Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Celebrating Park and Recreation's Super Heroes

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Celebrating Park and Recreation's Super Heroes

Article excerpt

For 31 years we have celebrated July as the nation's official Park and Recreation Month. Every year, we use it as an opportunity to focus on a particular aspect or benefit of this great and diverse field. In 2016, thanks to an idea submitted by Hayley Nath (a member of NRPA's Young Professionals Network and recreation assistant at city of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, Parks and Recreation) and chosen by popular vote, we're celebrating the superpowers and superheroes of parks and recreation.

This theme has manifested itself in many ways this year--discovering the superpowers of a community that rallies together to vote its photo to the top, and learning about some amazing people who are truly superheroes for parks and recreation. Beautiful photographs and inspiring stories will leave you ready to don your cape the next time you're heading to work for parks and recreation.

A Cover-Worthy Chattahoochee

For the second year in a row, NRPA solicited photos from you, our members, to serve as the cover of the July issue of Parks & Recreation magazine. With more than 230 photos submitted, it was a challenge to narrow them down to the top 10 to be put to a public vote. From there, community superpowers took over to generate thousands of votes on the photos. All were great, but only one could make the cover. With more than 1,500 votes, the city of Roswell (Georgia) Recreation, Parks, Historic and Cultural Affairs Department won the coveted spot with its peaceful and serene image of a crew team gliding down the Chattahoochee River.

Morgan Rodgers, director of Roswell Recreation, Parks, Historic and Cultural Affairs Department, shared that the photo was actually taken while the NRPA CAPRA accreditation team was touring the Chattahoochee River aboard a riverboat called the "Spirit of Roswell." According to Rodgers, the city purchased a large amount of property along the river in 2000 in order to preserve the land from being developed. "Now the Chattahoochee River houses over 101 acres of city parkland which includes Roswell Riverwalk, boat ramps, fishing docks, blue trails for rafting/canoeing, passive parks and trail connectivity with other bordering communities," he said.

The photo was taken by Bobbie Daniels, communications manager for the department. She has been with the department for 30 years and considers photography a hobby (one at which she clearly excels). The rowers in the photo are part of the Atlanta Junior Rowing Association--a longtime partner of the department.

Besides capturing a stellar photo for the cover of our magazine, Roswell Recreation, Parks, Historic and Cultural Affairs Department is a superhero in its own right. A CAPRA-accredited agency and fourtime finalist for the Gold Medal Award, it is doing some innovative things to bring excellent park and recreation opportunities to its community. The city has declared this summer the "Summer of Fun," which it kicked off with a ceremonial first pitch from Atlanta Braves legend Tom Glavine. The "Summer of Fun" initiative includes free outdoor fitness classes, free concerts, human foosball and much more.

The hard work of the department doesn't go unnoticed, as evidenced by the rave comments left on this photo via Facebook during the contest. A beautiful photo is one thing, but knowing that it represents a city and department that is passionate about parks and recreation makes it inspiring.

See all of the finalists' photos at

Roxanne Sutton is NRPA's Senior Marketing and Communications Specialist (


In addition to asking for cover photo submissions this year, NRPA also asked members to nominate their park and recreation superhero. With more than 50 nominations, there were many powerful stories. Not being able to print all 50, however, we narrowed them down to the following five people, who have fought for and represent the best in parks and recreation. …

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