Magazine article Parks & Recreation

NRPA Expands Its Outreach

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

NRPA Expands Its Outreach

Article excerpt

In an effort to promote recreation opportunities for at-risk youth and expand its outreach to major urban centers, the National Recreation and Park Association has named John Webster to head its newly formed Youth Services initiative. Webster, 36, a native of Salisbury, Md., comes to NRPA from the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, where he worked for eight years as a regional manager.

A three-year program, funded by the National Recreation Foundation, the initiative will be responsible for developing effective, cooperative relationships between NRPA and other national organizations working with youth.

"What we're trying to do is develop programs on a national level, assist and support parks that need our help with at-risk programs, and create a resource for agencies that want to know about different ideas and programs that can be implemented to influence the future of youth," said Webster. "We can refer their concerns here and be able to better equip them with information on successful programs throughout the country."

Webster cites recent episodes of youth violence, such as the tragedy at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., and the shootings in Conyers, Ga., as the catalyst for the formation of NRPA's Youth Services initiative. "I think many young people have always been out there in at-risk environments; it's always been an issue. But some things have happened recently, unfortunately, that have brought it more to the forefront, made it more of a national priority."

"We feel very confident to have John at the helm of this program," said R. Dean Tice, NRPA executive director. "His enthusiasm is contagious, and he's certainly hit the ground running. We couldn't be more pleased to welcome him aboard."

NRF executive director Dr. Charles Hartsoe said the NRF board felt it crucial for NRPA to have a stronger role in dealing with the problem of at-risk youth. …

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