Open Space Radio covers trends in parks and recreation, shares news from the field, and interviews park and recreation professionals making a difference in their communities. Open Space Radio is the official podcast of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) — Because everyone deserves a great park.
On a Cross-Country Mission to Advocate for Trans Rights — Episode 132
54:40Attacks targeting LGBTQ+ rights, and especially the rights of transgender youth, are currently taking place in state legislatures across the country. With bans on gender-affirming care for trans youth and the country’s first drag ban, numbers of anti-trans bills were recently introduced, with an alarming number of bills advancing in states across the country. Many of these bills also are aimed at preventing transgender youth from participating in sports in ways that align with the gender with which they identify. These recent attacks on the trans community is an attack on human rights, and an attack on our mission to build inclusive, equitable communities where everyone can feel safe, feel like they belong, and ultimately, thrive. Today, I’m thrilled to welcome someone who is taking their advocacy for trans rights across the country. Cal Dobbs is a queer transgender ultra marathoner and long-distance hiker who is running across America — from California to Florida — to fight for inclusion of transgender people in sports and access to gender-affirming healthcare. What was once a childhood dream to run across the country is now a reality for Cal, but for something way bigger than they had ever imagined. Cal also is the first known trans person to achieve the triple crown of hiking – that is, they thru-hiked the entire Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail – so they are no stranger to extended adventures. Tune in to our full conversation below to learn more about Cal’s story, how you can follow their run, and how park and recreation professionals can support this important mission. You’ll also learn: · How Cal’s relationship with physical activity and outdoor recreation began · What inspired Cal’s dream to run across the country · How Cal plans to make transformative connections with people across geographic, political and ideological lines in order to make lasting change · What kind of impact anti-trans legislation has on the trans community, as well as society as a whole · How park and recreation professionals can ensure they are building safe, inclusive communities where no one is excluded or required to face additional rules or scrutiny to full participate, regardless of gender. · The importance of community care, and so much more! Related Links: Cal’s Website Follow Cal on Instagram Subscribe to Cal's YouTube Page Become a Member of Cal’s Patreon Support Cal’s Run and Documentary Contribute to Equality Arizona Fundraiser Outside Magazine: Cal “Starburst“ Dobbs Becomes the First Reported Publicly Trans Triple Crowner
Continuing a Legacy of Service to Create a Better World — Episode 131
39:18Los Angeles County is doing some big things and the department of parks and recreation is continuing to make an impact when it comes to equity, environmental resilience and the health and well-being of its community members. I’m thrilled to be joined today by Norma Edith García-Gonzalez, who has worked for Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation for more than a decade and was appointed as director of the department in 2020 — becoming the first woman and first person of color to lead the department. What’s more, Norma now leads the same department that made such an impact on her in her youth. Norma has been a true community leader in advancing the department’s mission, which I’m excited to talk about today. We’re also going to discuss LA’s 2022 Parks Needs Assessment Plus (PNA+) Final Report, which was recently adopted as the county’s 30x30 plan — which is the goal of conserving 30 percent of lands and coastal waters by 2030 to address climate change. Tune in to our full conversation below to learn more about Norma and the good work that’s happening in Los Angeles County. You’ll also learn: How Norma’s career in parks and recreation began The historical barriers when it comes to serving the most vulnerable populations in Los Angeles County How Norma and her staff are intentionally centering their work in equity and anti-racism How the 2022 PNA+ Final Report was adopted as L.A. County’s 30x30 plan to address climate change Some of the opportunities and challenges when it comes to achieving the 30x30 goal of conserving 30% of lands and coastal waters by 2030 Why this work means so much to Norma, and so much more! Related Links: Los Angeles County Parks Needs Assessment Plus (PNA+) Final Report Open Space blog post: Conservation Reimagined: Los Angeles County’s 30x30 Plan Parks & Recreation magazine: Los Angeles County’s Parks Needs Assessment Plus
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How Lifeguarding Provided a Foundation for a First Responder — March Bonus Episode
35:00The March issue of Parks & Recreation magazine is out now, and on today’s bonus episode of Open Space Radio, we’re diving deeper into one of this month’s articles, “From Lifeguard to First Responder.” I’m joined today by the author, Craig Pattenaude, the marketing and communication specialist for Cosumnes Community Services District (CSD) Parks and Recreation, as well as Cole Munsey, who Craig highlights in his article. I’m thrilled to welcome them both to the show to learn about Cole’s journey and how a job as a lifeguard propelled him into a career as a first responder, as he recently graduated from the Cosumnes CSD Fire Department intern program. Tune in to the full conversation below to learn more about Cole’s journey and why serving as a lifeguard was so beneficial in preparing him for his future career. You’ll also learn: How a traumatic family experience motivated Cole to become a “helper” How serving as a lifeguarding reinforced Cole’s desire to help others and inspired him to pursue a career as a firefighter What skills Cole learned as a lifeguard that he continues to use today What inspired Craig to connect with Cole to help share his story How Cosumnes CSD is working with staff to help develop their skills for either an extended career in parks and recreation or other areas of the community How Cole and Craig have been impacted personally by this work, and much more! Related: · Instagram video highlighting Cole's story (produced by Craig!) · Cosumnes CSD website
Advancing Physical Activity and Health Equity Through Active Parks! — Episode 130
32:29Parks and recreation is vital to community health and well-being. Local park and recreation agencies connect every member of the community to essential programs, services and spaces that enhance quality of life. And, local parks and recreation provides so many opportunities for experiencing the benefits of physical activity. According to the guidance from the Community Services Preventive Task Force, park and recreation and public health professionals play a role in ensuring all community members have equitable opportunities to get active. The Active Parks! Increasing Physical Activity Through Parks, Trails, and Greenways recommendation states that combining 1) essential infrastructure improvements with 2) additional activities — like structured programming, community engagement, access enhancements and more — can increase the use of parks, trails and greenways for physical activity. To support park and recreation and public health professionals in advancing this recommendation, NRPA developed the Active Parks! Implementation Guide. The guide includes a step-by-step process professionals can follow to equitably increase physical activity, plus case studies, sample actions and more. The guide also supports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Active People, Healthy NationSM initiative, which aims to help 27 million people become more physically active by 2027. We are so excited to have worked with CDC on this new resource, and I was thrilled to learn more on today’s episode in my conversation with Ken Rose, who leads CDC’s Physical Activity and Health branch and oversees national efforts to increase physical activity. Tune in to our conversation below to learn: Why partnerships between public health and parks and recreation is critical to increasing physical activity and advancing health equity in communities The origins of the Active Parks! Implementation Guide and what inspired this movement Key considerations for park and recreation professionals interested in using the guide Why Ken believes the guide will transform physical activity in communities How park and recreation professionals can join the Active People, Healthy NationSM movement, and much more! Related links: Active Parks! Implementation Guide: Increasing Physical Activity Through Parks, Trails and Greenways Active People, Healthy NationSM Blog Post: Activating Parks, Trails and Greenways for Physical Activity Active Parks! Increasing Physical Activity Through Parks, Trails, and Greenways recommendation
On a Journey to Spread Good Vibes and the Healing Power of Nature — Episode 129
28:00I am so excited for today’s episode because I’m talking with someone I have been eager to connect with since NRPA’s partnership with Merrell began. If you visit today’s guest’s website, the words “Nothing But Good Vibes” might be the first thing you notice. And, if you’re following him on social media, you are sure to pick up on some of those good vibes, as well. Will “Akuna” Robinson is one of Merrell’s ambassadors, and his outdoor recreation journey began in 2016 when he attempted to thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail to help with PTSD from his previous military service. Akuna says that he fell hard for hiking, nature and the community that surrounds the trails. His journey has evolved into sharing the healing power of nature with veterans, people of color, and everyone who does not fit the stereotype of being “outdoorsy.” Tune in to our full conversation below to learn more about Akuna’s journey to healing and community-building through hiking. We also discuss some of the findings from Merrell’s Inclusivity in the Outdoors Report and how they relate to his own experience of spending time outside. You’ll also learn: How Akuna’s journey of sharing the healing power of nature began The message he tries to leave behind wherever he goes Perceptions of inclusion and safety in the outdoors within the Black community How we can continue to break down barriers so that everyone can experience the power of outside How Akuna hopes to inspire other Black people who are considering outdoor recreation Akuna’s favorite ways to get outside, and so much more! Related Links Merrell Inclusivity in the Outdoors Report Akunahikes.com Follow Akuna on Instagram Follow Akuna on Facebook
CAPRA Volunteers: Together We Grow Parks and Recreation — Episode 128
37:13NRPA's Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA), is the only national accreditation of park and recreation agencies and is a valuable measure of an agency’s overall quality of operation, management and service to the community. Achieving CAPRA accreditation is the best way to demonstrate that your agency and your staff provide your community with the highest level of service. But, there is one thing that this program cannot do without – it’s dedicated volunteers. CAPRA volunteers have the opportunity to review, visit and mentor agencies and solidify personal recognition of the defined standards of excellence that accredited park and recreation agencies are held accountable to. CAPRA volunteers also become part of a broader network of professionals who understand the benefits of accreditation for park and recreation agencies and are trained to bring back these standards to their own agencies. As we look ahead to NRPA’s CAPRA volunteer acquisition campaign coming up in March, I’m excited to welcome two individuals to the show today to discuss their experience being a CAPRA volunteer. Joining me is Rod Tarullo, the director of parks, recreation and golf for City of Golden, Colorado, and Christi Giles-Reed, the community program coordinator for City of Dallas, Texas. Tune in to the full episode below to learn why adding “CAPRA volunteer” to your resume may be your next move, as well as how serving as a volunteer can strengthen your skills and experience as a park and recreation professional. You’ll also learn: How being CAPRA volunteers has impacted Rod and Christi professionally and personally How serving as a volunteer will benefit your own agency and agencies across the county Tips on how to become a CAPRA volunteer The benefits of accreditation for park and recreation agencies Rod and Christi’s favorite stories from their time serving as CAPRA volunteers, and much more! Related Links: Apply to Become a CAPRA Volunteer Blog Post: Is Being a CAPRA Review Team Member Right for Me? Blog Post: What Does It Mean To Be a CAPRA Volunteer? Parks & Recreation magazine: CAPRA Volunteering: Preparing the Next Generation of Accreditation Leaders Learn more about CAPRA CAPRA FAQs
Parks and Recreation Workforce Development Trends and Opportunities — February Bonus Episode
38:05The February issue of Parks & Recreation magazine is out now, and on today’s bonus episode of the podcast, we’ll be diving deeper into one of this month’s feature stories, “Workforce Development Trends and Opportunities in Parks and Recreation.” To foster the next generation of park and recreation professionals in our beloved field, workforce development is an area that cannot be overlooked. We’re talking with the author of the article today to discuss some of the trends and opportunities on the horizon when it comes to recruiting and retaining staff. I’m thrilled to welcome Tim Herd, the CEO of the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society, to the show today. Tim previously joined us on the podcast a few years ago to talk about Park and Recreation Professionals Day, which began with the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society, and now takes place each July during Park and Recreation Month. Tune in to the full episode to learn how Tim began his career in parks and recreation, as well as some of the things he’s noticing on the workforce development front. You’ll also learn: Why workforce development is so critical for parks and recreation Ways parks and recreation can better promote itself as a viable, sustainable career choice? Trends in colleges/universities offering majors related to parks and recreation How perceptions about a career in parks and recreation can be shifted Creative ways for recruiting future employees and retaining current employees, and much more!
Honoring National Day of Racial Healing — Episode 127
55:59Today, January 17, is National Day of Racial Healing - a call to action for racial healing for all people. Launched in 2017, this day originated as part of the WK Kellogg Foundation’s national Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation efforts. As we at NRPA continue to center equity in all that we do, I’m looking forward to this conversation today as we learn how racial healing can advance racial equity, as well as how park and recreation professionals can support racial healing in their communities. I’m thrilled to welcome Vicky Stott, the senior program officer for racial equity and community engagement at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, where she is responsible for developing and coordinating strategic grantmaking activities aimed at addressing racial equity, community engagement, and nurturing opportunities for positive systemic change for historically marginalized communities and vulnerable children. We are also joined by an Open Space Radio regular, NRPA Vice President of Education and Chief Equity Officer Autumn Saxton-Ross, who is, and has been, doing some really impactful work in supporting park and recreation professionals (and NRPA staff) on their journeys to advancing equitable outcomes in their communities. Tune in to the full episode below to hear the conversation. You’ll learn: How to define racial healing How racial healing supports and advances racial equity How park and recreation professionals can support racial healing in their communities How self-care contributes to racial healing and the idea that “we must fortify ourselves to fortify others” How to find available resources to bring racial healing to your communities and organizations, and so much more! Related Links: DayOfRacialHealing.org — explore National Day of Racial Healing events near you, as well as access resources for engaging children, engaging in professional settings, and engaging policymakers
An Inside Look at Revenue Development and Management School — Episode 126
59:55Here at NRPA, we are big proponents of continuous learning and professional development. On today’s episode, we discuss a comprehensive and unique professional development program focusing on proven revenue management and development techniques for park and recreation professionals. Revenue Development and Management School is an annual program taking place at the Oglebay Resort in Wheeling, West Virginia, in partnership with the National Training Center at Oglebay, and it is targeted towards agencies that rely on generating revenues, such as organizations associated with state or local parks, recreation, leisure services, military recreation and other nonprofits. This year’s school takes place March 12-17, and registration is now open. I’m thrilled to welcome three individuals to the show today who play integral roles in this Revenue Development and Management School. Joining me today are: Bill Tschirhart, the Chief of Administration for Five Rivers MetroParks (Ohio) and Chair of the 2023 Revenue Development and Management School Debbie Woodbury, the Regional Program Director with the City of Alexandria (Virginia), and the Founder of The Meritology Institute, who is serving as this year’s Revenue Development and Management School Extern Matt Carusona, this year’s Revenue Development and Management School director Tune in to the full episode below to learn more about Revenue Development and Management School and all the benefits it provides park and recreation professionals. You’ll also learn: The importance of revenue development and management in moving the field of parks and recreation forward Advice for first-time attendees or professionals considering attending Revenue Development and Management School Strategies for creating more sustainable funding The importance of continuing education, networking and collaboration How partnerships play a role in the funding and revenue conversation Why you should attend Revenue Development and Management School, and much more!
RWJF-NRPA Award for Health Equity Celebrates Seven Years of Success — January Bonus Episode
25:32The January issue of Parks & Recreation magazine is out now, and on today’s bonus episode, I’m thrilled to welcome Maureen Neumann, NRPA’s Senior Health Program Manager, to discuss her feature article, “Celebrating Seven Years of Advancing Health Equity.” In her article, Maureen highlights winners of the RWJF-NRPA Award for Health Equity from the last seven years. Since 2016, this award has been presented annually, and recognizes park and recreation professionals who have worked to reduce health disparities and advance systems-level change in their communities to achieve health equity. I’m excited to chat with Maureen today to learn more about some of the winners, and specifically how partnerships played a key part in each of the winners’ success.