President Sabbach Listens and Leads. (American Park and Recreation Association)

Article excerpt

The American Park and Recreation Society is in the midst of an important project. For many months now, APRS leadership has been pondering the questions: Do our branch members know they're members of APRS? Do they know what APRS is or does? Are they aware of all the great resources available to them? Do they know how they can get involved and make a difference at the national level?

Many APRS members who had the opportunity to attend the NRPA Congress & Exposition in Tampa last fall took part in an important member survey, which was conducted to address these and other questions. The survey responses are in, and we'll use the results to develop programs and services. Here's a sampling of what we learned:

* APRS members prioritized our services as follows: educational sessions, networking opportunities, the APRS Web site, educational grants, pre-Congress institutes and opportunities for professional involvement.

* 87 percent of respondents said it was important to offer APRS educational sessions within states and regions throughout the year.

* Overall, respondents were only somewhat knowledgeable (60 percent) about APRS and its services.

* A large majority of members want to receive APRS information via e-mail. Others noted that communications should be handled through a newsletter or the Web site.

* Less than a quarter of the respondents are actively involved in APRS. Most who aren't said they weren't involved because no one had ever asked them. Also, the time commitment and the location of conferences played a role.

* Respondents were indecisive about whether they missed the APRS newsletter, Keeping You Current, and whether they preferred APRS information being included in the NRPA in Action column in Parks & Recreation (which is the format you're reading right now).

On the basis of these results, APRS leadership will develop a plan to meet your needs and interests. Options to consider:

* A marketing and communications plan to increase awareness of services offered by APRS and the benefits of these services.

* An electronic version of Keeping You Current.

* Marketing efforts to recruit board members and committee members. …