Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Innovators on Call: Meet Some of the Trendsetting People and Companies Advancing the Products and Services for the Field of Parks and Recreation

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Innovators on Call: Meet Some of the Trendsetting People and Companies Advancing the Products and Services for the Field of Parks and Recreation

Article excerpt

The NRPA Board of Directors, staff leadership and a group of leading industry innovators gathered last October for a retreat to discuss .Land predict the emerging trends that the field of parks and recreation should be aware of for 2014 and upcoming years. Identifying trends and how they might apply to the field can be powerful information information that can provide real opportunities for those who decide to get ahead of the trends. Not only that, paying attention to trends also helps mitigate risk, allowing for the anticipation of how the trends might apply to or affect your daily operations or professional life. These trendsetting innovators are leading the way for the future of parks and recreation.

Go Ape

Go Ape ( specializes in providing treetop adventure courses to parks through public-private partnerships. Courses typically include five ziplines over 40 obstacles and provide a two- to three-hour experience for all ages. Go Ape's model is to provide all capital costs, design, build and operate the course while providing a new revenue stream and recreational activity to the park department at no cost. The company places a strong emphasis on the course aesthetic and minimizes negative impacts to ensure the courses blend in with the natural environment and are a discreet, yet adventurous addition to the park. Go Ape strives to support the economic, social and environmental goals of a particular park through Go Ape-organized stewardship activities, fundraisers and free tickets to underserved and special-needs groups. Course staff tailor these activities to meet the park partner's goals and e sure the benefits of the partnership are distributed throughout the community.

Chris Swallow, director of business development and co-owner of Go Ape, has worked with the company for almost four years and brings experience gained from his work as a lead associate with Booz Allen Hamilton for more than six years and an assistant project manager for three years with HydroGeoLogic Inc., an environmental science, engineering and construction firm.

Go Ape has established six existing courses in parks across the country, and Swallow continues to look for additional park partners interested in adding a new. fun activity to help get their community outdoors and experience the park.

GreenPlay LLC

Founded in 1999, GreenPlay LLC ( operates as a consortium of experts providing management and consulting services for park. recreation, open space and related quality-of-life agencies. The company, headquartered in Lafayette. Colorado. serves as a resource for agencies across the country by organizing teams that are responsive. experienced in the field and understanding of the needs of individual communities. Projects include master and strategic planning, resource allocation, cost recovery and service assessment, organizational assessments and feasibility studies.

Chris Dropinski, CPRE, has 24 years of park and recreation administration and management experience and more than 30 years in the field to support her current consulting role. Her passion for teaching and moving the field forward has led to many successful master planning and feasibility projects across the country. She served as the director of the City of Boulder, Colorado's, Parks and Recreation Department for more than a decade, providing leadership for the development and provision of parks, open space, trails and recreation services. Following her tenure at Boulder, Dropinski joined Teresa Penbrooke at GreenPlay as co-owner and senior principal in 2001.

Dropinski has a unique and respected approach toward addressing such challenging areas as policy development, organizational development, strategic management, revenue philosophy in the public setting, service delivery, building relationships with alternative providers, parmership building, cost-benefit analysis, developing board/staff relationships and establishing an effective public-engagement process. …

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