Everett, Washington Louisville, Kentucky


Enola, Pennsylvania


Landover, Maryland

7-9 7-9 21-23

Hulbert, Oklahoma TBD, Indiana Shelbyville, Tennessee

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Operations Naval Station Guantanamo Bay Managing recreation programs at a remote location By Jennifer Bardoni


stablished in 1903, United States Naval Station Guantanamo Bay (NSGB), Cuba, is the military’s oldest overseas base and one of the most remote military bases in the world. It’s home to approximately 5,000 military personnel (active duty and reservists), military dependents, Department of Defense (DoD) civilians and government contractors. NSGB serves as the Navy’s strategic logistics installation for routine, contingency, counternarcotic and migrant operations in the Caribbean region. recreational activities at NSGB comes with challenges in facilities management, training and programming. Facilities Management The remote conditions require the base to be 100 percent self-sufficient in water and electrical production, and quality

Log rolling in September.

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Photo courtesy of Cristina Neumann

The Navy Morale, Welfare and Recreation Department (MWR) is the base’s sole recreational program provider. While residents have access to 45 square miles of beautiful beaches, pristine waters and rugged mountain terrain, travel into Cuba from the base remains prohibited. Given its unique location, providing

recreation programs. The aquatics program is a collaborative effort: Two swimming pools are staffed, supervised and administered by DoD employees, and chlorine levels and pump operations are monitored by the base operating support (BOS) contractor. Should a pool chlorinator break down, the facility run low on necessary chemicals or a pump burst without warning, it may take up to three months for repair parts to arrive. Standard United States Postal Service mail delivery can range from two weeks to one month, and only a small category of parts can be delivered by air transportation. So, if a mechanical part is too large to ship by standard mail, it will be shipped by barge. Barges depart from Jacksonville, Florida, and also carry other cargo, including personal household goods, construction materials and bulk material. The Caribbean crossing periodically can result in a delay of up to three months. Shifting the previous chlorine gas system to a saline system that can generate chlorine using a salt generator solved the challenge of obtaining the quantities of liquid chlorine necessary to run the swimming pools safely. Though complex, this system allows the facility manager to revert to chlorine tabs if the generator breaks down. Training Managers in the continental United States can send staff, managers and lifeguards to conferences or provide trainers on-site. However, travel and other associated costs for comparable education are typically prohibitive for

Programming In the past 18 months, a new Master’s Swim program for adults of all skill levels, a multitiered youth swim lesson program and a separate youth swim team open to elementary through high school students have been offered. Having a youth swim team in a remote location is a major community win and brings interesting opportunities for recreation programmers. Teams around the world have the ability to race against others in locally held meets. In contrast, NSGB has no “off base” teams to swim against. Because limited flight availability and restrictions on travel make it difficult to fly off-base or to fly a team onbase to compete with, NSGB addresses this challenge by participating in virtual swim meets with other military bases around the world. Competing installations hold home meets and time trials on the same weekend, times are shared between teams and a virtual “winner” is decided. As a way of saying “thank you,” teams mail each other swim caps and other souvenirs, providing personnel at both bases with a unique memory. A virtual swim meet was recently held against the Army Garrison Stuttgart, Germany’s Stuttgart Stingrays.

A little fun in the bay with Wibits during “Day at the Bay” in May.

Photo courtesy of MC1 John Philip Wagner, Jr.

Guantanamo Bay MWR, so having a certified American Red Cross lifeguard instructor and water safety instructor trainer on staff offers flexibility to accommodate training on a locally determined schedule without having to send personnel off the “island.” Having a NRPA AFO instructor on staff also allows the opportunity to ensure that aquatics staff, the installation public works department and resident government contractors receive comprehensive instruction on pool operations, including water chemistry, mechanical systems and pool operations.

Photo courtesy of MC1 John Philip Wagner, Jr.

NSGB families enjoy a Polynesian dinner show in June.

Navy MWR also brings in various entertainers and plans special community events. During the base-wide “Day at the Bay” celebration, the aquatics department participates by helping child and youth programs run water obstacle courses. The department hosted a Polynesian-style dance troupe in June with multiple sold-out dinner performances over a single weekend. In September, Abby and Matt Delaney of Key Log Rolling visited NSGB for a three-day log rolling instructional skill program. Not only did staff members receive training as log rolling instructors, but active duty military and families also had the opportunity to learn the art of log rolling di-

rectly from a world-champion log roller. The highly popular event, coupled with the training received, is enabling NSBG MWR to begin its own log rolling program for youth and command physical training programs for active duty and reservist military personnel. September also saw the launch of the newest MWR endeavor — a water polo clinic. The program offers a unique sport to residents and families, and plans to start a youth water polo league are in development. Another new program features “canoe battleships,” where teams attempt to (safely) sink their opponents by unloading buckets of water into opposing canoes. Water volleyball leagues, full-court water basketball tournaments, monthly dive-in movies, teen night pool parties and AquaFit, a weekly aerobic exercise class, round out the other monthly and quarterly aquatics programs. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay is a unique place for running a swimming program. A bit of outside-the-box thinking and exploring available resources provide multiple fun, relaxing and engaging programs for military personnel, civilians and their families. Jennifer Bardoni is the Aquatics Director for the Navy Morale, Welfare and Recreation Department at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay (

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Parks & Recreation



Handcrafted Dog Play Tunnel

Order on the Tennis Court! Arguments over line calls are the bane of tennis players everywhere, and often a major cause of headaches for parents, tournament directors and tennis facility staff. But now, a new device may help bring order to the court. Called “In/Out,” this small $199 unit attaches to any net post, on any type of tennis court, and detects whether balls are in or out. But, the unit does much more than call balls in or out. In/Out can also provide statistics and HD video playback, which players can use to help them improve. IN/OUT, INOUT@INOUT.TENNIS, WWW.INOUT.TENNIS

Hammie’s Tunnel House, handcrafted with wood grain and bark finishes, looks like a freshly fallen tree, making it a perfect addition to any natural-looking setting. Dogs enjoy running in and out of the tunnel as they play with other dogs. They’ll even jump on top to survey the grounds around them, making them top dog of the park. This play tunnel features Gyms for Dogs’ Cool Dog vented, open-air sides for cooling and safety, making it an ideal play piece for any environment. Hammie’s Tunnel House is free-standing and portable and can be used indoors and outdoors. GYMS FOR DOGS, 800.931.1562, WWW. GYMSFORDOGS.COM

Pool Blaster Skimmer Vac Perfect for Winterizing Water Tech’s Pool Blaster Skimmer Vac is a hydraulic, easy-to-use manual device that effortlessly removes and pumps out debris from virtually any pool skimmer basket without having to remove the basket itself. Perfect to use when closing pools or throughout the winter when pools are open but not in use. Everything from leaves, twigs, insects, rodents and other “untouchables” are instantly removed and sealed in a watertight compartment. There is never a need to touch or even be exposed to the many health and environmental dangers that make their way into an otherwise clean and healthy pool. WATER TECH, 800.298.8800, WWW.WATERTECHCORP.COM

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PVC Membrane for Pool Renovations RenoSys offers the most cost-effective way to renovate leaking, cracked and deteriorated commercial swimming pools and decks, using our thick reinforced 60 mil PVC membrane system that connects to our PVC or stainless-steel gutter. This integrated system makes the pool look like new; it’s watertight, low maintenance and durable. Complete the renovation with RecDeck PVC flooring for a slip-resistant durable deck. In-house design assistance and manufacturing ensure worry-free installations. Made in the USA. RENOSYS, 800.783.7005, WWW.RENOSYS.COM

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Pilot Rock/RJ Thomas Mfg. Co.................................................................27

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(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 ©2017 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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Parks & Recreation


Park Bench

Hooping for Hearts Each year, the American Heart Association and the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) sponsor their annual Jump Rope For Heart and Hoops For Heart fundraising events. With about 1 in every 100 babies being born with mild to severe congenital heart defects, these events raise funds to help them. The events are also geared toward teaching children not only how to develop heart-healthy habits while being physically active, but also the value of community service and coming together to help other kids with special hearts. As part of this year’s Hoops For Heart events, members of the City of Biloxi Parks and Recreation Department hosted its first Hoops For Heart event on September 9, a precursor to the Gulf Coast Heart Walk, which was held September 30 as a coast-wide event at Jones Park in Gulfport, Mississippi. Following an hour-long workshop in which they built and decorated their own hula hoops, participants burned some calories in a Hula Hoop Workout Dance Party with professional hula hooper, “Nola Hoop Girl” Cat Copeland, a fitness instructor and professional performance artist from New Orleans. They also learned about heart disease and stroke, while raising funds for cardiovascular disease research, stroke research and health education. “We are teaching the community how to get moving and get hooping with those hips,” says City of Biloxi Parks and Recreation Administrative Assistant Gina Cuervo. “Why hula hoops? It’s probably one of the easiest ways to get physical exercise, and it’s a great way to promote confidence and health and body awareness — which is awesome.” A little more than $150 was raised during this inaugural Hoops For Heart event, but it was one of several events organized by various departments/divisions of the city of Biloxi. For example, the Administration Department held a climb the lighthouse event, called Climbing with Heart, and the Community Development Department held a Heart Walk Bake Sale, to name a few. In addition to the money raised, a good time was had by all. The children especially enjoyed challenging their parents to dust off their hula hooping skills. —Sonia Myrick, Executive Editor for Parks & Recreation magazine 64 Parks & Recreation

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Photos courtesy of City of Biloxi

By Sonia Myrick

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Parks & Recreation November 2017  
Parks & Recreation November 2017