Governing parks and recreation associations are incredibly important for the local parks and rec organization. Many provide certification and education, and they also have a wealth of resources to draw upon. The networks they provide can be invaluable and, with many constraints being so common amongst parks and rec organizations, it makes sense for organizations to help each other overcome them together.
In the end, parks and recreation associations want one thing: for everyone to be able to enjoy parks and recreation, no matter where you are. Here are 5 of the top governing parks and recreation associations you should get to know:
1) National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA): The National Recreation and Park Association dedicates its efforts to the advancement of public parks, recreation and conservation. The NRPA covers the United States of America and, with 50,000 parks and recreation professionals and citizen advocates, their efforts lead to big successes in urban communities, rural settings and everything in between. Working with the federal government, nonprofits, and commercial enterprises, they produce research, education and policy initiatives for the communities its members serve. Their ultimate vision is for everyone to have easy access to park and recreation opportunities in sustainable communities.
2) Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRA): With a 60-year history, the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association covers all 13 provincial and territorial parks and recreation associations, along with their network of service providers in over 90% of Canadian communities. Their focus is to help reach the full potential of parks and recreation, to boost the health and vibrancy of the communities they serve. Working alongside many other national organizations, they look to boost recreation, physical activity, environmental efforts, facilities, sport, public health, crime prevention and social services. They make a difference, through finding solutions to social challenges and by supporting its members with resources to improve community quality of life.
3) World Urban Parks: World Urban Parks is one of the parks and recreation associations that aim to share knowledge and provide a collective voice for organizations involved in urban parks, green city, conservation, recreation, sport, health and related outcomes. The ultimate goal is to build healthy, livable, and sustainable communities. Because they are international, they have a large amount of resources to pool from that are a little unique within parks and recreation associations at the national or state/provincial level. They also help exchange ideas on common environmental, social and economic challenges where urban parks are part of the solution.
4) National Park Service (NPS): When national parks are of a concern, the National Park Service is the one to call upon. By enlisting volunteers and park partners, the NPS safeguards more than 400 parks, while sharing their stories with more than 275 million visitors. A lesser-known fact is this parks and recreation association also revitalizes communities, preserve local history, celebrate local heritage, and of course, create accessible ways for families to get outside and get active.
5) California’s Park and Recreation Society (CPRS): Another form of parks and recreation associations to know is the state-level ones. California’s is a great example. They provide career development, networking, resources, all while advocating for California parks and recreation professionals. Over 175 park and recreation agencies are members of the CPRS, and they boast more than 4,000 members who focus on improving their community.