Friday, February 26, 2016

Making Connections at VRPS Annual Conference

by Janit Llewellyn Allen

* Environmental Program Planner,
Virginia Depatment of Conservation and Recreation

* VRPS Professional Member

* 2015 Annual Conference Education Session Speaker:  "Connecting through Webinars"

The VRPS conference is a great place to make connections. Whether by listening to speakers or through conversation at one of the fun evening events, you will meet folks eager to partner with you and help you develop as a parks and recreation professional. Making these connections often lead to relationships with colleagues across the Virginia. Through VRPS contacts you may be able to accomplish something you did not think possible – a new program idea, funding for that park update, writing that article you have been meaning to get to for a while or even a promotion or new job!  

I first met Rita Miller from the Virginia Department of Health and a VRPS Board member at the VRPS offices when I was preparing for a webinar. We talked and realized our mutual interests in health and outdoor recreation could benefit both our agencies and VRPS. After getting our state agency leadership teams on board with the idea of doing a joint paper about tobacco cessation in parks, we decided to meet in Virginia Beach at the 2015 VRPS Conference. While at the conference, we had a less than formal meeting in the hotel lobby. Our casual setting drew in others including keynote speaker, Tom O’Rourke, Executive Director of Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission. There in the hotel lobby before dinner, we talked, listened and began to hammer out an outline for our paper.

Rita and I believe our partnership grew during the VRPS conference. While we work in separate agencies with vastly different missions, our combined approach and commitment to recreation and healthy lifestyles fired up by conversations at the VRPS conference is motivating us to outreach about tobacco use in parks. We hope our partnership will lead to a win-win-win-win - for the Health Department, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, for parks and recreation and most importantly for the children touched by local, regional and state parks and programs and facilities who will address tobacco cessation.    

Be on the lookout for a spring VRPS magazine article written by Rita and me. The article offers outdoor recreation professionals the opportunity to take a lead role in implementing health goals for tobacco cessation. The door is open for parks and recreation professionals to affect change and make a difference in the lives of children and families across Virginia.


  1. Nice post Janit. See you soon.


  2. Nice post Janit. See you soon.


  3. Nice Post.. My College Route empowers students to take informed decisions independently. Log on today to find out about your dream college. Visit: Top MBA Colleges in Delhi