The Washington Recreation & Parks Association is an organization consisting of 2,100 parks and rec professionals from around the state of Washington. This group was established in 1947 and their mission is to promote excellence of current and future Parks and Recreation Professionals through advocacy, education, networking, and training. This week, I have had the great pleasure of attending their 70th annual Conference in Spokane. At the beginning of the year, when the Coalition team strategized around different ways to help promote and advocate for WWRP, we targeted this conference. Our thought was that this is one group of folks who truly understand how crucial the WWRP is in funding projects.
The Parks and Recreation staff from the City of Spokane hosted this year’s conference. We could not have asked for a more enthusiastic team, a better venue, or a more talented line-up of speakers and trainings. Not to mention, they ordered up some great weather…it is supposed to be 82 degrees and sunny later today. I believe the real takeaway for me and the Coalition has been the face-to-face networking. One of my main goals as the External Affairs Manager is to unearth WWRP champions, and this event is loaded with champions all over the place.
WRPA also plays a crucial role in the Coalition. For the last few years, they have partnered with our staff to host a Legislative Day in Olympia. There were over 30 individuals representing WRPA at Leg Day this year and we would have not been able to produce such a successful event without the leadership that came from WRPA members.
This week, I have been leaning into conversations with Park Directors asking about current and future projects that they think are worthy of a WWRP grant in next year’s cycle. The health and sustainability of the program is our #1 goal here at the Coalition, and this group representing cities and towns through their Parks Departments are going to be WWRP’s bread and butter in the years to come. It has been an honor getting to know people from around our state that love serving their communities and these folks deserve a tip of the hat for helping to make outdoor natural spaces available and accessible to everyone. A big thanks WRPA for putting on a great event this week and even more thanks for your trusted partnership with the Coalition through the years.