A MESSAGE FROM NRPA
For the National Recreation and Park Association, 1998 was a year of historical significance and profound reflection. It was a year of challenges met and new dreams unearthed. Above all else, it was a call for soulful celebration. For 1998 marked the 100th anniversary of the institutional roots of NRPA and America's formal park movement.
In April 1898, 26 "park men" assembled in Boston to discuss common issues, share perspectives, and visit the parks of Boston and Cambridge. From this two-day meeting, the New England Association of Park Superintendents, a predecessor of NRPA, was formed. One hundred years later, NRPA, through its provision of park and recreation services, community outreach, and educational initiatives, strives to sustain the very fire and enthusiasm that burned within this group of founding fathers.
To extend the value and benefits of park and recreation agencies at the local, state, and national level, NRPA has developed a National Program office. Partnerships with organizations and resources such as the United States Tennis Association, National Football League, and Hershey Track and Field Youth Program have emphasized the critical role that we play in the quality of life of an increasingly aging, culturally diverse, and technologically advanced society.
Once again, NRPA positioned itself as a key player in a number of successful legislative and policy affairs that will ultimately foster the conservation and use of parks and enhance recreation experiences. The Association's vigorous advocacy efforts were significant in President Clinton's signing of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), which increased funding for transportation enhancements. In addition, NRPA's public policy agenda included the continued support of recreation-as-prevention programs, the expansion and improvement of our nation's child-care services and after-school programs, and the fight on behalf of greater capital investments in public recreation and park resources.
NRPA's "Parks and Recreation: The Benefits are Endless ...[TM]" initiative continues to teach our members how to effectively publicize the individual, social, economic, and environ. mental positives derived from park and recreation experiences. A number of Benefits resources -- including videotapes, training seminars and manuals, public service announcements, and promotional products -- are available to help communicate our message to the public.
The Association's home page (www.nrpa.org) continues to make waves in cyberspace. Redesigned to keep up with current technology and trends, this World Wide Web site offers information on public policy efforts and legislative advocacy, dates for conferences and meetings, and updated reports on each of NRPA's branches and sections. NRPA's private network, NRPAnet, which has doubled its membership over the past year, is an online link for the park, recreation, conservation, and environmental communities. NRPAnet, which is accessible through the Internet, allows subscribers to access NRPA's research database, national job bulletin, and the NRPAnet listserv.
To provide additional revenue to support the growth of the Association, NRPA initiated its first Annual Fund this past year, raising $100,000 from nearly 500 individuals, agencies, and companies in the park and recreation field. The Annual Fund -- which runs from the fall through the end of June -- is a vital source of income, providing for the strategic growth of the Association and augmenting the budget through tax-deductible contributions from members and friends of parks and recreation.
The NRPA Congress & Exposition, which drew some 7,000 park, recreation, and leisure professionals; citizen advocates; and industry representatives to beautiful Salt Lake City, Utah, was again a great success. An outstanding opportunity for professionals to exchange ideas, learn about new programs, and network with their colleagues, last year's event was rated as the "best ever. …