Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Gold-Medal Olympian Highlights Partnership Benefits

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Gold-Medal Olympian Highlights Partnership Benefits

Article excerpt

Health, safety and sports define park and recreation partnerships in 2007.

Things are on fire from an NRPA perspective, in terms of our partnerships," NRPA Partnerships Director Kathy Spangler began at a luncheon for urban directors at the 2006 NRPA Congress & Exposition in Seattle, Wash. "Last year alone, our estimates are that between $5 and 6 million in resources from our partners were delivered through parks and recreation. We're really proud of being able to harness that kind of energy through our partners," Spangler said.

Spangler used the luncheon to highlight priorities for NRPA Partnerships in 2007.

"We really have three signature areas we're focusing on with laser intent," Spangler explained. "Certainly healthy lifestyles and liveable communities are a primary focus for us and have been for sometime." Another partnership focuses will be on safety, playing a major role in a new community initiative aimed at volunteer management. The other focus will be on quality sports programming through parks and recreation.

Spangler recognized representatives from several partners, including the US Tennis Association, the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation and the National Recreation Foundation. The Hershey Company was highlighted in celebration of its 30-year partnership with parks and recreation.

"You don't find many corporations in this country that sustain that kind of commitment to an ideal, an agenda, to a resource like parks and recreation," Spangler said. "NRPA is privileged to have the kind of partnership in The Hershey Company that many national organizations only hope they could have. The Hershey Company is celebrating with NRPA the 30th anniversary of the Hershey Track & Field Games."

A Hershey Track & Field Games participant from years past was the keynote speaker at the luncheon-gold-medal Olympian Dan O'Brien.

O'Brien said that his childhood experiences in parks made him into an athlete. "I was asked the other night what kind of experience I've had in a park or recreation department. I laughed because that was my scene," O'Brien explained. "I spent the whole entire summer every year on those baseball fields. If it weren't for those programs, I wouldn't be an Olympic champion."

The goal for park and recreation facilities should be to provide opportunities for children, O'Brien said. "If we don't have programs, those kids are going to slide away."

There are many other NRPA partnerships prepared for 2007 beyond the historic Hershey Track & Field Games, according to Spangler. Here is a taste of what NRPA's Partnerships have up and coming in each realm of its focus:

Healthy Lifestyles

* Step Up To Health: Online training now available, SUTH Management Practice available early 2007. …

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