Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Change We Can Believe In

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Change We Can Believe In

Article excerpt

I can't remember a time in history that has seemed more promising for NRPA and the park and recreation field.

We have recently completed a very productive Legislative Forum in our nation's Capitol, with more than 350 NRPA members--both citizens and professionals--in attendance. A number of them were first-time attendees. Our new CEO, Barbara Tulipane, and her outstanding staff ensured our success.

Attendance at our Congressional Reception was unprecedented, with nine members of Congress present. We listened to award honorees Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. of Illinois, Rep. Donald M. Payne of New Jersey, and Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island. We also heard from Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts and Rep. Nick J. Rahall of West Virginia, chair of the House Natural Resources Committee. Other members of Congress attending were Rep. Dale Edward Kildee of Michigan, chair of the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education; Rep. John Salazar of Colorado; Rep. Glenn Thompson of Pennsylvania; and Rep. Howard Coble of North Carolina. Washington, D.C., City Council member Harry Thomas Jr. and D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation director Clark Ray also spoke, as did Marc Miller, director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, who represented the Robert M. Artz Citizen Advocacy Award honoree Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois.

President Barack Obama's theme of "Change We Can Believe In" was almost palpable as our delegations walked the halls of Congress. Almost all of the responses were supportive and reflected commitment to helping carry forward our park, recreation, and conservation initiatives. And while our government leaders expressed concerns regarding the current economy and its impact on legislation and revenue, at the end of the day we were optimistic about the future.

We are also experiencing change at NRPA as we work toward becoming better equipped to fulfill our mission of advancing park, recreation, and environmental conservation efforts that enhance the quality of life for all people.

For the last few years, we have been reducing the size of the NRPA board of trustees from 72 members to a 21-member board of directors. We will finalize that effort at the end of this fall's Congress in Salt Lake City. This decrease will allow us to transition from being representative of NRPA'S many interest groups to functioning entirely as at-large directors. …

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