Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Perspectives: For NRPA, a Collective Voice: In Support of Public Parks and Recreation, the Whole Truly Is Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Perspectives: For NRPA, a Collective Voice: In Support of Public Parks and Recreation, the Whole Truly Is Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts

Article excerpt

In last month's Perspectives column, NRPA President Linda Kotowski challenged each of us to engage in work at the local, state, or national level with a renewed commitment to fulfilling NRPA's mission. As we approach this month's NRPA National Legislative Forum on Parks and Recreation in Washington, D.C., it seems a good time to examine why we choose to belong to a national organization.

Why should we gather on Capitol Hill? What are the benefits for those of us working at the state or local level? For citizens? For professionals?

Some of the answers seem obvious. Because the U.S. Congress and various governmental agencies are responsible for passing laws and developing the rules and regulations we must follow, as well as deciding whether a specific program is funded, it's important to be a part of the decision-making process and to protect our interests and those of the customers we serve.

As new initiatives and programs are identified, who better than NRPA to guarantee that public parks and recreation has a place at the table?

As we make our presence felt in Washington, speaking with senators and representatives, we are aware of the powerful collective voice of NRPA's professional and citizen members. As an elected official in Dallas, I listened carefully to the recommendations of professional city staff, but ultimately, it was the message from my constituents, the citizens, that was most important.

There's no doubt that what happens in Washington often spills over to state and local communities. Our challenge is to play a role in developing and framing these actions and to make the most of them at the local level. Through its advocacy efforts and education programs, NRPA is helping to make that happen.

For citizens, NRPA's efforts will make us more effective advocates in Washington and at home, whether before a city council, county commission, or state official. …

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