Monday, July 29, 2013

52 Ways to Use Your VRPS Membership: Week 31, Repurposing

Question:  what do you do with mislabeled jerseys?
Answer:  donate them to a fellow VRPS member to benefit the community.

by Jim Stutts, VRPS Executive Director, and Nancy Turnage, VRPS Central Office
re·pur·pose  (r-pûrps)
tr.v. re·pur·posedre·pur·pos·ingre·pur·pos·es
To use or convert for use in another format or product.

Wayne Vaughan is Sales Manager at Promotional Considerations, a VRPS Commercial Member that recently relocated to the City of Richmond.  Wayne contacted Jim Stutts, VRPS Executive Director, because he had two-dozen middle school soccer jerseys available for donation.  The high quality jerseys had been mislabeled when printed, and both Wayne and Promotional Considerations wanted to make them available to a youth group.

On Friday, July 26, 2013, Wayne and Promotional Considerations donated the jerseys to the City of Richmond Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities via Charles Hester, 1998 VRPS President and current VRPS Foundation Board member.  Thanks to Promotional Considerations for their donation and exemplifying the mission of VRPS:

The Virginia Recreation and Park Society is a private, non-profit professional organization, founded in 1953 and incorporated in 1956.  Its purpose is to unite all professionals, students, and interested lay persons engaged in the field of recreation, parks and other leisure services in the Commonwealth of Virginia, into one body.  The members work together to promote and improve the profession in all its diversity.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

52 Ways to Use Your VRPS Membership: Week 30, Focusing and Facilitating

FOCUS, People.

Katey Legg, CPRP (VRPS President), 
James Stutts, CPRP, CAE (VRPS Executive Director), 
Kathy Williams, CTRS (VRPS Board of Directors), and
Nancy Turnage (VRPS Central Office)

On Friday, July 12, 2013, a Mid-Year Leadership Meeting at the VRPS Central Office was comprised of elected Service Area and Resource Group leadership.  In late May, 2013, an invitation was extended to all members of every VRPS Service Area and Resource Group board, with the intention of obtaining representation from across Virginia from those in leadership positions in the Society.  As a result, participation represented all Service Areas (two to three from each of the five) and active Resource Groups, including a professional in the private sector who is interested in reviving the VRPS Therapeutic Recreation Resource Group.  Fifteen attendees from a cross-section of the Society's membership set about the ultimate objective of initiating face-to-face dialogue regarding thoughts on the future direction of VRPS.

This focus group was facilitated by VRPS Board member Kathy Williams, CTRS, from Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation, with a goal of gathering information to aid in the development of the strategic plan.  Kathy both trained to be a facilitator through and utilizes her facilitating skills for the City of Virginia Beach since 2007.  Currently, she facilitates various teams for the city, including the city's Strategic Issue Team.

The VRPS group went through the Appreciative Inquiry Process, beginning with appreciating what VRPS is currently, what VRPS might look like in 2023, and then looking at areas to focus on as the Society moves forward.  Some common themes that emerged included:
  • face-to-face connection ("we are in the people serving business"),
  • membership development,
  • rebranding VRPS, 
  • increased involvement with colleges/universities,
  • technology,
  • education,
  • communication, and
  • networking
"The energy in the room was tremendous; it was so exciting to have the group so engaged and full of ideas."
- Focus Group Facilitator Kathy Williams

Several years ago, during the development of the previous strategic plan, focus groups were held throughout the state to obtain similar information.  At that time, their feedback was used to generate and implement a five-year strategic plan.  One of the challenges faced this year was timing:  conducting a meeting in the middle of the summer season can be difficult in the recreation and parks profession, particularly if the target group is comprised of recreation programmers.  However, subsequent feedback from several attendees has been positive:  they feel the exercises were worthwhile and useful and their time well-spent.
“It was encouraging to see so many young professionals demonstrating a vested interest in the future of VRPS.  Everyone at the meeting was very motivated and presented a ton of great ideas. I am truly excited about the future of VRPS!”
-Focus Group Member Aaron Reidmiller

"I hope to see this again next year – if we aren't asking the members what's useful and relevant, we won’t know we’re on the right track.  Hopefully the information we received from this exercise will help VRPS determine future direction and identify some goals."
-VRPS President Katey Legg

A special thanks to the following individuals for taking time out of their summer schedules on behalf of the Virginia Recreation and Park Society:
  • Ryan Brookes (Northern Service Area)
  • Tamara Brown (Eastern Service Area)
  • Erik Dart (Western Service Area – Chair)
  • Nat Franklin (Southwestern Service Area)
  • Katherine Herrington (Southwestern Service Area – Intern)
  • Judy Jones (Senior Resource Group - Chair)
  • Sarah Kuhn (Western Service Area, Recorder for the Meeting)
  • Cindy McFall (Southwestern Service Area)
  • Hugo Morrison (Eastern Service Area - Chair)
  • Ryan Peters (Central Service Area)
  • Aaron Reidmiller (Central Service Area - Chair, Senior Resource Group)
  • Daniel Ronquillo (Senior Resource Group, Therapeutic Recreation Resource Group)
  • Kerstin Severin (Northern Service Area, Aquatics Resource Group)
  • Matt Spruill (Central Service Area, Leadership Training Institute)
  • Julie Townsend (Therapeutic Resource Group)
  • Lynn Turner (Western Service Area)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

52 Ways to Use Your VRPS Membership: Week 29, Archived Publications

Missed an issue?  No problem.
by Nancy Turnage, VRPS Central Office

As a VRPS member, you are privilege to the three publication types offered by the Society:


  • Weekly
  • Electronically distributed via email
  • Archived on website.    Members must login to the site for access.
  • Member News & Events cross-references E-update article blocks.  Members must login to the site for access.

President's Newsletter:

  • Three issues each calendar year
  • Electronically distributed via email
  • Electronic copies available on the VRPS website.    Members must login to the site for access.

VRPS Magazine:

  • Three issues each calendar year
  • Hardcopies postal mailed to members
  • Electronic copies archived and available on the VRPS website.  Members must login to the site for access.

VRPS encourages you to take advantage of your membership and not only explore these publications, but submit content for publication:
  • Eupdate content is requested by COB Thursday prior to Wednesday publication.
  • President's Newsletter content is requested by published dates on the VRPS Calendar.  For the remainder of 2013, please submit by July 26, 2013 for Summer Newsletter and September 15, 2013 for Fall Newsletter.
  • VRPS Magazine content is requested by published dates on the VRPS Calendar.  For the remainder of 2013, please submit by November 15, 2013 for the Fall Magazine.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

52 Ways to Use Your VRPS Membership: Week 28, Parks & Recreation Month

It's JULY.
by Nancy Turnage, VRPS Central Office

There's no point re-inventing the wheel.  As anyone who is in the profession of parks and recreation is aware, July is Park and Recreation month.  The National Recreation and Park Association promotes this grand event with toolkits, contests, events, ideas, and free materials on their website.  But, where did this event come from?  How long has it been a prevalent July fixture?  I decided to blog about it, and as I always do, the first thing I did was turn to Google.  Alas, it seems that The Forest History Society has already blogged about the history of Park and Recreation month, three years ago in fact:  Celebrate "National Park and Recreation Month" by reading about both.

Therefore, not to re-iterate what Mr. Jamie "Mad B-Logger" Lewis cited, I will summarize:
July is National Parks and Recreation Month in the United States. First designated in 1984, Congress did not intend it to celebrate national parks, as some websites would have you believe. Rather, the purpose is to celebrate parks at all governmental levels and recreation in general, and to recognize and honor “the vital contributions of employees and volunteers in park and recreation facilities,” in the words of last year’s Congressional resolution.
Of its more noble purposes Congressman Daniel Lipinski of Illinois eloquently declared in 2006, “The purpose of National Recreation and Parks Month is not only to celebrate the start of summer programs but also to advocate for parks and recreation by encouraging communities to engage in outdoor physical activities and volunteering…. National Recreation and Parks Month is an important occasion to remind us of our dedication to the preservation of the environment, and serves as an aide-mémoire for all Americans to enjoy the natural wonders of our nation.”

In July, 2012, the Museum of Natural History at the University of Iowa reminded us of the purpose of Park and Recreation month by linking it to the individuals who make it happen:

July is the perfect time for outdoor exploration (well, if you can stand the heat!). Local and national recreation areas and parks are great places to start your summer of adventure....  July is the best time for friends, family, or groups to rediscover their local parks or visit news ones.

This holiday isn’t only about outdoor exploration, but also about recognizing and acknowledging those who work in the parks.  The men and women working or volunteering in the parks make our experience entertaining and memorable.  Like any place whether it’s a museum or park, it takes a lot of care and effort to make it a beautiful and enjoyable place for families and friends to visit. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

52 Ways to Use Your VRPS Membership: Week 27, YOU

by Katey Legg, CPRP; VRPS President

While I’ve known for a long time that VRPS has some of the best people as members, it’s become increasingly clear to me why that is.  We have a stunning array of events, programs, workshops and more to develop not only ourselves, but our departments and communities.

The Virginia Senior Games, hosted by Newport News Parks, Recreation & Tourism, was held in May.  Over 700 athletes participated, with the oldest athlete being 101 years young!  This event doesn’t happen on its own.  The Newport News staff gave hundreds of hours of their time, not to mention resources of the City, to make this event happen.  The Senior Games takes place over several days, but I have to say that the Athlete’s Party on Friday was definitely a highlight.  The athletes were encouraged to party through the decades; participate in a sock hop, lounge on bean bag chairs, or get some big hair ‘80s style.  Special thanks to Susan Lineberry who chaired this dynamic group, and Michael Poplawski for readily accepting the challenge and offering the support of Newport News.

The 2013 Annual Conference is right around the corner, once again hosted by James City County.  Arlana Fauntleroy and a committee of enthusiastic folks have planned another fantastic conference.  The education sessions are intriguing and varied, the socials are well-planned and exciting, and you’re sure to have an amazing experience.  I encourage you to register early online and take advantage of the discounted rate. 
The Foundation Board has set an aggressive, but achievable, goal of paying off the Central Office mortgage in 2013.  Since VRPS acquired the building 5 ½ years ago, you’ve come together and provided donations that have contributed immensely to this goal.  Service Areas & Resource Groups alone have donated over $13,000 to the Capital Campaign.  In addition, personal donations have exceeded $30,000, and corporate donations have surpassed $14,000.  Because of this, and so many other efforts, VRPS is less than $39,000 away from paying off the building. 

I’ve mentioned before that the VRPS Board of Directors is looking at long-range planning and how we can best serve our members.  New this year, we will host a mid-year meeting with the Service Area & Resource Group Boards.  While I hope this will become an annual event and the format may change in the future, this year we will have a facilitated discussion on the strengths & weaknesses of VRPS, the gaps and needs in member services and gain a better perspective from our members.  We will be sure to share the information gleaned from this meeting with you all. 

And that’s not all – don’t forget the many events the Service Areas and Resource Groups offer!  The dedication you all show to your field is unparalleled.  I hope that you have a wonderful summer, that your camps and programs go off without a hitch (is that asking too much?), and that you take a little time to enjoy the beautiful outdoors.  Don’t hesitate to contact me for any reason and I’ll see you soon!