Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Creating Community through People, Parks and Programs: Park and Recreation Agencies Need to Remind Everyone of Their Importance

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Creating Community through People, Parks and Programs: Park and Recreation Agencies Need to Remind Everyone of Their Importance

Article excerpt

Park and recreation agencies throughout the country are being acutely challenged by our economic situation. In the past, we've been known for being resourceful, creative and competent. Now isn't the time to change our image! While we can't provide miracles to overcome budget deficits, we can adjust, identify and communicate the importance of parks and recreation in creating community through people, parks and programs.

The demand for an action plan has increased, as budget cuts have accelerated the loss of programs and services in many park and recreation departments. An action plan can help park and recreation agencies position themselves as vital components in their communities. An action plan can also be an important tool in making sure the role of parks and recreation in creating community is understood by policy makers and the public.

Park and recreation professionals in California have dramatically changed how they do business and how they position their profession to be at the table when critical issues are framed and decisions are made. In 1999, the California Park and Recreation Society (CPRS) launched the VIP (Vision, Insight and Planning) Project with the release of a strategic action plan for the profession called "Creating Community in the 21st Century." The VIP plan provides a map for the profession's sustainability and future as a leader in creating community.

The VIP plan could reposition the profession of parks and recreation, but it must reflect the values and beliefs of our umbrella organization. CPRS's membership includes:

* Commercial and for-profit organizations that provide us and the public with products and services.

* Natural resource agencies that provide stewardship for our cherished lands and waters.

* Therapeutic recreation agencies that provide health care services.

* Community colleges and universities that prepare future professionals.

* Adult education providers that offer lifelong learning opportunities.

* Park professionals who preserve the natural environment, enhance safety and protect our valuable resource investment.

* Special districts and local recreation agencies that provide parks and recreation opportunities to local residents.

* Armed forces leaders who provide recreation services for our personnel around the world.

* Students who are the professionals of the future.

* Citizen volunteers who provide many direct services, and others.

While there have been previous park and recreation marketing programs, such as "Life. …

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