Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Getting Back to Our Roots

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Getting Back to Our Roots

Article excerpt

I built my first park when I was 10; it was called Creektown. I didn't need an architectural design or a building permit, much less parental consent. As neighborhood kids, we were the contractors. I grew up at the end of the street next to the woods and no one but us kids knew where Creektown was.

We built a trail system supported by pretend shops, homes and schools. We used high-end products like rocks, sticks and mud. Without really understanding it at the time, it was our connection to nature, to each other and to an imaginary world we created.

I have been a lucky person to grow up loving the outdoors and building parks for a living. As a member of NRPA since 1978, I have witnessed a lot of change in our organization. Celebrating our 50th year in Las Vegas provided an easy trip down memory lane. So many good people came before us, creating the powerful organization we are today.

NRPA is focused on addressing the fundamental issues we all face in our communities, including health, safe access to the outdoors and serving those in need. Now more than ever, we have learned that promoting healthy lifestyles is inherent in having a healthy community. We know that providing safe access to the outdoors and connecting kids to nature is critical to that health. This is especially true for children who are not growing up as we did--free to play outside, wandering, exploring and creating.

It's striking that in our 50th year, we have 50,000 members . …

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