It’s time to get smashed!!!


Not you and me…it’s time for spotted lantern-flies (SLF) to get smashed! Last fall, East Goshen Township did a SLF “Smash a Thon” and it was a ton of fun! We kicked off the campaign at our Pumpkin Festival with a proverbial “first pitch” as I dressed up in a SLF costume and let the kids wack me with pool noodles!

This fall, I figured it was time to challenge some of my friends across the great state of Pennsylvania! After all, many of us are increasingly being affected by this devious, little invasive species! The 2019 fall campaign dates will be Monday, October 7th through Thursday, October 31st and our goal is 1,000,000 smashed SLFs!

Here’s how it will work!

  1. Register your community by emailing me at
  2. Download the official smash score sheet at:
  3. Market to your community however you see fit – feel free to give weekly prizes etc.
  4. Weekly scoring will be totals from Sunday to Saturday for a given week.
    1. 1 point – Smashing one SLF
    2. 50 points – scraping one egg mass
    3. 100 points – having a tree treated or removing a Tree of Heaven
  5. Email me your community totals each Monday by 12pm to be posted to the leader board on the PRPS Facebook page at
  6. The winning community will have the most SLF smashes per resident (to make the playing field even) as of the end of October 31st.
  7. I encourage everyone to have fun with it! Have residents post pictures to #SLFsmashcampaign and your social media pages!
  8. The community that ultimately comes out on top will win bragging rights, and the much coveted “Golden Fly Swatter”, to be presented at the PRPS Fall Membership Meeting.

Let’s get smashing!


Pennsylvania Park and Recreation Professionals Day is July 19

PRPS_Park&Recreation_ProfessionalsDayIt’s a safe bet we can all agree on the following. That when:

•   you visit a park, it is clean, safe, and ready to use.
•   your family goes swimming, the lifeguards are well-trained and the water quality is optimal.
•   your grandchild visits the playground, you know it is maintained to all safety standards.
•   your loved one with a disability wants to camp, swim, paddle or fish, all facilities are well-marked, well-maintained and easily accessible.
•   you attend a public festival, all safety and security systems are capable and functioning.
•   your elderly parents look for enriching and companionable activities, they can always find them.
•   your children attend day camp, you are certain of their safe and appropriate physical, cognitive and social development.
•   you visit urban woodlands, gardens and greenspaces, the attractive assets are well-cared for and healthy.
•   your teens participate in youth sports, they thrive in the coaching, playing, and growing.
•   you want to bike to the park, grocery store, library or work, you are able to make those connections, free from all hazards.

I believe we can agree that these are all reasonable expectations of our park and recreation facilities and programs. And since they are, it is fitting to credit the park and recreation professionals who provide them.

The third Friday in July is Pennsylvania Park and Recreation Professionals Day. It honors the men and women who work tirelessly behind the scenes to provide the high quality programs and facilities we desire and expect in our parks and public spaces.

On July 19, we invite all Pennsylvanians to visit a park and enjoy its facilities and services in a tribute to all our park and recreation providers. And just perhaps they’ll mention a little thanks to the programmer, manager, maintainer, landscaper, facilitator, lifeguard, coach, event organizer or caretaker.

If you have a public event on or near Friday, July 19, we encourage you to make it an official Park and Recreation Professionals Day celebration, with special promotions and publicity. Invite your elected officials and allow them to eye-witness and publicly acknowledge your value to the community at large. Download the resources of the promotional toolkit here to assist in your local preparations. 

Park and Recreation Professionals Day is celebrated during National Park and Recreation Month, and is a function of the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society.

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Engage with Social Media

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Many of us connect to some type of social media on a daily basis, either personally or professionally. The top four social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.  Today, Facebook remains the priority platform for most Americans. I am sure you have a favorite social media outlet that you prefer over the others.

Social media is used in the workplace for many reasons: to build your organization, connect with people, inform your audience, promote events/programs, gather feedback/reactions and much more. It is fast and inexpensive marketing! You can communicate directly, or share other’s posts. I assume your Department has a Social Media Policy in place if you don’t here is an example of the PRPS Employee Social Media Policy.

When posting to your social media, do you ever think about how to get more responses to your post? Or if anyone is seeing them? I know I get excited when I see a share, like, or comment. Track your social media analytics, and this will help show what is working and not working and help you increase engagement and grow your audience. Most social media networks have built-in analytics for you to track. The basic ones to keep track of are Reach, Engagement, and Impressions. The network summaries allow you to track by day, week, or month.

Which social media platform is best for you?

Facebook– Keeps followers up to date on news, events, programs, which they can easily share with others. Facebook is a great platform for posting pictures, videos and now live videos. (Posts with images are shared more often.) In addition, Facebook is a good place to ask questions and keep your followers engaged.

Twitter – Good for distributing alerts, news, and links to blogs/websites. If you want to start a quick conversation, this is the place.

LinkedIn – The best place to connect with other professionals in your field, build a network, share articles, and collaborate.

Instagram – The place to share photos, videos and stories that display in a live newsfeed.

PRPS uses several social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Google+. We use these platforms to promote workshops and conferences, and share member news, articles, blogs, and current trends. Be sure to follow or like us on all these platforms.  We post 3-4 times a week on Facebook and Twitter, and share articles and news on LinkedIn and photos on Instagram.

If you have anything to share on our Facebook page, please feel free to post, or send via email to Emily Schnellbaugh, Communications Manager,

You want me to volunteer for WHAT?

There are two components when it comes to volunteers:  the folks that volunteer and the folks that manage the volunteers.  Both are equally important.

Volunteers do play a vital role in many areas of the Parks and Recreation profession by providing essential work and know-how, which has Moraine Regatta with Smokey the Bearbecome a considerable monetary advantage. Most recreational professionals that have planned projects or events understand that they could not have been successful without the work, knowledge, and time donated by volunteers. Fischer and Schaffer (1993) define volunteering as, “the act of freely helping others without regard to financial and/or materialistic gain.”

There are many things to consider when working with volunteers in your organization: needs assessment, goals and objectives, risk management, training, orientation, placement, supervision, retainment, motivation, and recognition.  Just to name a few….

As some of you are aware, there are certainly times when you are not sure if managing the volunteers is all that it’s cracked up to be.  However, if you create reasonable expectations for an organization and the volunteers, there will be value to be had for you and the volunteer.

The benefits of volunteering as a family are enormous. Volunteering teaches even toddlers and preschoolers about compassion, empathy, tolerance, gratitude, and community responsibility. And children who volunteer are more likely to continue doing so as adults.  I have been volunteering at Moraine State Park for over 24 years, yikes……yes it has been that long. My children have been at my side since they can remember.  Volunteering is part of who they are, and hopefully, the memories and experiences they have gained will encourage them to continue the service as adults.


PRPS Conference & Expo: Final Journey



The 71st Annual Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society Conference & Expo was held March 27th – March 30th and featured a NEW location at Kalahari Resorts and Convention Center in Pocono Manor, PA.

The 2018 conference and expo hosted about 400 attendees as they embarked on a journey to find the “Spirit of Recreation.” Exciting new vendors, educational sessions, networking opportunities, and fun-filled socials provided a full itinerary as professionals set off on the four-day adventure!

Exhibitors of all shapes and sizes transformed the hall into a jungle of various new equipment, technologies, and professional opportunities. With over 80 vendors and two exciting interactive zones, there was so much for everyone to see! For those who remembered to bring their camera on the trek, the Snap Shot Game was a hit as participants captured images of wild and rare species throughout the expedition. To top it off, the Community Branch Prize Pool featured brand new prizes and helped to raise over $3,500.

As with any great journey, there is always much to learn. Forty-four educational sessions provided professionals with important information on recreation topics and growing trends. Specialized tours delivered an insight to the behind-the-scenes of our host, Kalahari Resorts, and a unique experience on the Pocono Raceway. Motivational Keynote Speakers Marc Mero and Barbara Heller sharing stories of personal triumph and overcoming stressful obstacles left professionals prepared to return to work ready to face any challenge!

Socials embraced the “spirit of friendly competition” this year with an adult Easter Egg Hunt that encouraged conference participants to search eagerly throughout the day and evening. And it did not stop there – the increasingly popular district challenge took the form of a Lip Sync Battle with District 1 claiming the “ALL District Belt!” Even vendors joined in on the challenges this year. And, of course, each night would not have been complete without the great prizes, dancing, and music provided by DJ Special D, Mr. Radio, and DJ Dave Boice.

The Annual Awards Banquet took place on the last evening of the Conference; sponsored by Recreation Resource, USA. A total of 10 Excellence in Recreation and Parks awards were presented and Lancaster Recreation Commission received the Agency of the Year Award. The Distinguished Member Award in Honor of Robert D. Griffith was presented to Karen M. Hegedus of Lower Providence Township, the Outstanding New Professional Award was presented to Robert Jackson of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, and the Outstanding Achievement Award in Honor of Fred M. Coombs was awarded to Helen M. Griffith who passed away in January. Congratulations to all the 2018 award winners!

The PRPS Conference hit a new record this year in sponsorship with amazing contributions from General Recreation, Recreation Resource USA, District III, Hershey Park, Grote, Morey’s Piers, and Rock N’Roll Racing. Thank you to all continuing and new sponsors that joined us this year! This adventure could not have been successful without you!

And no summary of the 2018 PRPS Conference expedition would be complete without a huge thank you to the amazing team that helped make it all happen! A committee of 29 professionals dedicated their time and energy throughout the year to guarantee a successful experience for members, vendors, speakers, and sponsors who attended. The PRPS Office Staff were another crucial part of the team, providing guidance, support, and resources throughout the process. Thank you to all the amazing individuals and groups that worked hard to bring the “Spirit of Recreation” to life and to all of you who chose to embark on the journey!


Introducing the new PRPS brand!

Introducing the new PRPS brand identity

Pennsylvania Recreation and Park SocietyAnd welcome to the new PRPS website and online headquarters!

We are very pleased to introduce the new PRPS brand identity. Please see the Brand Study Communications Plan and Brand Guidelines for brief outlines of the rationale that produced it and a glimpse of the new unified logos for our Society, Branches and Districts.

The process began last year when PRPS hired SWELL to conduct a Brand Study for PRPS, which was presented to the Board of Directors in its March meeting.

Based on the study, the professional design team developed three distinct concepts, which were reviewed by the Board and a select team of PRPS members. At each stage of its evolutionary progress, we solicited new input, and a clear choice emerged to become our new logo.

The process was deliberate to embrace expert design advice while incorporating the desires of the PRPS stakeholders.

We now have a new identity that does all of the following:

•  “owns” the PRPS acronym that everyone uses

•  freshens and updates our image for contemporary use and popular recognition

•  balances the fun in our delivery with the essentials of our purpose

•  brings a bold corporate image for a relevant and influential professional association

•  unites our Districts and Branches into an easily comprehensible and cohesive whole

Beyond the logo, we are also pleased to launch this brand-new website with more clarity and functions than our former site. While you’re here, please take a few minutes to poke around and check out the various pages and features. In particular, check out the SANDBOX, our interactive zone for:

•  The Scoop – a link to the most current weekly edition of our eNewsletter, now updated with a fresh title and format.

•  Dig It! Blog – an interactive forum to explore park and recreation issues, share resources and best practices, and advance innovative solutions. Look for regular posts on the 5th, 15th and 25th of each month from our team of thought leaders.

•  Groups – a series of interactive meeting places for our Districts, Branches, Committees, and other organized groups.

•  Job Center – for posting and reviewing employment opportunities.

We’ve made it easier and more intuitive for you to renew your membership, explore upcoming training opportunities, register for a program, learn more of our partners, and download resources.

(Because this has been a huge undertaking, there might be some glitches. If you find any, please let us know so we can fix them as soon as possible! We’ll appreciate both your understanding and your patience.)

The PRPS Board and staff urge you to review our new Brand Study Communications Plan and Brand Guidelines, and embrace the new identity of PRPS and all it means for our future together!
Continue reading “Introducing the new PRPS brand!”

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