Are you ready for Fall Fundraising?

by Molly Hetrick

Fall is the peak time for falling leaves and for fundraising! Here are some ideas and helpful bits of info for you to consider this fall…

Why Fall? What about the Holidays?

Traditionally people give more in the second half of the year as the holidays approach. Here are the important parts:

  • Get your fall appeal letters and marketing out before Thanksgiving.
    • When do other non-profits and big fundraising organizations get theirs out in your community? Try to work around this…
  • Early December is a good giving time IF your appeal is already out. It’s an excellent time to send email or social media reminders that support your original letter to people with a gentle nudge.
    • If not, do not send an appeal letter in the beginning of December. People are busy, holiday shopping is looming, and it will end up in the recycling!
    • At this point, you’ve missed your chance, so, you can try this next idea…
  • December is an opportunity to re-route holiday giving… instead of giving someone a gift that they may not want, people like Alternative Holiday Giving! What options can you offer?
    • Instead of a gift…
      • Put their name on a brick!
      • Sponsor a kayak!
      • Put their name on a scholarship to send a child to camp!
      • Name a wild animal after them…
      • {Insert your unique creative idea here}
      • No ideas? Offer to either send a special holiday card to the person they are gifting for (this requires extra work for your staff, really tragic if you mix things up) – OR offer them a special fun card to give themselves to the person they gifted for.
  • The last week of December is the big giving week – a great time to support your appeal letter with follow up stories, image similar social media or emails, etc.
    • Motivation at this point is often tax breaks and getting final donations made before December 31. With tax law changes, this is not always possible. Many donors still give even if they cannot claim it on their taxes.
    • This is also when donors remember their Top 3 charities. Your work all year long helps to align you to be one of their top three. If it is the end of December and you haven’t done outreach, start planning for next year to connect people and their passions to your mission.

Other Ideas?

  • Remember all year long to collect emails and addresses so you have an easily accessible list to communicate with for fundraising.
  • Is it okay to send fundraising materials to your participant lists? Double check with your Director, Board, or Attorney, but usually the answer is yes. They participate in your programs and enjoy your parks, they care about your organization, so let them know how things are going and the projects you’re raising money for in the future.
  • Remember Donor Centered Language – if you forget, look back at my previous blog posts.
    • Compare:
      • “We can’t wait to build the new picnic pavilion and we need your help to fund it!” (ie: you are the ATM machine)
      • “Your generous support for the new picnic pavilion will provide a large multi-use space for hundreds of community activities!” (warm and fuzzy!)
      • “Your gift last year made such an impact on the children who attend summer camp, will you consider a gift again this year?” (you matter! You make a difference!)
      • How do these messages feel to you? Which one makes you want to support something?
  • If you can’t handle the details of a large Fall mailing, instead:
    • Set up easy online giving and promote it through social media and eNewsletters…
    • Ask your Board Members to write personal notes or make phone calls to ask for gifts…
    • Create a special giving group and call some donors you know to offer them a special opportunity to make an impact gift towards a particular project… (exclusive, small group!)
    • Send hand written New Year’s cards that include a warm message and “please consider a year end gift to support the programs and services your family loved this year.”

I hope these ideas were helpful and got you thinking about fundraising for the Fall. This is a great time to connect with people, keep them up to date on your programs and projects, and ask them to be part of the exciting upcoming plans.

If you’re still feeling stuck, please reach out to me or to Tim Herd, PRPS CEO, as we are always interested to know what resources would be most helpful for you.

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Grant Writing 101

As September approaches, Parks & Recreation Departments will be in the thick of budget season with many new questions in the current COVID-19 world.  While operating budgets are being meticulously picked through and may be subject to no increase or a decrease, the importance of capital improvement projects for our existing infrastructure and creating new community amenities is more evident now than ever.  Faced with the temporary closure of many recreation opportunities and lots of free time, residents have rediscovered the ease of visiting their local, regional and state parks. 

When faced with paying for capital improvements in our parks, grants have traditionally provided the financial or resource support to help those projects become reality.  With Congress passing the Great American Outdoors Act on July 22, 2020, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is now funded at its fullest level.  There is now even greater financial stability for PA DCNR to support projects throughout the Commonwealth – including your capital improvements!

If this is your first time ever applying or you’re a veteran, keep these steps in mind as you navigate the grant process:     

Step 1: Choosing the Project – Select a project that appears in one or more of your long-term planning documents, fulfills a pressing need in your community and/or builds upon a previously funded endeavour.  

Step 2: Choosing a Grant – There are many funding sources out there, but try and find partners that align with the spirit of your project.  Begin your search with PA DCNR, PA DCED, PRPS and NRPA.

Step 3: Do Your Research – When reviewing the grant application, review the background documents referred to in the application.  These documents will routinely provide you with the criteria that your request should be addressing.  If you do not have the time to review the entire document(s), split the work up amongst several staff members.  This is a great way to get project buy-in and gain other perspectives.  And don’t forget to review your own planning documents for references to your project so you can highlight the work being part of a larger community plan.       

Step 4: Be Creative – So you aren’t sure that your project fits the bill?  Don’t be afraid to think creatively about how your project, its goal and the impact on your community connects to the goals of the funding partner.  Mine those background documents and search for connections between your project and the grant.   

Step 5: Bullet Points for Precision – Use a bullet point method during two distinct parts of the process: 1. When reviewing the questions, create a running list of every way your project applies to the question. & 2. When answering the questions, consider using bullet points as part of your answer to make it obvious to the reviewers how you are addressing the questions – don’t bury your answer in fluffy text.  Be direct and to the point.  

While the grant application process may appear daunting, but when broken down into small bites, you’ll find it manageable and absolutely achievable. 

This is going to leave a mark

Ready and abundant access to our stress-relieving and health-inducing parks and recreational services is needed now more than ever.

Aerial drone view of a huge riverbed, Iceland

Like the 2001 terrorist attack on the United States, the current COVID-19 pandemic will jar our senses and society in ways we haven’t anticipated.

The coming shift in our collective psyche is not yet clear in anyone’s cloudy crystal ball, but is likely to be profoundly and broadly pervasive.

But even as park and recreation professionals scramble to respond to the abrupt demands of cancelling and rescheduling programs and events, sanitizing and maintaining facilities, establishing and enforcing new protocols—while remaining on frontline public service duty in food distribution, coping and cognitive therapies, and many other community interactions and enrichments—we must also invest in some leadership forethought to our futures. Ready and abundant access to our stress-relieving and health-inducing parks and recreational services is needed now more than ever.

What will all this mean to our profession when we return (yet again!) to a new normal?

I’m no prophet (nor even a mediocre soothsayer), but it’s likely the long-term impacts of surviving the worldwide pandemic will rock our world socially, economically, environmentally, relationally, psychologically—in short, fundamentally.

And with this disruptive shift, comes a series of thought-provoking considerations to re-establishing our community value and our professional accountability. Among them:

●  How do we navigate the inherent conflicts between social distancing and community engagement?
●  How do we maintain sanitary outdoor play surfaces, and encourage trust in our best practices?
●  What adjustments do we make to our maximum load capacities in aquatic centers and meeting spaces?
●  How do we balance park/program equity with new fiscal realities and responsibilities?
●  How can we leverage increased interest in personal health for more interaction in nature?
●  How can we lessen dependence on governmental funding and operate more entrepreneurially?
●  How do we better assist our most vulnerable populations?
●  How do cancelled school sessions create a new niche we can fill in our summer camps?
●  What new partnerships can we create to build more healthful and resilient neighborhoods?
●  What new protocols need to be established in our recreation centers, swimming pools, children’s services, large-group events, fitness programs, playgrounds, concessions, trails, visitor centers, and other public facilities?

Granted, not all of these questions are newly arriving with a post-pandemic world, but if we practitioners are to remain relevant and, indeed, grow our industry’s uniquely influential role in the public good in its aftermath, we can no longer kick these proverbial cans further down the road.

Instead, I suggest embracing a new metaphor for a preferred future.

With the onset of the pandemic, thousands of park and recreation agencies suddenly have to deal with new, yet simultaneously similar challenges. Our many responses are like the myriad of rivulets produced by a flooding rainstorm. They’re trickling everywhere at once, exploring ways of forward passage, but ultimately leading in the same downslope direction. If we will share our new ideas, our innovative procedures, our lessons from failures and successes; our thousands of earnest rivulets will coalesce to braided stream flows that, just a little bit further on, will produce a stronger, broader channel of unified best-practice standards and indispensable public services, restoring and refreshing us all.

Please share your questions, suggestions and experiences with your peers in the PRPS companion Facebook page, What’s Up P+R?! As we gather resources and can offer authoritative guidance, we will post them on the PRPS Recreation and Park COVID-19 Resources webpage for all to benefit.

During the coming weeks, PRPS will be hosting free Virtual Roundtables (Parks & Recreation – Surviving the Covid Crisis) via Zoom to provide a networking platform for members to share issues and brainstorm about how to move forward during this stressful time. Individual Roundtable topics include Aquatics, Maintenance, Programs/Events/Summer Camp, Leadership/Planning, Therapeutic Recreation, and Urban Recreation.

And join the fluid movement forward!

Taking a trip inside the mind of your local officials

As much as we wish for it, there’s simply not enough money to do everything we would like to do in parks and recreation.  Still, we do our best by being resourceful with existing dollars, finding new ways to save, partnering to increase efficiencies, and advocating for officials to make favorable budget decisions.  Elected and appointed officials dictate the slice of our budget pie and can approve or deny policies to support our funding and cost-saving initiatives.  Given this reality, what would improve the odds of favorable budgetary and policy decisions from these officials?

The National Recreation and Park Association commissioned a study which sought to better understand local officials’ priorities, attitudes, and intentions regarding their local communities and their budgetary decisions.  Full disclosure – I was principal investigator of that study.

While there are several study take-aways, one comparison particularly stands out… those conditions or factors which relate to greater funding allocations among local officials.  We found officials said they would allocate more of their budget to parks and recreation if they: (a) personally used them, (b) perceived them to be of poor quality, and (c) if they believed them to be important to the local community.  OK, then what would make parks and recreation more important to local officials? Here, we found parks and recreation was perceived as more important when: (a) it was perceived to address important community issues, (b) when the public was perceived to very vocal in their support of parks and recreation, and (c) when there was an excellent relationship between the local official and park and recreation director.

How might these findings shape our work?  The first implication is to figure out what officials think is important to their office and to the community.  From there, provide compelling evidence on how your parks and recreation activities contribute to these important issues – you should use both data and stories to make your case.  My colleague at the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society, Niki Tourscher, suggests we first find out what parks and recreation really means to your local officials and, if it’s a particularly narrow view, expand your conversation to explain the many other facets and benefits of parks and recreation, particularly how it connects to their priorities.

Second, do your best to establish positive working relationships with your local officials.  Greg Weitzel, Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Las Vegas, highly recommends we read and apply lessons from the classic book, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie to improve relationships with your officials. Recognize, however, you’re not going to win over everyone.  Finally, it goes without saying that you should let the community be your voice – work toward a strong volunteer and advocacy base who can advocate to local officials on your behalf.  For more information our findings, check out our infographic here:

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6623660640827437059/

Finally, let’s hear from you… What suggestions do you have for to work effectively with local officials?

Why you should call your local elected officials before July 2, 2018

Blue Mountain

In 1993, the General Assembly, by a combined vote total of 244 to 3, established the Pennsylvania Recreation, Park, and Conservation Fund (Key 93 or Keystone Fund) with a dedicated funding source of 15 percent of the state’s Realty Transfer Tax. The realty transfer tax is collected at a rate of 2 percent on the value of real estate when a property changes ownership (with some exceptions.) The buyer and seller each pay half of the tax with the state government ultimately receiving half of the total tax revenue. Following the General Assembly vote, 67 percent of Pennsylvania citizens voted to supplement the Keystone’s permanent funding stream with a one-time infusion of $50 million in bond revenues.

On July 2, 2018, the Keystone Fund will be celebrating 25 years of success.

Twenty-five years of funding has provided Penn’s Woods with more than 2,400 community park developmental projects, 117,000 acres of preserved open space and has leveraged $3.13 in direct local investments in our parks, trails and open space for each dollar of Keystone Funding.

The Trust for Public Land conducted an economic analysis of the return on Pennsylvania’s investment in land and water conservation through the Keystone Recreation, Park, and Conservation Fund and found that every $1 invested in land conservation returned $7 in natural goods and services to the Pennsylvania economy.

Brush Creek Trail Ribbon Cutting

Keystone Funding provides to the residents of Pennsylvania:

1.  Recreation (including state parks, trails, scenic rivers, historic and museum facilities, libraries and PA State Universities)
Pennsylvania outdoor recreation generates $21.5 billion in spending, $1.6 billion in tax revenue, 219,000 jobs, and $7.2 billion in wages and salaries. Visitors to state parks spend $859 million annually at local businesses contributing to a total economic impact of $1.15 billion and 12,630 jobs in a variety of industries and businesses in the state.

2. Open Space
Protected open space in southeastern Pennsylvania provides a value of $10.9 million in water quality enhancement services and $318 million in air pollution removal services annually and adds $16.3 billion to the value of homes and generates $240 million in additional annual property and transfer tax revenues. Studies of 15 Pennsylvania communities found that open space and working farms and forest require only $0.18 in services for every $1 generated in tax revenue while residential land requires $1.26 for every $1 generated.

3. Quality of Life
Quality of life is one of the most important factors skilled workers consider when choosing where to live and work. Conserved lands contribute to a high quality of life by providing opportunities for outdoor recreation, improving air and water quality, and maintaining the character of communities.

The Keystone Fund has leveraged $205 million in matching funds from private sources and $116 from local sources for conservation. That is, every $1 of Keystone funding was matched by $2.16 in additional contributions!

Many of your future projects could rely on this funding! Educating legislators about the Keystone Fund is very important as most legislators have changed since 1993. We need to continue to enhance legislative support. Take a minute to communicate the importance of maintaining this dedicated funding source for the future of Pennsylvania Parks and Recreation. Pick up the phone, stop by their office, drop them an email or personal letter….YOU decide which avenue of communication with your local officials would be the most effective in your corner of the “Woods.” Take a minute to reach out to them before July 2nd.

For additional fact sheets, reports and surveys, talking points, sample letters to legislators and other resources visit: https://keystonefund.org/25th-anniversary-toolkit/

#KeystoneFund25    #KeystoneFund

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Showcase your parks in 2018 – become a NRPA Park Champion!

In 2017, East and West Goshen Townships celebrated two-hundred years of blissful divorce with a Bicentennial Celebration on June 3rd. The event included a three-scene play based on historical documents, two stages of music, Ben Franklin (this is Pennsylvania after all…), an amazing fireworks display – even a pistol duel! That’s right, Ken Lehr and I faced off to finally see, after two hundred years, which was the better Township! In the end, we both stayed on our feet, but the crowd of 3,500 loved every minute!

While perusing the NRPA website last March, I came across their Park Champion initiative. Park Champion events highlight the positive impacts of park and recreation events within a community and specifically advocate to federally elected officials. I immediately emailed Jayni Rasmussen, NRPA’s Advocacy and Outreach Manager, to get the scoop! The initiative is very turnkey and user-friendly. Park Champion logos are available, template letters you can mail to federal officials are easily downloadable, and NRPA is more than willing to knock on your official’s doors down in Washington.

The benefits to local Pennsylvania Parks and Recreation Departments are enumerable. In my opinion, one thing that Pennsylvania Park & Recreation Departments struggle with, because we are Township and not County driven, is “playing with the big boys” across the country. By attaching the Park Champion logo to our Bicentennial Celebration – our event was seen in a higher esteem by our local Township Board of Supervisors and community. We received additional local publicity and fundraising support as well.

Another chief benefit of hosting a Park Champion event is something for the greater good. State officials in Harrisburg had a difficult time with the 2017 budget – and in most budgetary conversations monies we typically rely on came up on the chopping block. I know my community is desperately trying to renovate and rehabilitate our park spaces, but need those state monies to move forward. At our Bicentennial Celebration, we had our U.S. Representative, both State Senators and our State Representative – all of whom came simply because we were a Park Champion. They each joined me on stage and made wonderful remarks about the impact of parks here in West Chester. I had an opportunity to talk with each one, and subtly made my case that folks at the event, 3,500 (20% of my residents), truly valued parks and needed them to be updated. Politically speaking, my goal was to show elected officials that they needed me, Ken and our Parks and Recreation Departments as assets. Partnering with NRPA as a Park Champion helped us deliver on this goal.

Park Champion events can be small or large, ongoing events or something brand new. Logistically speaking, it’s best to align a Park Champion event with the congressional calendar, giving your federal officials no reason not to come!

For those that couldn’t make the PRPS Fall Membership meeting, Jayni Rasmussen was our guest speaker. It was clearly evident she is passionate about helping municipal departments advocate and highlight what makes them awesome! I spoke with her afterwards, and she summed up the Park Champion initiative best, “As park and recreation professionals, you already know that your work is essential in making your community healthier, happier, and more economically vibrant. But with so much public funding on the chopping block, it’s critical that you demonstrate to your members of Congress the importance of investing in local parks and recreation. Emails and phone calls are great, but there’s really nothing like experiencing a local park or recreation facility in person. That’s the idea behind NRPA’s Park Champion initiative – empowering park and recreation professionals and community advocates to show elected officials the importance of parks and recreation first-hand by inviting them to events, project openings, groundbreakings, program kick-offs, and more.  You’re already equipped with unbeatable advocacy assets: your parks, recreation centers, and community-focused programs. Now, it’s time to join the hundreds of Park Champions across the country and in Pennsylvania, and take advantage of the tools, resources, and network of support that NRPA offers to members and non-members alike through this initiative. Together as Park Champions, we can fight for the future of parks and recreation by bringing Capitol Hill to a park near you.”

While the snow is still on the ground and you are busy planning a wonderful 2018 – I encourage everyone to visit the Park Champion website and get going!

2017-EG Bicentennial-0038
NRPA Park Champion events – bringing local, state and federal officials together                       (L-R) US Rep. R. Costello, State Rep. C. Comitta and East Goshen Chairman M. Shane

Why sustainability is not just about the environment

5 key principles

wind-farm-1209335_960_720

In essence, sustainable is about five key principles:

  1. Care for the Environment
  2. Respect of Ecological Constraints
  3. Fairness and Equality
  4. Quality of Life
  5. Participation and Partnership

Or in a nutshell, a development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

As parks and recreation professionals each of the key principles affect our daily lives.  In order to ensure future sustainability practices, not only should the younger generations should be engaged in these philosophies, practices and key elements but the entire population.

Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods sparked a movement to encourage children to go out and reconnect with nature. This movement has since sparked innovation in amenities to keep them engaged such as Nature Play Playgrounds, Sensory Gardens, and Nature Programs and Curriculum.

Most of us are aware of the above aspect of Sustainability.

But what about… Fairness and Equality? Quality of Life? Participation and Partnership?

Fairness and Equality

When it comes to societal transformation for a sustainable future, there are three reasons why equality could be part of the equation.

First, inequality drives materialism.

Second, people living in more equal societies value collective responsibility more. This leads to a host of sustainable spin-offs.

The third reason also relates to business and economic growth. Transforming societies will require significant innovation.

Quality of Life

Our profession enhances the unique characteristics of all communities by providing healthy, safe and walkable opportunities for all ages. It creates memories, physical activity, and fun! We have the power to enhance the quality of life for those willing to participate.

Participation and Partnership (or in our case, FUNDING!)

We have recently witnessed the lack of participation and partnership regarding the support of funding for parks and recreation in Pennsylvania. Continued development of strategies that inspire our communities, residents and government officials will allow them to discover the importance of parks, recreation and open space in the Commonwealth. Partnerships have proven to be the backbone to financial sustainability. The Growing Greener Coalition, PRPS and others have worked to keep us informed of changes that are being made to potential funding cuts that can and will affect most of us.  Continue to be part of our uniform voice when there is a “Call For Action!”

Sustainability will continue to increase in Pennsylvania because of all YOU do.

Parks and Recreation is “Good For You, Good For All.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t be a Twit

Curtailing or eliminating park and rec services only cuts off our nose to spite our face

hand on chain-link fenceRoald Dahl, the celebrated author, wrote a delightfully disgusting story for children about a wretched, extra-specially horrible couple named Mr. and Mrs. Twit. Not only are they dirty, ugly, and mean-spirited, they are also stupid, and fall prey to their own nasty tricks.

The Twits built their house without any windows, because they didn’t want every Tom, Dick and Harry peeping in to see what they were doing. It never occurred to them that it made it more of a prison than a home.

It’s the Twits I think about when I hear of another municipality cutting its recreation and park budget.

Sure, you can build a house more cheaply without windows. It’ll save on materials and labor. It may reduce heating and cooling costs. It may even save on maintenance. But who would want to live there?

I contend that recreation and park services are an integral, essential feature of any well-built, open community. They must not be mere window-dressing—just a frivolity for good times, but the first to discard when things turn grave.

Park and recreation services impact every aspect of modern living, from stimulating our economic activity and mutual wellness, to safeguarding our natural environment and collective resiliency, to strengthening our social capital and communal livability.

These essential services don’t just offer benefits to be enjoyed only in prosperity, but advance practical solutions to many of our most intractable issues. That these channels become all the more critical to real people during economic downturns, societal distresses, and natural calamities are all the more reasons to keep investing in their outcomes.

Where else are you going to find the resources and expertise to nurture physical, mental and emotional therapy? Fortify economic development and tourism? Administer food distribution programs? Reduce crime and increase community safety? Foster diversity and cross-cultural cooperation? Create transportation alternatives and reduce traffic congestion? Preserve and enhance biodiversity? Administer preventative treatment for drug abuse and risky behaviors? Facilitate positive youth and family development? Strengthen motor and cognitive skills in young children? Expedite medical recovery and boost immune systems? Raise student performance and educational attainment? Establish a sense of place and belonging? And provide many other critical services?

Through integral park and recreation systems, that’s where.

Our collective wellbeing is framed in our communities’ windows to recreation. Not only do they enhance the desirability of living and working there, shed light on the issues, enable an exchange of fresh ideas, and facilitate engagement between diverse groups where there had been only walls before, they are the most effectual conduits for progress we have.

Curtailing or eliminating them only cuts off our nose to spite our face—which is also counter to the resolve of sensible people.

A Penn State study revealed that 91 percent of Pennsylvanians support keeping existing funds dedicated to parks, recreation, trails, conservation and open space. And 82 percent support increasing funds for these purposes, even if it would cost the average household $10 more annually.

Here’s what we need to view from our window on the future: for our own good, we must continue to invest in parks, public spaces, recreation and green infrastructure.

See, it’s the windows that make the profound difference between a mausoleum and a home. Just who are we investing for? Don’t be a Twit.

Park and Recreation’s Big Picture Issues

a starting discussion to improve our industry’s comprehensive benefits.

hikingThe park and recreation profession is a diverse and comprehensive industry that improves personal, social, environmental, and economic health; promotes unifying and comprehensive solutions to societal issues; and advances standards of living wherever its unique contributions are sought and valued.

In preparation for developing a series of statewide issue-based strategic plans, I am enlisting help to articulate the big-picture issues that continue to restrict the industry’s full potential.

These issues, here in draft form, but when objectively presented and referenced, may then serve as a starting point to build political and operational strategies to improve the overall capability of the industry’s delivery of comprehensive benefits.

Please add your suggestions below to clarify or refute these issues or identify others, as well as for supporting references and strategies; or send them by September 30 to herd@prps.org.

1. Universal Value Recognition

A) Most governmental agencies and public service organizations do not readily recognize or identify a positive contributory role within their purview for parks and recreation as a go-to industry to help meet modern social issues (i.e. health, social services, public works, community development, etc.); and B) While the profession is an essential community service and problem-solver, and one of the highest enablers of wellness and life satisfaction, many professionals and volunteers don’t sufficiently engage in their responsibilities to evidence that belief.

2. Effective Business and Leadership Modeling

The traditional business model of park and recreation services is outmoded and ineffectual, as is the paradigm of autocratic leadership in a pluralist society. Many agencies lack the abilities to assimilate best management and leadership practices from nongovernmental applications, and to create publicly responsive and relevant value propositions, a performance-driven organization, sustainable funding, and compelling community leadership.

3. Sufficient and Sustainable Funding

Lack of adequate funding prolongs and exacerbates social inequities, environmental harm, and unsafe and poorly maintained facilities. It stifles economic prospects, innovative solutions, new opportunities, and responsive services, as well as the vocational appeal to new careerists.

4. Industry-wide Integration

The comprehensive park and recreation industry includes many diverse disciplines and related fields, but a lack of full and continual interagency and interdisciplinary awareness, cooperation and integrated services impedes the highest effectiveness and influence of the entire profession.

5. Professional development

Many routes lead into the dynamic industry in a changing society, but many professionals do not actively develop leadership and maintain adequate training in all competencies. Many do not seek further training after their formal educations, keep up with changes and trends in the profession, or sustain their own active learning or self-improvement plans, which effectively and continually diminish their own capabilities and influence.

6. Community Resilience

Cities and communities everywhere are facing unprecedented environmental, social, and economic challenges, which in turn make them more vulnerable to degradation and less able to restore, let alone improve, complex services and systems that meet high livability standards. In its unique central role, the park and recreation profession unites people across social, racial, and economic divides, and can be a catalyst to help communities become more resilient and better adapted to thrive.

7. State and National Leadership

While the National Recreation and Park Association provides leadership in many national issues, it remains a challenge for statewide professional associations to rise to a similar position of influence in state and regional matters. Without establishing the state association as a readily recognized industry leader and trusted change agent, interpreter of societal trends, and advocate of public policy, it cannot achieve its fullest potential in relevant capacity and profound influence for its members, profession and public.

Thank you very much for your thoughtful response!

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